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Billy Porter Reminds ‘Kids’ That ‘Pride Is Protest’ Not ‘Just a Party’

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While Pride Month can be an exciting, rainbow-filled celebration, Billy Porter wants to emphasize to the younger generations that its impact goes far deeper than being one big party.

“Pride is a protest,” Porter, 54, exclusively told Us Weekly at the Brotherhood Sister Sol Voices Gala on Thursday, May 9. “It’s time for the elders to remind the kids that this is protest. It’s not just a party.”

Porter continued: “Trust me, I believe in the party. You have to. Yes and Yes. And (also) contacting your local representatives (and) getting involved in local government. Vote bitches.”

Throughout history, LGBTQ+ Pride has often existed in tandem with protest. The first Gay Pride Parade — which took place on June 28, 1970, launching the Pride Month movement — was organized to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which occurred the year prior.


Billy Porter participates in the annual Pride March on June 25, 2023 in New York City.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

President Bill Clinton officially designated June as Pride Month in 2000, a commemoration that has been reaffirmed by subsequent leaders President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden.

While activism and protest during Pride Month are very important, that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun, too. As a Tony and Emmy-winning entertainer and style icon, Porter incorporates protest into his work — whether that be on the stage, during a march or on the red carpet.

“The fashion part of it grew quite organically,” Porter told Us of his use of fashion as a way to have his voice heard. “I always knew fashion was going to be a component of ‘my thing.’ … It was so organic that the degendering of fashion conversation coupled with me coming out of Kinky Boots, doing press for Pose and the trans girls. It kind of fell into place, and I’m just trying to move forward with grace and presence.”

Porter has been at the helm of the movement to degender fashion since his rise to prominence in the early aughts. The multihyphenate famously wore a stunning Christian Siriano velvet tuxedo ball gown to the 2019 Academy Awards, and he more recently stunned in a pink version of the look at the 2023 Golden Globes.

Billy Porter Reminds Kids That Pride Is Protest Not Just a Party

Billy Porter attends the 19th Annual Voices Gala at The Ziegfeld Ballroom on May 09, 2024.
Joy Malone/Getty Images

The Pose star brought his activism — and his glamour — to the Bros Gala, where he received the June Jordan Clarion Call Award for his support of LGBTQ+ rights. Porter donned a sheer light pink dress to the event, accessorizing with Lanvin Curb sneakers by Surgeon.

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“Bros is an organization that stands in the gap for young people, underprivileged, BIPOC folks, Black and brown folks. And we’re in a space right now where we are the change that we must be,” Porter told Us at the gala. “We are the change that we’re waiting for and it’s wonderful to be in this space and be reminded of that. Evenings like this remind us that we actually have the power and we actually have the presence to come together and make a difference.”

With reporting by Travis Cronin.

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