Billy Porter Can Wear Whatever He Damn Well Pleases
Say yes to Billy Porter's dresses. Or perish.
Tony and Grammy winner Billy Porter was on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show last night to promote the second season of Pose which aired on FX Tuesday. Porter was dressed in an impeccable gold outfit (she’s a fashion icon now, there’s an expectation!) because honestly if you were that handsome and talented would you want to be golden all the time? Porter took the time to talk about Pose but also fashion and the importance it can have in changing the way gender can be seen.
Colbert complements Porter on his fashion work (and it is work) and showed a picture of the actor at the Oscar’s last year in that gorgeous black dress, followed by his MET Gala outfit that was one of the few that actually understood what camp is, and finally the Tony look which incorporated the curtain from Kinky Boots to make. After the greatest hits highlights, Colbert asks Porter if he thinks fashion can be political.
“It can,” he answers. “Especially when it comes to gender.” Porter brings up the fact that Hollywood legend Katherine Hepburn was considered controversial for wearing pants and that now we see that as “strong” and have attached a lot of power to the idea of women in suits, especially a pantsuit. However, that is still not the case for cis men. “The minute a man puts on a dress it’s disgusting. So what are you saying? Men are strong, women are disgusting? I’m not doing that anymore. […] I’m a man in a dress, and if I feel like wearing a dress, I’m gonna wear one!”
English comedian Eddie Izzard has often said the same thing famously: “They’re not women’s clothes, I bought them.” On the recent season of Supergirl, Nia Nal, the first trans superhero played by the amazing trans actress Nicole Maines, the character talked about the importance of fashion in allowing LGBT people to be their truest and most authentic self.
Porter gets back to Pose and talks about the importance of it being a show the centers around the love of a “chosen family.”
“Sometimes,” he says, “our biological families are not equipt to love us unconditional in the ways that are necessary for us to thrive when we are LGBTQ people and so the ballroom culture is a culture that [sic] emerged out of from these people being thrown out of their houses, just because of who they are. But we found our tribe.”
I cannot sing the praises of Pose enough, it is a beautiful show and it really does the work to bring this beautiful “underground” world to the mainstream in a way that speaks truth, but focuses on just more than suffering. There is love and beauty in Pose, so if you haven’t seen the first season go watch it on Netflix!
(via AV Club, image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
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