Billy Porter takes personal credit for wave of men wearing dresses

‘I changed the game, Harry Styles doesn’t care’: Billy Porter hits out at Vogue featuring straight white male star in their first gender neutral fashion shoot

Billy Porter has hit out at Vogue’s decision to use a straight, white male for their first gender neutral fashion shoot. 

Last November, Harry, 27, made history as the first solo male cover star of US Vogue in its 127 years, in a shoot which saw him wear a Gucci dress and feminine garments. 

The shoot caused controversy, including backlash from US commentator Candace Owens, but Billy, 52, has revealed his issue with the cover was their choice of star. 

Hitting out: Billy Porter hit out at Vogue for featuring a straight white male in their first gender neutral fashion shoot (pictured in a Christian Siriano tuxedo dress at the 2019 Oscars)

Pose actor Billy – who often wears dresses at red carpet events – explained: ‘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.’

Iconic: Harry Styles, 27, made history in November as the first solo male cover star of US Vogue in its 127 years, in a shoot which saw him wear a dress and feminine garments

Comments: The shoot caused controversy, including backlash from US commentator Candace Owens, but Billy has revealed his issue with the cover was their choice of star

Billy, was the first gay black man to win a lead acting Emmy for his portrayal of Pray Tell in Pose, about the drag ball culture of Eighties New York, went on to insist that he ‘personally changed the game’ for a wave of men embracing skirts and dresses as part of their style.

The singer and actor famously wore a custom-made Christian Siriano tuxedo dress to the 2019 Oscars and donned a winged Cleopatra gold bodysuit to the Met Gala the same year. 

Meanwhile, Harry’s Vogue headlines sparked a debate when it was released, with right-wing commentator Candace Owens hitting headlines by blasting the styling and the ‘steady feminization of our men’, calling for society to ‘bring back manly men’.  

Embracing change: Billy went on to insist that he ‘personally changed the game’ for a wave of men embracing skirts and dresses as part of their style (pictured at 2020 Oscars)

Meanwhile, Billy recently said he was ‘completely free’ of shame after speaking out about his HIV diagnosis in May in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

He told the Times: ‘I was sent to a psychologist when I was five years old because I was a sissy.

‘The shame started then. On May 19, 2021, I released every ounce of shame from my body and it will never come back. 

Wow: The singer and actor famously wore a custom-made Christian Siriano tuxedo dress to the 2019 Oscars and donned a winged Cleopatra gold bodysuit to the Met Gala the same year (pictured at 2019 Met Gala)

‘I have no shame now. None. About anything. It took me 14 years to give that interview, so by the time I did it, I wasn’t scared any more.’

The star, who was voted Man of the Year at the Attitude Awards earlier this month, expanded on his feelings to the magazine. 

He told Attitude: ‘For my whole life. You know, my religious family, God bless them, sent me to a psychologist when I was five years old because I was too much of a sissy.

‘The only thing I know is shame. So, to have that lifted, and to be free from shame, it’s mind-boggling. For the first time, I’m learning how to live for myself.’

On moving to New York in 1991 in the midst of the AIDS crisis, he added: ‘The only thing we knew was sex equalled death. So, good luck. Horrible. And it’s only now that I’m in a space where I can actually process what we’ve been through.

‘It’s, like, oh, we went through some shit, and I’ve been traumatised. It took a minute for me to understand that.’

Feeling free: Billy recently said he was ‘completely free’ of shame after speaking out about his HIV diagnosis in May in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter 

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