Billy Porter: Queerness was my liability

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Billy Porter has said he is gobsmacked at his success because for years “queerness was my liability”.

The Pose star, 52, reflected on his career journey on the Table Manners With Jessie And Lennie Ware podcast.

Porter said: “You know, in every space, in every space, whether it was the personal space, whether it was the professional space, whether it was the intimate space, whatever it was, wherever I went, my queerness was my liability.

“I was sent to a f****** psychologist in kindergarten, because I was a sissy. And so the message I got from the start is, something’s wrong with you and you need to be fixed.

“So, of course, when somebody says to me, your queerness is your liability, how can you not believe them, you know, if the proof is right there, and it was my liability for decades.

“But I look at my life right now. And I am gobsmacked. You know, because never in a million years did I imagine that my success would come because of my authenticity, and because of my truth.”

Porter, who played sharp-tongued emcee Pray Tell in the Pose series, recalled watching Oprah Winfrey 20 years ago talking about switching your intention in life.

He added: “What is your intention in life when you switch your intention to service. Everything else will work itself out. And I was like, what this service look like for me?

“Like I stood in front of the mirror and said, how can I be of service? And it hit me like a tonne of bricks. You know, it’s your queerness.”

Speaking to singer and host Jessie Ware on the hit podcast, Porter said he was bullied for the first five years of his school life.

The actor, singer and author added: “You know, daily, incessantly bullied….but when I opened up my mouth to sing, the bullying stopped, and I had this sort of power. And I had this kind of respect. And I was like, ‘Well, that’s what I need to focus on.’”

Porter, who won a Tony award for Best Leading Actor In A Musical for his role in Kinky Boots, is directing a musical production of The Life and has finished directing his first feature film which will come out next summer.

Listen to the full interview on podcast Table Manners With Jessie And Lennie Ware.

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