Billy Porter, star of Pose and progressive fashion pioneer, is not a fan of Harry Styles’ Vogue cover look, despite the forward momentum it generated in the movement for breaking down arbitrary gender barriers in fashion. For what it’s worth, though, his skepticism for Styles’ cover comes as much from his own experience being castigated for his daring red carpet looks as for anything Styles’ dress did.
“I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to,” Porter observed in an interview with The Sunday Times excerpted by Rolling Stone. “I’m not necessarily convinced and here is why. 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. I’m not dragging Harry Styles, but he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation? He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do. 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.”
While Styles’ dress — and the numerous androgynous looks he’s pulled off over the years — have drawn fire from angry conservatives looking to preserve their own worldviews, he’s also found his fair share of defenders and imitators.