Somehow, there are people who don’t love Billy Porter. Here’s what he has to say to them
Listen, Billy Porter is an icon. The Emmy- and Tony-winning actor is incredible at everything he does, plus, he always looks amazing, like when he rocked a tuxedo gown at the Oscars (and then repurposed that gown to wear during an appearance on Sesame Street). Kids would be lucky to have someone like Porter, who is strong as hell and unapologetically himself, as a role model. But naturally, there are people in the world who don’t feel that way.
Recently, Sesame Street shared some pictures from Porter’s upcoming appearance on the show in his stunning tuxedo gown. He looked great. We were all stoked to see the episode. End of story, right?
Ugh. Unfortunately, wrong. Because we live in a world where there are homophobes and bigots, there was some backlash to the photos. Some of the most intense criticism came from Arkansas Senator Jason Rapert (a Republican, can you believe that?), who called for his state to end funding for PBS over this. If you look up “overreaction” in the dictionary, there you will find a photo of Rapert’s face.
“Do you approve of your taxpayer dollars being used to promote the radical LGBTQ agenda?” he wrote on Facebook. “Taxpayer funds should not be used to try and manipulate young children with the political agenda and worldview of LGBTQ activism. Political interest groups can pay for their own messaging and do as they please, but the hardworking taxpayers of America DO NOT have to pay the bills for your efforts. I object to PBS and AETN rebroadcasting any LGBTQ activist programming using public funds. Not the right time or the right place.”
Unfortunately, Rapert wasn’t alone in his bigoted views. Anti-abortion site LifePetitions started a petition to block Porter’s appearance, claiming that Sesame Street is trying to “sexualize children using drag queens.” Unsurprisingly, out of the billions of people in the world, the petition has gotten a whopping 50,000 signatures.
Now, Porter is clapping back with some choice words for people who object to his appearance on a children’s show on the basis of his sexuality: “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”
In an interview with Page Six, Porter said he struggles to understand how his decision to wear a dress translates, in some people’s minds, to “perverted demon sex.”
“Like, what about me singing with a penguin [on Sesame Street] has anything to do with what I’m doing in my bedroom?” he added. “The really interesting thing for me is that that’s what it’s all about when it comes to LGBTQ people — the first thing everyone wants to talk about is how we having sex.”
Porter continued, “Stay out of my bedroom and you will be fine. That is none of your business.”
It’s good advice. Here’s hoping his critics take it to heart. The rest of us will be over here watching Sesame Street.