Pose, the hit show on FX is everything like Paris is Burning and nothing like it at the same time. The difference is, everyone is watching Pose; gay, straight, black, white etc.
I am amongst the Black and gay viewers who couldn’t get enough of the show. What I realized early in the series is that no matter how much we, the LGBTQIA community create our own world to feel safe and accepted in, we still drag along the heteronormative customs of society with us.
Example being, when it is time to show up and show out at the Ball, the MC, Pray Tell played by Billy Porter gives us life with his shady, but loving commentary. Once he’s done, a panel of judges rate each woman who charades and sashays and puts on one a hell of a show. But all of the judges seem to identify as men.
“They’ll get their shot.”Billy Porter
Even in Trans spaces, cisgender men dominate and judge the appearance and realness of the women participating. Eventually the show addresses this issue but not to the fullest extent.
Billy Porter was nominated and won in the 2019 Emmy category of best lead actor in a drama series. A Black gay man won an Emmy for being Black and gay. It seemed like something worth celebrating. I won’t say it was like watching the Obama’s greet the American people when Barak Obama won the 2008 election, but this was another milestone; especially for a community who seems to be overlooked for the real work that they do on or off a television set.
But it happened and most of us couldn’t be prouder. This was a win for the LGBTQIA community. However, some of us had a nagging feeling that we didn’t want to speak on. We didn’t want to take from Billy Porter’s night, but we couldn’t help but think that yes, there was an Emmy win, but there also was an Emmy snub.
Pose is about the New York ballroom scene of the 80’s created by the Black and Latinx LGBTQIA community, but it would be nothing without the trans women of color who made the ballroom scene what it was. Yet, somehow an entire show dedicated and told by trans women of color, were overlooked for a cis-gendered man whom the show is not about.
“Something abt trans ppl not being honored on a show abt trans ppl who created a culture to honor ourselves bc the world doesn’t,”Indya Moore
During the Emmy 2019 pressroom speech, Danielle from Essence Magazine asked Billy Porter if it was bittersweet for him to know that his win was amazing and historic but the women from Pose were kind of ignored, they weren’t nominated. Billy Porter said,
“I don’t live in bittersweet. I live in the present. I live in the positive. The fact that we’re in the building. The fact that we’re in the building is the point, right? We’re in the building. The world has changed. Period. That’s where we are and now, we got another season and now they’ll get their shot.”
Well, another season has come and gone, and Billy Porter has been nominated again in the same category. The women of Pose were snubbed again.
Recently, cast member Indya Moore (pictured below), who plays Angel Evangelista had much to say about the Emmy snub. – “Something abt trans ppl not being honored on a show abt trans ppl who created a culture to honor ourselves bc the world doesn’t,” tweeted Moore, who plays Angel Evangelista, a trans sex worker pursuing a career as a fashion model. “Let’s call it cognitive cissonance.”
It seems that more people were mad at Danielle from Essence in the comments on Youtube than they were with Porter’s 2019 response.
“They’ll get their shot.” Seemed dismissive to the Black female correspondent for Essence and for the women of Pose.
Billy Porter uses his platform to bring awareness to inequality and discrimination toward LGBTQIA people of color. His press-room speech could’ve been a solid time to address the fact that he would’ve loved to see the women of the show alongside him. It seemed as if the oppression that Black gay men feel everyday went out of the window for a taste of societal normalcy at the expense of pushing Black women and women of color aside and telling them to yet again, wait their turn. That isn’t equality or equity; that’s desired power, and Billy Porter didn’t use his power for good that night.
We can only hope that if he wins this year, that he will remember the work that he does as an activist and call the Emmy’s out on their erasure of trans women even when the show is literally about them.
This literary work is the sole property, ideas, and opinions of the author and do not represent the expressed or written opinions of Lezcronymz, LLC.