Why “Pose” Is Revolutionary (and How It Has Impacted Me)


Image via The Guardian

Athena Bonner, Staff Writer

“Pose” is a television show based in the late 1980s in underground New York City about ballroom culture; it honors the transgender community in a positive light and promotes understanding. It educates the cisgender community about ideas of family and community as well. “Pose” is one of the only shows that I watch because it truly educates me on their community. It portrays People of Color and LGBTQIA+ people in a way that helps people understand these often discriminated and marginalized communities. At the end of the day, they are living and finding themselves, just like we all are.

Let’s take a moment to honor all transgender women of color who are murdered and attacked yearly for just existing in their authentic truths.

“Pose” gives the audience a look at the type of opportunities people in the LGBTQIA+ community can have outside of the ballroom by coming together and building as one; we also see the struggles that our transgender brothers and sisters face. The show was created by Ryan Murphy and Janet Mock, a Black transgender director. The show stars actresses Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, MJ Rodriguez, and Angelica Ross, and actor Billy Porter. 

Porter is a part of the Huntington Theatre Company board, which helps to bring inclusivity and diversity to the theatre community, which is needed for many theaters in the future, post-COVID-19. I hope this extends to the Boston theatre scene like it is in New York City. That is why I respect my theatre community, who I met back in 2019 while working at the Huntington Theatre Company during the summer before college and COVID-19. Working there was a powerful experience because it was there where I knew that I would stay a member of the arts forever.

Here are three impacts that the show “Pose” has had on me:

Firstly, the show “Pose” has taught me to authentically be myself. I am learning that I am a Black womanist and a woman who is evolving and educating myself on the communities I am a part of and communities around me to create empathy in my life. I’m a free spirit who loves the world around me. I’m a historian and an art fan, living on my own terms and not letting society judge me and create unnecessary labels. I am honoring myself by reaching my educational goals. I enjoy being a woman who is learning how to live and love openly with all people. “Pose” has taught me that life is so short and that I need to always love myself, and to always love the people who loved my authentic self from the start. The show gives me confidence and helps me see the beauty in me. 

The show has also taught me about soul family house family, and community. Your soul family are the people in your life who are close to you and the family you choose in your time of need. A house family are the people you perform with, uplift, and help change the world with; house families do not only exist on ballroom stages. I related to these ideas because before college. I felt very misunderstood. This semester, I learned how to honor and create my own community and show up for them because you never know when they need you or need them. I will start living by the idea of soul families because I do not have many traditional family members; I am incredibly grateful for the ones I do have at home and the University of Hartford. Thank you for breaking down the walls that were placed by those who judge me and hate me. I am so uplifted by shows like “Pose” that make me happy during times of sadness. I appreciate my soul family, who have shown me love and honored my presence during these times. I hope to keep in contact with them in some way.

Finally, the last thing “Pose” taught me about is Fashion. In the show, I get to learn about trends of fashion from the late 1980s and 1990s. Characters Angel, Blanca, Candy, Elektra, and Pray Tell are always dressing to impress and to stand there in their truth as human beings. This always makes the show so fascinating to watch and learn from. It teaches me to love myself as I am, accepting all of my womanhood and honoring the lives of LGBTQIA+ people, especially transgender people of color. What makes our LGBTQIA+ friends cool is that they can pull off looks that I cannot pull off myself. I learned that I need to dress presentably and take pride in life just like the characters in “Pose” do all the time. Season 1 specifically helped me fall in love with fashion and my femininity. 

So, I highly suggest you watch “Pose,” which will be airing its third and final season starting on May 2nd, 2021, on FX Network. I know I am going to be watching because it is informative and entertaining, two qualities that show today need to badly. I will forever be grateful for shows like this which honor ballroom culture, as well as “My House,” which takes a look at ballroom culture today in New York City, originally airing on Viceland in 2018 (with free episodes up for free on YouTube). Both of these shows teach people like myself to stay open-minded and meeting new people. This is a new mindset that I will have going into the future to be open to love in all forms and so that people can be more accepting. Keep living your life.