Image credit: Essence Instagram account (@essence)

“Pose” actor Billy Porter marks a milestone in his three-decade-long career as he becomes a cover model for Essence magazine — the first time a gay male has done it.

Porter is the cover model for the Jul/Aug 2020 issue of the magazine, and in it, he talks about growing up as someone who does not fit society’s traditional view of masculinity. He says his masculinity “was in question from the moment [he] could comprehend thought” and that it would take a long time before he could live as someone who is proud of who he is.

In the Essence feature, Porter also acknowledged his privileged position and how he can use this to change the conversation around the Black community and Black LGBTQ people. As the article points out, this is because of the “epidemic-level rates” of murders of Black trans women, most of whom are killed by Black men.

“Our trans women are out here dying at the hands of our own. We can’t ask for anything more than what we’re ready to give. It starts with us first, and I’m calling it out,” Porter declares.

The magazine feature also talks about Porter’s crusade to get as many people to vote in the presidential election coming this November. Porter acknowledges that the way the system is set up, one needs to be in power to affect real change, so he calls on everyone to get registered and vote.

Porter became a household name thanks to his role as Pray Tell in the FX series “Pose,” a role for which he won an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama. He also won a Tony for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his role in “Kinky Boots.”

Recently, Porter released an empowering anthem with The Shapeshifters titled Finally Ready. Finally Ready is a “declaration of Pride, of breaking free from past traumas to take a chance on love.” Watch the song’s official music video below:

He also release this amazing song “Love Yourself” with his Pose family last week and I just love it. Check it out below:

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