Watch CBS News

At Panel Discussion On LGBTQ+ Rights At CMU, Billy Porter Talks With Activist Who Voiced Concerns About Event

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- What was supposed to be a celebration of the LGBTQI+ community and a discussion about the community's fight for equality turned into a shouting match between activists and invited guests.

Tuesday's event, which included actor and Pittsburgh native Billy Porter, was stormed by activists from SisTers PGH. The activists argued there wasn't enough representation on the panel or in the crowd.

The podium inside a Carnegie Mellon University auditorium was taken over by an activist who criticized U.S. Senator Bob Casey, who organized the discussion. The activist claimed Sen. Casey neglected to include more representation from the LGBTQI+ community in the discussion.

Billy Porter
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"Where is the young Black trans kids in this room? Where are the Black trans boys and girls in this room?" the activist said.

Porter quickly jumped out of his seat to help mitigate the situation.

"How do we fix it? How do we change it? We're at a space where we have to understand how to change it. You have to help us," Porter said to the activist.

The two eventually reached common ground, with the discussion ending in hugs, tears and understanding.

"I'm proud of you for coming here and standing up the way you have," Porter said. "And the lines of communication have to present, respectful and clear. ... What we got from you is clear. There can't be no more conversations about trans nothing in Pittsburgh without the Black trans community being represented. Period."

Senator Casey later said he takes full responsibility for not being more inclusive with the panel, which continued on to recognize members of the trans community who have been killed this past year.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.