The Pose star addressed the attack on trans woman Iyanna Dior by 20-30 cis men "during the peaceful protests."

By Nick Romano
June 05, 2020 at 11:05 AM EDT
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In a passionate, vigorous message delivered in a video shared with his social media followers, Pose Emmy winner Billy Porter spoke up for black gay and trans people joining the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. "LGBTQ+ black folks are black people, too!" Porter declared. "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."

Since the death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Minneapolis resident killed after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, demonstrations and riots have broken out in the United States and abroad to denounce racism and police brutality. Porter highlighted the attack on Iyanna Dior, a black trans woman in Minneapolis, "during the peaceful protests."

Credit: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Dior was attacked by a group of about 20-30 cisgender men. Video of the assault, which has since spread online, shows them beating Dior outside a convenience store and calling her homophobic slurs. Dior escaped and a video shared on her Facebook page stated she's okay after suffering swelling and bruising.

Janet Mock, Porter's Pose colleague behind the camera, had also paid tribute to Dior in a message on Twitter earlier in the week. "Folks stood witness to this brutality on another black life," she wrote.

In response to this incident, Porter said, "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. 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."

"To all my homophobic and transphobic brothers and sisters, get your f—ing houses in order," he added.

Porter covered many other topics in the video, as well, from his own experiences facing racism and the anxiety of being attacked for the color of his skin to the need to vote in the coming presidential election.

"As Black people, we risk our lives every time we leave our homes. As queer people of color that risk is doubled," Porter said. "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."

To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
  • Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
  • Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.

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