Actor-recording artist Billy Porter covers the July/August 2020 cover of Essence magazine.

Porter, 50, is best known for playing Pray Tell in the FX drama Pose. He won a Tony for his portrayal of Lola in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots. Porter has released four studio albums.

In tweeting the cover, Essence editors wrote: “At every stage of his 30-year career, @TheeBillyPorter has challenged norms. Today is no different. Billy is encouraging discussions that bring about a reckoning – from protests to the murders of trans women.”

Porter, the first gay man to cover the magazine, told Essence that his masculinity has been in question “from the moment I could comprehend thought.”

“I was never masculine enough by society's standards to walk the Earth,” he said. “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 the filth was not only coming from White people. The filth was coming from my own,” he added.

Porter also called on the Black community to be more accepting of people who identify as LGBT.

“Our trans women are out here dying at the hands of our own,” he said.

“You want the police to stop being brutal. Okay. Yeah, I'm with you, but this f-got over here that you all love to f-k with, I'm Black first.”

“LGBTQ+ Black people are Black people first and we need to be supported and honored too,” Porter said.