Billy Porter’s time is now.
The Pose star won the trophy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday night. He’s the first openly gay actor to win the category.
“The category is love y’all,” proclaimed Porter when he took the stage to accept his award.
“I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day,” he continued. “James Baldwin said, ‘It took many years of vomiting up all the filth that I had been taught about myself and halfway believed before I could walk around this Earth like I had the right to be here.’ I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right!”
On Pose, Porter plays designer and emcee Pray Tell. The FX drama’s second season presented Porter with a new challenge when he was called upon to be naked on screen after his character spends an evening with former House Evangelista dancer Ricky (Dyllón Burnside). He previously told EW that he was scared when he first read the script and saw what was expected. “I’m not used to people seeing me as a leading man, I’m not used to people seeing me as a romantic lead in anything,” said Porter on EW’s The Awardist podcast. “You have to have a certain kind of confidence. I had to get that confidence quick so I could tell the story.”
Porter beat out Jason Bateman (Ozark), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), and Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harington.