'Pose' star Billy Porter delivers his 'State of the LGBTQ Union' address

The actor and activist reflected on President Donald Trump's first three years in office and the past year's gains and losses for LGBTQ rights.
By Sakshi Venkatraman

Nine hours ahead of President Donald Trump's official State of the Union address, “Pose” star Billy Porter shared a message with the nation.

“Last year, I told you that the state of our union was strong,” Porter said in his second "LGBTQ State of the Union" address. “And while it’s certainly been battered, our union is far from broken.”

This is the second year the actor and activist has delivered such an address, which was streamed live on the Youtube, Facebook and Twitter pages of ViacomCBS-owned LGBTQ brand Logo. During his 8-minute speech, Porter stood before a glass podium, staring directly into the camera and sandwiched between the gay pride flag and the U.S. flag.

He started his address by reflecting on Trump’s first three years in office.

“So far, our nation has survived the first term of Donald Trump,” he said. “But who’s to say what another term would do to this country, to democracy and truly to the entire world.”

From the appointments of right-wing judges to the transgender military ban, Porter addressed the policy setbacks faced by the LGBTQ community since Trump took office.

“Donald J. Trump has painted himself as a friend of the LGBTQ community while revealing his true colors at every malicious turn,” he said. “For some of us, each day under this administration has been a matter of life and death.”

Porter noted the uptick in reported hate crimes and violence against transgender Americans. In 2019, at least 26 transgender or gender-nonconforming people were killed by "violent means," according to LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, which tracks anti-transgender violence.

“This heinous violence against trans people, which disproportionately affects trans women of color, is nothing short of an epidemic,” Porter said.

The second part of Porter's "State of the LGBTQ Union" address acknowledged the progress made toward full LGBTQ equality in the past year. He drew attention to the legalization of gay marriage in countries such as Ecuador and Taiwan, and even pointed to Pete Buttigieg running as the first openly gay major presidential candidate.

After the speech, Porter fans took to Twitter; some even jokingly encouraged him to run for office.

Trump is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday. The hashtag #BoycottSOTU has been trending on Twitter since Tuesday morning.

“The fate of the entire country is in the balance,” Porter said in his speech. “It sounds dramatic, but if now is not the time for drama, child, when is?”

In the final moments of the livestream, Porter called on the LGBTQ community — and the country more broadly — to unify.

“Love one another, take care of one another, and let's secure the future for those who will inherit it,” he said.

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