Billy Porter, "Pose," AIDS epidemic
Billy Porter, "Pose," AIDS epidemic

Billy Porter on Setting an Example for 'Little Black Sissy Boys': 'Representation Does Matter'

When asked about his most memorable fan moment for his role on “Pose,” Billy Porter says that the conversations he has with “little black sissy boys” stand out.

“I’m so moved by all the people but really, particularly, the little black sissy boys, the little black queens,” he told Rachel Brosnahan during their Variety Actors on Actors interview. “The ones who are told that their existence on the planet is unworthy, they’re unworthy of living. The little trans kids that reach out to me on social media.”

Set in the midst of the AIDS epidemic, the FX series explores several segments of 1980s New York City society and has been praised for its casting of five trans actors in leading roles. Porter’s character, Pray Tell, serves as an LGBTQ+ activist during the outbreak, advocating for more HIV resources for the gay community.

“Representation does matter. To have somebody to see and go, ‘Maybe I’ll be alright,’the actor continued. “If I can get just get through the quagmire of whatever it is this right over here in this time and get to the other side, I’m gonna be alright. I’m gonna be able to find my tribe. I’m gonna be able to find my family, my chosen family. I’m gonna be able to find that because it exists. That is the most powerful part of what we’re doing.

“Actors on Actors” will air on PBS June 18th and 20th.

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