By David T. Valentin
Billy Porter, as radiant with love as ever, has released his four-part documentary series, Equal, a documentary series with the aim to educate viewers on the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
The documentary series released last Thursday, October 22nd on HBO Max.
“There’s a lot of stuff in the four-part series I had not heard about before. So it’s always nice to learn something new.”
The docuseries will tell the lives of notable LGBTQ+ historical figures through a slew of archival footage and scripts based on historical documents. The series features notable actors like Samira Wiley, and Cheyenne Jackson, alongside other notable queer actors who will be reenacting prominent moments in LGBTQ+ history.
The series released at a pivotal moment in history, days before Amy Coney Barret, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee was accepted into the Supreme Court Justice. Barrett’s confirmation raises red flags to the LGBTQ+ community, citing her support for notable anti-LGBTQ+ organizations such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.
Porter has noted the documentary series to be of particular relevance in today’s political climate alongside Black Lives Matter Protests.
“It’s about people rising up and making that so. So that’s what you’re seeing right now. And I think what’s interesting about this series is that it’s about people taking charge of their lives and rising up and making sure that we live up to what our Constitution boasts, which is that all men are created equal.”
I think this is an important time in our history to release such a documentary. As of right now, many LGBTQ+ youth are home possibly stuck with homophobic family members and unable to feel a sense of community. It’s equally hard to tap into our history when so much of our queer leaders are dead due to the AIDS crisis, a pandemic ignored quite like the coronavirus is right now. But by making this history accessible and easy to learn, it allows LGBTQ+ youth to get a greater sense of their identity—that it’s more than just dark clouds and thunder, and that it could be, truly, sunshine and rainbows. But that freedom is work, a fight.
As Porter says, “It helps remind those of us in the fight on the regular that good is possible. And the work is eternal. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty is what Frederick Douglass says.”