Billy Porter Talks Foregrounding "Lost Generation of Gay Men" in Semi-Biographical Play

Billy Porter Artios Awards - Getty - P 2019
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The play is "loosely based" on Porter and his friends' journeys after living through the AIDS crisis, the Tony Award winner says.

Tony Award winner and Pose star Billy Porter is making his return to the New York stage in the fall, but this time, with his own play. Ten years in the making, The Untitled Sex Project will begin performances — with Porter in a starring role — on Oct. 29 at New York's off-Broadway venue Primary Stages.

The play centers on five gay men who have survived the AIDS crisis, or, as Porter put it, "the lost generation of gay men."

"It’s loosely based on me and four of my best friends as we tried to figure out how to close the chasm between sex and intimacy," Porter told The Hollywood Reporter. "You know, gay men of a certain age, like those of us in our late 40s or early 50s, we survived the plague. We know how to fight but we don’t know how to live, and the people who were supposed to teach us how to do that died in the plague. And now we have an administration that’s trying to take us back to what we were before the plague.”

Porter added that the play is "the actual real version" of himself. "I'm excited to bring it to the world," He said. "It's a group of people that the world hasn't really spent much time with: gay men of color; black to be specific."

Over the past 10 years, Porter said the play morphed into what it is now, and the 2016 presidential election helped him understand why it took so long to write: Its "unifying force is the idea that when one group of people is attacked for who they are, every group of people is attacked for who they are," he said.

"Until we all understand how to stand up for the one that’s beside us, we’re going to stay in the same shit we’re in," Porter added.

And instead of "complaining," Porter said he wants to "contribute to the conversation" he doesn't think the U.S. is having. "It's time to do something."