POSE FX’s Billy Porter took to Instagram to record an impassioned speech on the racial protests that have engulfed the country in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by the Minneapolis police department. Porter called out the Black community for the lack of support for Black LGBTQ lives saying, “You cannot expect our demands of equality to be met with any real legislative policy and change when y’all turn around and inflict the same kind of hate and oppression on us.”
The Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor says he appreciates that America amid the protests against police brutality and racism are “Finally listening to us.”
And Porter, who is 50 years-old and was born and raised in Pennsylvania didn’t hold back in giving his account on American history, its affect on the current state of affairs and race relations, all while asking for change from both his White allies and Black Americans. The 17-minute video is below. Following is a transcript.
“This country was built on thievery, violence, genocide and slavery, period. So I find it disingenuous when my well-meaning White liberal allies, news outlets, politicians, faith leaders and all of my Caucasian compatriots act as if the shit is news. Keep your white, I didn’t do it fragility to yourselves and simply listen. Finally listen to us.
After briefly summarizing the Black history of violence Porter gave some first-hand, and sometimes frightful, experiences of what it has been like for him as a Black American. “Black people to hear me, because y’all ain’t gonna like this one,’ and proceeded to call out the Black community for the lack of support for Black LGBTQ lives. As a Black queer man in America, my basic human rights have been up for legislation every single day that I have had breath in my body from all sides—and by that I mean that the Black community’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community is appalling at best and eerily similar to that of white supremacists versus Black folk,” he said with obvious heartfelt emotion.”
He continued, “Hear me, Black people, and hear me well. I’m calling you out right here and right now. You cannot expect our demands of equality to be met with any real legislative policy and change when y’all turn around and inflict the same kind of hate and oppression on us. The tragic reality here is that Black trans, as well as gender non-conforming, women and men are being killed in the United States by cis Black men to such a degree that it is nearly the worst emergency for trans women on the planet.”
Porter highlighted the attack on Iyanna Dior, a Black trans woman in Minneapolis, who the actor said was “brutally beaten by a gang of Black men while trying to peacefully protest for our rights. LGBTQ+ black folks are black people, too.’Our lives matter, too! So this is my response to those of y’all who don’t understand that: F*** you! And, yes, I am cussing. It’s time for cussing.”
He then raised his voice, “To my homophobic and transphobic brothers and sisters, get your fucking houses in order!”
While Porter maintained that Black people risk their lives every time they leave their homes, he says that risk is double for queer people of color. “We move about our days sucking it up, hiding our pain and terror from the world, trying to make ourselves small, so white people and straight people feel comfortable. Our parents try to prepare us for the realities of this world: the fact that the playing field is not leveled, the laws that protect white people do not do the same for us, and that we have to be at least 10 times better at anything we choose to do in life to simply get in the rooms where things happen.”
He ended by reiterating that this November’s election may be the most important one of our life, and urged everyone to, “Vote, vote, vote, vote.”