Just as Pride month comes to a close, Billy Porter is making history with Essence as the magazine’s first-ever gay cover star.

The “Pose” actor appears on the July/August cover of the mag, making him the first gay man in the magazine’s history to appear on the cover.

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“My masculinity was in question from the moment I could comprehend thought,” Porter told the mag. “I was never masculine enough by society’s standards to walk the earth… It took years of me vomiting up the filth that I was told about myself, and halfway believed, before I could walk around on this earth like I deserve to be here.”

But he’s excited for the opportunity, even using the platform to speak out on the current Black Lives Matter movement.

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Photo: Essence Magazine
Photo: Essence Magazine

“I’m very excited to engage in this conversation and have Essence have my back because it’s those of us in positions of power in our community who can change the conversation. I’m so moved by the olive branch that this is saying to the world and to our community collectively, that LGBTQ+ Black people are Black people first and we need to be supported and honoured too. Stop killing us like everybody else is.”

Read more from Porter here.