Billy Porter Thinks 'Bitches Are Scared. And They Should Be'

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Having never met Billy Porter, I can’t say with full confidence that he speaks exclusively in nuggets of wisdom as perfectly manicured as his famed fits, but I also can’t not say that. The actor/singer/Broadway legend is Allure’s February cover star, and the story that accompanies the artful images is packed with Porter’s insight, both painful and glorious.

He opens up about his childhood (surprising no one, he was clearly and devastatingly precocious,) which revealed an intimate understanding of the limitations of masculinity at early age. Like, kindergarten-early. He said:

“The heteronormative construct that masculinity is better silenced me for many years. It was like my masculinity was in question before I could even comprehend the thought. I was sent to a psychologist at five years old because I was a sissy and my family was afraid. I love them. They didn’t know. It was a different time. I was in kindergarten, being taken to this white man in this big building to just talk to him for an hour every Wednesday after school. That’s one of the first memories I have as a child, that something’s wrong with you and you need to be fixed based on ‘You’re not masculine enough.’ I carried that with me for my whole life until, like, two and a half minutes ago. You know?”

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I’d argue that those two and a half minutes have been glorious, and can only grow from here. Near the article’s end, Porter pays homage to the queer artists who came before him—specifically those decimated by the AIDS epidemic in the ‘80s and ‘90s—and celebrates a new, contemporary generation. Emphasis my own:

“We lost an entire generation. But for me, I like to live in the present and in the positive. And what it’s left inside of me is the fire to tell the story and to fill the void. That’s why it’s taken me so long. I was at the tail end of those artists. I was a young’ un, learning from those people who died. And I’ve had all of this time to take the morsel of what I had learned and let it gestate, and grow, and grow, and gestate and grow, and gestate and grow. And it’s our turn. It’s time. I’m a part of the first generation of gay men, ever, who gets to be out loud and proud in the world. My generation is the first. Bitches are scared. And they should be.”

I’d quote the whole cover story, if I could, but that would be overkill. Read it in full here.

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