Citing 2019 as "the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans," Porter breaks down how Trump's presidency has dismantled and attacked LGBTQ rights.
For the second year in a row, Billy Porter has offered a counterpoint of sorts to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address with his "LGBTQ State of the Union."
But while Trump touted the strength of his presidency, its economy and the union in general, Porter took a much more bleak look at the current state of affairs in America. Coming just hours before Trump's speech, Porter nevertheless emphasized that the "battered" nation "is far from broken."
"Our nation is facing one of the biggest crises of my lifetime," he said, referring to the Trump presidency in this election year. "But this year, you and I have the chance to course-correct."
He added that while "our nation has survived the first term of Donald Trump, but who's to say what another term would do to this country, to democracy and truly to the entire world."
He then broke down what surviving the first term has looked like for the LGBTQ community, including Trump banning transgender people from serving in the military and removing funding for homeless trans individuals, as well as supporting initiatives that allow healthcare professionals to "discriminate against queer people" on the basis of their "conscience."
He pointed out that 2019 was "the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans," adding that "this heinous violence against trans people, which disproportionately affects trans women of color is nothing short of an epidemic." He added that according to the FBI, hate crime violence has reached a 16-year high.
"We must confront it as a community and as a country, and we must elect officials who recognize it for the crisis that it is," Porter emphasized.
And then there are all the federal judges Trump has placed throughout his first three years in office "whose influence will be felt long after Trump has left office," Porter expounded.
And this not only impacts the LGBTQ community, per Porter, who said we live in an era where truth is under attack, white supremacy is being normalized and women's reproductive rights are once again under attack, not to mention ongoing concerns with gun violence and climate change.
But it's not all bad, as Porter wrapped up his statement with a look at the ongoing positive changes on the social front. If national policy won't support the LGBTQ community, it's at least encouraging to know that growing numbers of regular people on the ground are showing greater empathy, openness and acceptance than ever before.
"Every act of kindness is a blow against cruelty. Every act of empathy is a blow against bigotry. Every act of courage is a blow against cowardly self-interest, and every act of love is a blow against hate," Porter said. "We have a tough fight against us, but I know we can win it."
"Remember that we have far more that connects us than sets us apart," Porter concluded his speech. "So, love one another, take care of one another, and let's secure the future for those who will inherit it. In the words of the great James Baldwin, 'Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.'”