Billy Porter gave his 2021 LGBTQ State of the Union, slamming the “unabated crisis” of “hate-motivated” violence against trans people and calling on the LGBT+ community to “do more” to protect trans lives.
The Pose star gave his third LGBTQ State of the Union for Logo TV on Tuesday (30 March). In the impassioned speech, Porter shared that “our union remains strong”, but only if “we march towards greatness and inclusivity”.
The actor and activist said that the LGBT+ community and allies must recognise the “crisis” of “hate-motivated violence against trans Americans”, especially Black trans people. He quoted figures from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) that found 44 trans and gender non-conforming Americans were murdered last year, with many of these individuals being part of the Black community.
The HRC said 2020 was the deadliest year on record since the organisation started tracking homicides of trans individuals in 2013.
Billy Porter said in his LGBTQ State of the Union speech that the “surge of violence” against the trans community is “atrocious and unacceptable”. He added: “We lift up our own and find strength in the collective fight to live happily in peace as our authentic, fabulous selves.
“We must do more though, and we must do better to protect trans lives.”
He also discussed the impact COVID has had on the LGBT+ community, saying the pandemic had a “disproportionate toll” on “our LGBT family”. Porter warned that the world is “not out of the dark tunnel yet”. As such, he implored LGBT+ people to “put our community’s health above our desire to kiki in large groups until we can all safely dance under the disco ball again”.
Billy Porter also shared his joy that the American people said “sashay away” to former president Donald Trump last November. But he said the president’s actions in the following weeks and the deadly US Capitol riots “will be another stain in our nation’s history during the Trump administration”.
“It reminds us that we must tirelessly work to dismantle white supremacy, ignorance and hatred – all of which have gone ignored and unchecked for far too long, including within our own community,” Porter said.
He said that it is “our duty” as LGBT+ Americans to “hold all those in power accountable, especially those we help elect and who claim to be our allies”. Porter cited the “rainbow wave of 2020”, which saw an unprecedented number of queer officials being elected into offices across the US.
He said politicians like Sarah McBride, Mondaire Jones, Ritchie Torres and other LGBT+ officials “blaze a trail for our community”, but “true representation will only occur if others, just like you, follow in their footsteps”.
The star also called on LGBT+ people to better “ourselves, our communities and our nation”. With “life turned upside down” by the pandemic, the actor said the community was “forced to reckon with our values” and “take to the streets against what we know to be unjust”.
Billy Porter ended the LGBTQ State of Union by promising that “brighter days are ahead” if “we continue to work towards them together”. Porter finished by saying: “Be safe, be good to each other and remember, we will feel joy again soon.”