We return with part two of What a Drag; A History of Ballroom Culture & Modern Drag. We left off at the end of the 1950’s just as a new era was dawning in the queer community. The Lavender Scare was finally starting to fade as America’s understanding around sexual orientation was VERY slowly evolving. Organizations such as The Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis had stepped away from being secret societies to standing up as open gay and lesbian organizations. The public transition of former war vet Christine Jorgenson had swept the country igniting a long debate around gender identity and gay rights. And on top of these events, the racial tensions of the era and daily feminist uprisings were preparing to explode into the revolution of the 1960s. As if waiting for an introduction, a small protest sparked the first fires of change.
Billy Porter has come to redefine the industry and shatter every boundary and binary in his way. Though he’s been in the industry for over 30 years it’s only in the last few that this incredible star had been getting the recognition he deserves. A conscious choice made when Porter chose his authenticity over fame; a decision few would have had the tenacity to follow through on. But today his hard work, dedication, and unwavering moral stance have earned him the role of a lifetime. Starring as the enigmatic Pray Tell on the hit TV show Pose, Porter serves us Ballroom Culture realness as he emcee’s the nightly challenges. But before we get to that, let’s start back at Billy’s childhood. *And before we start. We do want to add a trigger warning as we will be discussing sexual abuse and trauma*.