If you weren’t aware that we are in Billy Porter’s moment, you’ve been put on notice. The Emmy winner proved himself as a tour de force back when he starred in Kinky Boots back in 2014, but the masses finally began to catch on through his leading role as Pray Tell in FX’s Pose. His new, history-making cover story for Allure, is only another accolade added to the pile.
Porter is now the first male-identified person to cover Allure magazine in the publication’s history. In the feature written by Ashley C. Ford, Porter reveals many things including how he uses fashion as a weapon — something that he has spoken about before, — growing up broke with expensive taste, and how the methods of toxic masculinity left a lasting impact on his life.
“The heteronormative construct that masculinity is better silenced me for many years,” Porter said. “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."
He went on saying that he had to go to the psychologist for an hour every week. "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?"
The negative reinforcement continued, even into his career. Critiques around his “flamboyance” were thinly veiled shots at his perceived femininity. But at some point, Porter stopped beginning to care about those critiques, and playing into them by putting on the costume of masculinity and opting for authenticity instead. And the rest, as they say, is history.