Actors Ryan Jamaal Swain, MJ Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson and Billy Porter teamed up with True Colors United, an LGBTQ advocacy organization based in New York, for the above video, released on Wednesday. In it, they share personal anecdotes about the challenges they faced before they came to embrace their authentic selves.
“I was never kicked out of my home, I never endured homelessness,” Porter says. “But I did feel disenfranchised from my biological family because of my sexuality. And I went in search of a community that sort of understood me, and embraced me and loved me unconditionally for who I am.”
LGBTQ youth, like many of the characters depicted on “Pose,” face disproportionately high rates of homelessness in the U.S. A 2017 study by the University of Chicago found that LGBTQ young adults had a 120 percent higher risk of experiencing homelessness compared to those who identified as heterosexual and cisgender. Other estimates have found that up to 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ.
This hits home for many of the stars of “Pose,” including Porter. FX’s hit ballroom culture drama, co-created by Ryan Murphy, features the largest cast of transgender actors in regular roles and the largest recurring LGBTQ cast ever for a scripted TV series.
Twiggy Pucci Garçon, True Colors United’s program director, told HuffPost that having the “Pose” cast embrace the organization’s mission was “the perfect alignment” given the show’s emphasis on “the importance of chosen family and self-expression.”
Garçon, who also served as a consultant and choreographer on “Pose,” said she’s hopeful the video encourages the show’s fans to take small steps to help fight LGBTQ youth homelessness.
“Find ways to connect with young LGBTQ people in your community,” she said. “Listening to their voices and identities directly is an incredible way to create understanding, build community, and come together to make an impact.”
“Pose” returns to FX for its second season June 11.