18 October 2021
Billy Porter has criticised Vogue for putting “straight white man” Harry Styles on their cover in a dress.
The ‘Pose’ actor – who famously caused a stir at the 2019 Oscars with his custom Christian Siriano tuxedo gown – insisted he “changed the whole game” when it came to the trend of men experimenting with skirts but thinks the fashion bible chose the wrong person to embrace non-binary fashion with their December 2020 cover.
He told the Sunday Times’ Style magazine: “I changed the whole game. I. Personally. Changed. The. Whole. Game. And that is not ego, that is just fact.
“I was the first one doing it and now everybody is doing it…
“I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to. I’m not necessarily convinced and here is why. I created the conversation [about non-binary fashion] and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time.
“I’m not dragging Harry Styles, but he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation? He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do.
“This is politics for me. This is my life. I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned now. All he has to do is be white and straight.”
The 52-year-old star loves the way Lil Nas X has been able to be open with his sexuality in his career but insisted the ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ owes a lot to the gay stars who have gone before him.
Billy – who appears in Nas’ ‘That’s What I Want’ video – said: “Listen, my generation kicked the door down. Somebody else has to take the torch now. I am too old to take my clothes off and be the teeny-bopper pop star. We laid out the road for him and I love that.”
The ‘Cinderella’ actor admitted he never dreamed he’d be so successful because he was always warned his sexuality would “be a liability”.
Asked if he knew he’d be as successful as he is, he said: “No, because I’m gay. I was told my queerness would be a liability and I would never have the kind of success that I have. And the naysayers were right for a very long time, until they weren’t.”