After hearing President Donald Trump’s dispiriting speech about immigration, crime and congressional infighting during this year’s State of the Union address, many Americans walked away feeling less certain about the way forward. But actor Billy Porter has a different take on the annual speech.
Ahead of President Trump’s remarks yesterday (Tuesday, Feb. 5), Logo released their official LGBTQ State of the Union, delivered by Porter. The Pose star said that while things may look somewhat grim for the community, the spirit of perseverance would propel us through. “While our rights are under threat and the sanctity of our identities is in peril, let me be clear,” Porter said, “The state of our union is strong.”
Porter went on to address the rise of hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals in the United States, highlighting statistics from the Human Rights Campaign and the Anti-Violence project that show more queer people were being attacked than in years prior, especially transgender women of color. According to the AVP, more queer individuals were attacked, sustained injuries and died from hate violence in 2017 than in 2016.
“As LGBTQ people, we face hate every day due to the simple fact of our existence,” Porter said, before offering a way forward. “How do we fight this hate? With love. We must continue to demonstrate our love for each other. Love is strength, strength we must have to fight for our integrity and our very lives.”
While Porter’s address was meant to reach those in America, the singer also spent time pledging his support for LGBTQ individuals in Chechnya, where the recent crackdowns on queer behavior has reportedly found 40 imprisoned and at least two dead, and in Brazil, where anti-LGBTQ violence is growing with the election of President Jair Bolsonaro.
Porter also admonished the behavior and policies of the Trump administration, saying that the LGBTQ community would loudly oppose the banning of transgender troops in the military. “We are here,” Porter said. “And if the victories of the last year prove anything, we ain’t going no-damn-where.”
In the remainder of his address, Porter pointed out the positives of the last year, including the most diverse class of elected officials in U.S. history and the significant uptick in LGBTQ representation in entertainment. He also looked to the next year, marking the 50th anniversary celebration of the Stonewall Riots in New York City.
“Though darkness may overshadow the progress we’ve made, we must not let it snuff our light out,” he said. “Love will and love must keep us united. Only with the strength from love can we continue to forge ahead. Make no mistake, our best days are ahead of us.”
Check out Billy Porter’s full LGBTQ State of the Union below: