Melissa McCarthy got the cover of April’s InStyle, but don’t sleep on the Billy Porter feature and spread inside of it, which also includes a lot of great photos. This one is so dramatic — it’s like Sexy Marilla Cuthbert riding a ferry from PEI to The Great Beyond, freeing the nipple the way she always longed to in life. I really hope that’s how the photographer pitched it.

The piece expands on Billy’s journey from theatre idol to fashion icon:

On his statement-making tuxedo gown from the 2019 Oscars: “As funny as it may sound, I’m a businessman, and wearing that [Oscars] dress was a business decision, in a sense. People were like, ‘Oh, he’s just trying to get attention.’ Well, yeah, I’m in show business! It’s part of my job. Otherwise, I don’t eat.”

On the long-overdue conversation about genderless fashion: “I used to get frustrated that women could wear whatever they wanted and men had to show up in the same penguin suit. The reason why women wearing pants is consid­ered OK by society’s standards is because it comes from the patriarchy. The patriarchy is male, so suits are strong, and anything feminine is weak. I was sick of that discussion, and I knew my platform allowed me to challenge it.” “I had been running from my feminine side for years because I

was told that my queer­ness would be a liability in this business. And it was for decades—until it wasn’t.”

He also talks about something I somehow missed when it happened — maybe I lost it in the pandemic panic? — which is, he appeared on Sesame Street in his Siriano gown and an Arkansas state senator started an uproar that sparked a movement claiming that the show was trying to “sexualize children using drag queens”:

“It was based on this idea that I’m coming to get their children because of the way I dress,” says Porter, shaking his head. “What is that? I’m over here minding my own business. So why is it triggering you? At that moment, I was grateful that I am a man of a certain age, because when you become a certain age, zero f—s are given. I don’t now, nor will I ever, adjudicate my life or my humanity in [other people’s] sound bites or responses on social media. Simultaneously, it still hurts to have people come after me for nothing.”

If you think, “Well, you’ve shared the whole article,” I have not — you should definitely read the whole thing, because he has so much more to say, including a lot about the continued evolution of his look and his style. I feel like any writer who gets the assignment to profile Billy Porter must be so DELIGHTED because you know you’re going to get a lot of fantastic stories and thoughtful quotes that transcend being merely sound bites.

[Photo by Robbie Fimmano; the April issue of InStyle is available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download March 19]