Billy Porter opens Outfest with attack on US Supreme Court, Trump

Los Angeles, July 16 Actor Billy Porter, who unveiled his directorial debut film at the ongoing 40th edition of Outfest in Los Angeles, teed off on the Supreme Court while accepting the LGBTQIA+ festival’s top honour, reports Deadline.

At the rousing opening night, according to Deadline, Porter declared to cheers from the audience at the Orpheum Theatre, “F*** SCOTUS!”. The acronym SCOTUS stands for Supreme Court of the United States.

Alluding to the US Supreme Court’s decision overturning the pro-abortion Roe v. Wade ruling and the prospect the court might revisit other rulings that okayed same-sex consensual sex and marriage, Porter said, “We worked too hard for our progress and we ain’t going back.”

Deadline adds that calling that in a part of his speech, he also spotlighted the January 6 hearings examining former US President Donald Trump’s role in the Capitol insurrection. “None of you Republicans who are coming forward in these hearings right now are heroes,” he remarked.

He added, “You agreed with everything he [Trump] did until January 6, until his cult followers came for ya’ll. You are not heroes. F*** ya’ll too.” A member of the audience shouted encouragingly, “Preach!”

Porter makes his directorial debut with ‘Anything’s Possible’, a rom-com that centres on a Black trans high school senior and her budding romance with an Arab-American boy. Eva Reign and Abubakr Ali, who play the leads in the film, presented Porter with the festival’s highest accolade, the 2022 Outfest Annual Achievement Award. He used the occasion to urge those on the left to avoid complacency.

Deadline further quoted him as saying, “Our messaging has to change. We thought we won something, the Democrats, the progressives. We got civil rights, we got Roe versus Wade, we got marriage equality, we got all the rest. We got a Black president. And then we all sat on our asses and ate bonbons for eight years and then the unthinkable happened.”

He added: “We’re a part of it too. Frederick Douglass said ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’ We lost our vigilance. It’s time to get that shit back.”

Continuing his attack, Porter said: “Our 24-hour news cycle has forgotten to illuminate that the reason the pushback [from the right] is so severe in this moment is because the change has already happened. W’re already here. Look at me, look at this movie, look at ya’ll! A celebration of trans joy centred on a Black empowered transgender high school senior who has the cutest Arab Muslim boyfriend and has the audacity to demand respect for her humanity.”

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