Billy Porter Shreds Vogue For Featuring Harry Styles In A Dress

"All he has to do is be white and straight," the Emmy-winning "Pose" star said of Styles, who — like Porter — has embraced gender-fluid fashion.

Billy Porter, whose red carpet ensembles have made him a gender-fluid fashion icon, isn’t thrilled about Vogue’s cover featuring Harry Styles in a dress.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Sunday Times, the “Pose” star cited the magazine’s December 2020 issue as an example of why he continues to feel like an underdog in the fashion industry.

“I changed the whole game,” Porter said. “I. Personally. Changed. The. Whole. Game. And that is not ego, that is just fact. I was the first one doing it and now everybody is doing it. ... 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.”

The Emmy winner insisted he wasn’t “dragging” Styles, but he stressed that the singer’s dedication to challenging gender norms through clothing wasn’t motivated by lived experience.

"I changed the whole game," said Billy Porter, pictured here at the 2019 Academy Awards.
"I changed the whole game," said Billy Porter, pictured here at the 2019 Academy Awards.
Dan MacMedan via Getty Images

“He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do,” Porter said. “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,” he added.

Styles is the first man to appear solo on the cover of Vogue. The Grammy winner was photographed by Tyler Mitchell in a number of striking looks, including a lacy Gucci gown and a Wales Bonner kilted skirt.

In an accompanying interview, Styles expressed his admiration for Elton John and Freddie Mercury, both of whom broke similar barriers during their heydays, and said that he was excited to see traditional gender divisions in fashion “crumbling away.”

“I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing,” the “Watermelon Sugar” singer said. “There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never really thought too much about what it means — it just becomes this extended part of creating something.”

Though right-wing author Candace Owens criticized the photos at the time, Styles was praised by the likes of actor Zach Braff and Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Porter, who recently starred in Amazon’s adaptation of “Cinderella” with Camila Cabello and Idina Menzel, will release his memoir, “Unprotected,” on Tuesday. He unveiled a new pop single, “Children,” last week.

Popular in the Community