billy porter
Credit: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

Pose’s Billy Porter is making history at the 2019 Emmy Awards. Porter, 49-years-old, received an Emmy nomination in the outstanding lead actor in a drama series category for his starring role as ball emcee Pray Telland he is the first openly gay black man to receive the honor.

Now in its second season, Ryan Murphy’s Pose—which also received a nod for outstanding drama series—tells the story of the predominately LGBTQ ballroom community in New York City in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, focusing on their fights for equality, against HIV/AIDS, and for the night’s fiercest looks.

Credit: Macall Polay, FX

Despite working for three decades in show business, Porter feels his first Emmy acknowledgment came at the perfect moment. “Everything happens when it’s supposed to happen,” the Pittsburgh native says. “We’re always right where we’re supposed to be, and I would never have been ready before now.”

The Tony and Grammy winner says his “gayness” used to handicap him in his industry.

Credit: Jim Spellman, Getty Images

Pray Tell learned about his HIV positive diagnosis in Season 1, and Porter has seen people fight the disease since he came to N.Y.C. in the ‘80s. But the Broadway star believes there’s a reason why he lived through the epidemic.

Pose airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX. The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will air September 22nd at 8 p.m. ET at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.