Billy Porter Responds to 'Sesame Street' Backlash After Wearing a Dress

Billy Porter on Sesame Street
Sesame Street/Facebook

Those of us who watched Sesame Street likely remember all of the life lessons -- like our ABCs, 123s, making friends, and being kind -- we learned so many (many) years ago. It's been 50 years (yes, 50) since the iconic show made its debut, and there's a reason why Sesame Street is basically as good as preschool for many children. Since its start, Sesame Street has made a number of changes to reflect the times, and it appears giving the thumbs up for Billy Porter to come on the show in his Oscar dress has folks p-ssed.

... and he has a word for those in their feelings.

  • The Emmy, Grammy, and Tony award winner turned heads after 'Sesame Street' featured pics of him on set in a dress for all to see.

    "@theebillyporter bringing those fierce vibes to Sesame Street for #Season51," the Sesame Street Instagram account read on January 30.

    According to People, Billy was filming a Sesame Street episode for the upcoming season while rocking the Christian Siriano tuxedo gown he rocked during the 2019 Academy Awards last year. Needless to say, the look was showstopping, as it's not every day we see a man serving it up in a dress on the red carpet of a prominent award show.

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  • The children's show giant also took to Facebook to share more photos of Billy Porter.

    Hey, Elmo!

    Billy is clearly enjoying his best life dressed up on Sesame Street. He is certainly not the first celebrity to grace the show with his or her presence, but is giving us a fierce moment in his ensemble. 

    It's definitely memorable!

  • Welp, it didn't take long before people -- including a state senator -- to chime in about their distaste for Billy's taste in wardrobe.

    Republican Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert, who's now running to become lieutenant governor of Arkansas, hit up Facebook again to share a petition for "'Sesame Street' drop show with drag queen" in response to photos of Billy in a gown. "I signed. Take a stand," the state sentator captioned his Facebook post.

    With Jason Rapert getting attention because of his response, the Arkansas senator shared another post to clarify his sentiments about the LGBTQ community. "I have no animosity towards anyone, including LGBTQ activists - everyone is free to believe what they want and have their own opinion in our nation," he wrote.

    "However, taxpayer funds should not be used to try and manipulate young children with the political agenda and worldview of LGBTQ activism," he added. "Political interest groups can pay for their own messaging and do as they please, but the hardworking taxpayers of America DO NOT have to pay the bills for your efforts. I object to PBS and AETN rebroadcasting any LGBTQ activist programming using public funds. Not the right time or the right place. This is my stance on the issue and I know the majority of Arkansas citizens stand with me."

  • Folks are big mad about 'Sesame Street' making the decision to allow Billy Porter to rock a dress on its children's show.

    Instagram comments

    Needless to say, the reaction to Sesame Street's Billy Porter Instagram post was not a hit with everyone. A number of people blasted the children's show for exposing their children to such imagery. They don't feel it's appropriate for young kids to see a man in a dress and want their innocence protected at all costs.

  • Welp, Billy Porter has seen the backlash and made time to respond.

    "If you don't like it, don't watch it," Porter told Page Six about his Sesame Street backlash. "Like, what about me singing with a penguin [on the show] has anything to do with what I'm doing in my bedroom?" he continued about his critics who automatically default to him and "perverted demon sex."

    "The really interesting thing for me is that that's what it's all about when it comes to LGBTQ people -- the first thing everyone wants to talk about is how we having sex. Stay out of my bedroom and you will be fine-- that is none of your business."

  • Basically, 'Sesame Street' isn't mad, and Billy Porter isn't mad, so should others be upset?

    At the end of the day, that is up to you.

    Sesame Street has been tackling a lot of topics that affect a number of families. From providing representation in Julia, a character with autism, to a character with a parent dealing with opiod addiction -- or having a mom or dad incarcerated -- the show continues to evolve and push the envelope. Sesame Street has even featured kids from families with same-sex parents in the past, so is seeing Billy in a gown really that head-turning?

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