Billy Porter becomes first openly gay black man to win Emmy for lead actor in a drama

Billy Porter becomes first openly gay black man to win Emmy for lead actor in a drama

Actor Billy Porter has made history by becoming the first openly gay black man to win an Emmy for his leading role in the drama Pose.

The 50-year-old made history last night at the 71st Emmy Awards, where he was presented with the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He achieved this for his portrayal of ballroom emcee Pray Tell on the FX series.

"It took many years of vomiting up all the filth that I had been taught about myself, and halfway believed, before I was could walk around this earth like I had the right to be here," Porter told the audience, quoting James Baldwin, as he accepted the award. "I have the right, you have the right - we all have the right!"

"We, as artists, are the people who that get to change the molecular structure of the hearts and minds of the people who live on this planet," he added. "Please don't ever stop doing that. Please don't ever stop telling the truth."

The win was met with an avalanche of enthusiasm from LGBTQ+ advocates and fans alike on social media:

Porter's win is not just history-making in itself, so too is Pose, a series which follows New York ballroom dancers in the 80s and 90s, and features the largest recurring LGBTQ+ cast of any show ever made.

After his Emmy nomination, he told People magazine: "My outness was always considered a liability for me and that has turned around. In my life in the business, having that flamboyant ability, very often that’s where you’re pigeonholed, that's where you're sort of put in a box."

"I'm glad to be out of that box," he added.

Now, if Porter wins an Oscar, he will have achieved EGOT status.