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Porter among those striking a pose at 2019 Emmys
by Matt Simonette
2019-09-23

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Pose's Billy Porter made history the evening of Sept. 22 when he became the first openly gay Black actor to win the Emmy for the best lead actor in a dramatic series.

Porter has rarely failed to turn heads on red carpets and the 2019 Emmys ceremony was no exception. He turned up in a Michael Kors suit and a Stephen Jones-designed hat, as well as platform shoes.

"The category is love, you all—love," exclaimed Porter. "I'm so overwhelmed and overjoyed to have lived long enough see this day. James Baldwin said, 'It took many years of vomiting up all the filth that I had been taught about myself and halfway believed, before I could walk around this earth like I had the right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

"The truly talented Billy Porter just made history as the first out gay man and first Black gay man to win the Emmy in Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, as well as the first time this award has gone to an actor portraying a gay character," said GLAAD CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. "Congratulations to Billy for this well-deserved honor and for always using his work and platform to showcase the power of being authentic."

RuPaul's Drag Race took home an Emmy for outstanding reality show. In his acceptance speech, RuPaul said, "We are so proud of this show and we're so happy for all the gorgeous kids who come on and show how fabulous they are."

He wrapped up his speech with a reminder to viewers to register to vote. Drag Race alumnus Nina West made history that night as well, becoming the first person to walk the Emmys' red carpet in full drag.

Openly gay actor Ben Whishaw, complaining in his speech of a hangover, won Outstanding Supporting Actor for A Very English Scandal. He thanked his partner "for his love, his support and his keeping me somewhat sane."

When accepting the Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy for The Act, Patricia Arquette used the moment to advocate for trans inclusion, invoking the memory of her sister Alexis, who died in 2016. "Change the world so trans people are not persecuted—and let's give them jobs."

Two lesbian actresses appeared as presenters Sept. 22 but had won in a previous 2019 ceremony: Cherry Jones, who won outstanding guest actress in a drama for The Handmaid's Tale, and Jane Lynch, who had won outstanding guest actress in a comedy for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Hannah Gadsby also had picked up an outstanding writing for a variety special Emmy for the Netflix's Nanette.

Openly bisexual singer Halsey performed a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" for the In Memorium segment.

Openly lesbian Saturday Night Live cast member Kate McKinnon was nominated for outstanding supporting actress but lost to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Alex Borstein, who is a Chicago-area native. Nominee Laverne Cox attended the ceremony along with ACLU Staff Attorney Chase Strangio.


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