'POSE' cast members on the show's critical role in elevating the LGBTQ+ community

The history-making FX series delves into New York's underground ballroom scene in the 80s and 90, highlighting issues in the community such as homelessness, violence and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
6:51 | 06/12/19

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Transcript for 'POSE' cast members on the show's critical role in elevating the LGBTQ+ community
Everything is about to change. Reporter: And the category is historic. Boundary pushing. I can't even trust you! Reporter: Iconic television. It is your dream. Reporter: FX's critically acclaimed series "Pose." I sat down with the team in front of a live studio audience, part of ABC's pride speaker series. "Pose" made history with the largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles. The series onscreen at times influenced by lived experiences. Coming here from the caribbean and realizing that I didn't have a safe space in the place that I called home was very difficult. But coming here and being a part of ballroom and being a part of all of this has helped me to realize that we have to work hard in the things that we want. I dropped out of school because bullying was really heavy, and I just couldn't focus on my work, because I just, you know, I wouldn't be able to use the restroom without a security guard following me in the bathroom. But, you know, bullying, a lot of my life has shaped who I am, and it's made me a much stronger person, and survival has made me brave. Reporter: "Pose", once again delving into the nuance and ignored room of the ballroom scene in the '80s and '90s. Turn. Kick. Reporter: Fusing glamour and heartbreak and taking on darkish us in the lgbt Q plus community, from homelessness to violence to HIV. It's moments like these that make your life flash right before you. Crazy thing is, it's not my life I'm seeing right now. It's basically about community. It's about finding a place for people who don't feel like they have a place outside of their homes that they've been kicked out of. I guess it's something that a lot of kids search for in the lgbt community when they're ostracized a lot. The category is, royalty. Reporter: A passion project for co-creator Steven canals, who teamed up with the force behind shows like "Gee". The assassination of Gianni Versace and American horror storer story. What made you be unafraid to tell these stories? In truth I didn't now if the audience would be ready for it. I think that's a large part of why it took so long to get this project off the ground, why did required someone who is a true disrupter like Ryan Murphy to say this story deserves to be told. How does it feel to be directed by Janet? Oh, my god. Reporter: The first transwoman of color to write, direct and produce for a television series. While the series explores America's past, some argue the themes are especially present in this moment. Trans rights seeming to be rolled back by the trump administration, rates of suicide and violence in the community still disproportionately high. Trans-gender woman who was beaten. The body of Shanell Lindsey was pulled from white rock lake. Reporter: The murders of two trans women a reminder. A lot of stuff that happened in 1987 is happening today in 2019. There are a lot of individuals who are at the helm of death and violence. I think shows like "Pose" releases and leverages us, gives us hope and a lens into our lives as human beings. We bleed, we hurt. That's my daughter. At present, the average life expectancy for a trans woman of color is 35 years old. So a show like "Pose" becomes critically important in showing that the trans community deserves love and deserves respect. We have to work together to keep them safe. Reporter: Offscreen the series and its stars helping their community be seen in the mainstream. India Moore, elle's first-ever trans cover star. Billy porter turning heads at the oscars. The cast wowing at this year's met gala. Here are you white hot spotlight, and yet there has been a lot of cultural appropriation over the years. You look at Madonna's "Vogue" let your body move to the music Let's be really clear about something. When you are part of a community fighting to survive and finding your own love within self and creating your own space and someone like Madonna comes along and says, let me put you out there, that is acknowledgement. Appropriation is when you come into our community and you take from us. Reporter: Hmm. And you don't acknowledge us. But when you uplift in that way. It's about uplift empowering. Reporter: And with June's pride month in full swing we couldn't let them leave without one more question. What does pride mean to you, each of you. Let's start, Steven, with you. I think for me, pride is about walking unapology etically in your truth. When I think of pride I think about systemic preregular. It's loving yourself when the world says you're not allowed to exist. Those of us who have the privilege of being able to be visible have to fight for those that do not have that same privilege. Pride is us, the pillars or the totem poles that the younger generation can either rest upon and look up to and see the history that has been fought for so long, and if they ever so tire they can look up and see how strong that pillar is, for them to keep going. Reporter: Brilliant,

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