Actor, singer, and Broadway performer Billy Porter revealed that a homophobic cousin once threatened to kill him if he ever “turned gay.” The star of FX’s Pose made the revelation during an interview with guest host Billy Eichner on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
In the conversation Porter had been discussing the support he has received after his comments on homophobia and transphobia within the Black community. In the wake of those comments, a friend had called Porter to detail a conversation he'd had “straight male Black cis cousin” who had not only expressed his support for Porter, but also said that if either of the cousin’s own sons “turned out gay” he would “love them no matter what.”
“It’s so good to hear that because my experience in the 80s was a cousin saying if I ever turned gay he would kill me, so that’s what my experience has been,” Porter told Eichner. “So, yeah, sometimes my trauma shows.”
Porter has long talked about the things he experienced as a child that came as a result of his family's reaction to his sexuality. In addition to this experience, Porter was sent to a psychologist at age six where head to sit for an hour each 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.'" he told Allure in his cover story. "I carried that with me for my whole life until, like, two and a half minutes ago. You know?"
The multi-talented Porter is a veteran of the stage, where he is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Lola in Kinky Boots, for which he won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. He wrote and performed Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am), his one-person autobiographical show that ran at Joe’s Pub in 2005. Porter made history when he was the first male-identified person to appear on the cover of Allure. He also went on to become the first out gay man to get a solo cover of Essence.
While acknowledging the Black community has issues with homophobia “across the board,” Porter remains optimistic.
Noting how “the Black community is changing and shifting” with a changing and shifting world, Porter was quick to point out that “all Black people are not homophobic.”