Out actor-singer Billy Porter has
responded to conservatives opposed to his upcoming appearance on
A backlash erupted after the iconic
children's program shared on-set photos of Porter dressed in the
velvet tuxedo gown he wore to the 2019 Oscars.
Arkansas state Senator Jason Rapert
threatened to sponsor a bill to cut state funding for PBS. (The show
is owned by HBO but is broadcast on local PBS affiliates.)
“Taxpayer funds should not be used to
try and manipulate young children with the political agenda and
worldview of LGBTQ activism,” Rapert wrote on Facebook.
A petition calling for the removal of
Porter's appearance from the show has received more than 50,000
signatures as of Friday. Sesame Street is trying “to
sexualize children using drag queens,” the petition states.
“Transgenderism is not about 'love.'
It is a disorder – gender dysphoria – which has absolutely no
place on a children's program,” the authors added, though it should
be noted that Porter is a gay man and does not identify as
Speaking with Page Six, Porter,
who plays emcee Pray Tell on FX's Pose, responded: “If you
don't like it, don't watch it.”
“Like, what about me singing with a
penguin [on the show] has anything to do with what I’m doing in my
bedroom?” Porter rhetorically asked.
“The really interesting thing for me,
is that that’s what it’s all about when it comes to LGBTQ people
– the first thing everyone wants to talk about is how we're having
“Stay out of my bedroom and you will
be fine – that is none of your business,” he