‘Pose’ stars stand up for homeless LGBT youth in a video collaboration with True Colors United

MJ Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Billy Porter and other cast members from the hit show Pose have spoken out about their past experiences with isolation in an attempt to combat homelessness within the LGBT+ community.

Joining forces with New York-based advocacy organisation True Colors United to create a moving video message in honour of True Colors Day, the stars discussed their struggles and how they learned to celebrate who they are.

Ryan Jamaal Swain, who plays aspiring dancer Damon Richards on the show, begins: “For so much of our life, society tells us to conform and twist into these notions as to who they think we are. I think what’s so beautiful about Pose is the fact that so many young people are seeing themselves realised.”

Doing representation the right way

“Representation means ‘letting us be seen as humans’,” Rodriguez says. “A lot of trans women, particular trans women of colour, we’ve always had to fight for our rights.”

“Visibility can bring hope for a lot of people,” Jackson continues.

Created by Steven Canals, Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy, Pose tackles themes of homelessness head-on as it depicts several characters sleeping rough in New York City before meeting Rodriguez’s character Blanca and joining her ball culture performance group, the ‘House of Evangelista.’ There, not only do they find shelter but also sense of family too that, in some ways, proves more important than a roof over their heads.

It’s a concept Porter more than understands.

“I was never kicked out of my home, I never endured homelessness,” he explains on camera. “But I did feel disenfranchised from my biological family because of my sexuality. And I went in search of a community that sort of understood me, and embraced me and loved me unconditionally for who I am.”

40% of homeless youths are LGBT+

Young adults within the LGBT+ community are 120 percent more likely to wind up being homeless in the US, according to a study undertaken in 2017 by the University of Chicago. As stated in the above video, 40 percent of youth experiencing homeless identify as LGBT+.

The Prom producer Ryan Murphy accepts the Outstanding Limited Series award for 'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story' onstage during the 70th Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

‘American Horror Story’ showrunner Ryan Murphy co-created ‘Pose’ with Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals (Kevin Winter/Getty)

“Find ways to connect with young LGBTQ people in your community,” True Colors United’s program director Twiggy Pucci Garçon told HuffPost when asked whether she had any advice for those who are going through difficult times. “Listening to their voices and identities directly is an incredible way to create understanding, build community, and come together to make an impact.”

Pose‘s eagerly-anticipated second season is set to premiere in the US on 11 June. The complete first season is currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer in the UK.