8 Reasons Why The FX Show "Pose" Deserves More Attention

The FX Show
Image Source: The Montclarion

When the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ community are presented in film and tv, they’re either supporting or minor characters that get killed off, stereotyped, or simply underdeveloped. But Pose has a special place in LGBTQ+ history since the story is about ballroom culture in the trans community during the 80s in New York with a specific focus on Black and Latina women.

So throughout the seasons, we get to witness them trying to live their best lives, despite their hardships with the AIDS epidemic and discrimination. The show is then about trans history and their struggles during this time period, but it’s also about the hope and love that make them strong and resilient. Though, other reasons make this show great.

Here are eight reasons why Pose needs more attention:

1. The Actors, Directors, Writers Are Part Of The BIPOC And LGBTQ+ Community. 

Having a show that’s LGBTQ+ with actors not a part of the community is queer baiting and exploits the LGBTQ+ community. The show may be about them, but refusing to give the roles to LGBTQ+ actors, reveals that they’re not an ally since representation equals validation and acceptance.

The same is said if the actor is white. It may sound ridiculous, but there are limited opportunities due to discrimination based on race, sex, and gender, making queer people of color having these roles the most important layer of representation. With that said, the validation from representation shows these communities that they’re accepted and heard. 

So even though a show has characters a part of the community, it’s exploitive if the actor isn’t queer, making the show meaningless.  But Pose’s cast is part of the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ community.

In fact, Pose has the largest BIPOC LGBTQ+ cast, and among them, trans activist and author Janet Mock worked on the show as a staff writer and director, making her the first trans woman of color to write and direct a tv show. Pose also has the most transgender actors in tv history, who are all women of color, which is important given that Pose showcases transgender history and culture.

The Actors, Directors, Writers Are Part Of The BIPOC And LGBTQ+ Community
Image Source: BuzzFeed

2. There’s An Emotional Context On The AIDS Epidemic.

When I learned about the AIDS epidemic, I learned about its damaging effect on people’s lives, specifically queer lives. It came with loss and discrimination. However, it was a travesty that I couldn’t fully understand when people are treated as numbers in textbooks.

And I’m sure I’m not alone with this, but Pose places the epidemic in an emotional context that allows audiences to grasp the emotions people experienced during this time period. 

In fact, the series shows an AIDS ward where nurses are afraid of giving the patients food, revealing the real fear people have of AIDS and the discrimination queer people face with its association. But despite it, the show centers on the characters’ hope.

The show begins with Blanca and Pray to find out they’re HIV-positive, but they go on living life to its fullest while portraying their fears and struggles, making them well-rounded people. To add on, the conversation of AIDS opened the conversation of safe gay sex, which is rarely talked about openly in the media.

3. Pose Addresses The Discrimination In The LGBTQ+ Community. 

People like to think the LGBTQ+ community is accepting, supportive, and loving. But not everyone is. Like any community, there’s phobia and exclusivism, so there are people in the community attacking or hating other members.

For example, some queer people think of bisexuality and nonbinary identities as a phase or fake. In other words, the phobic and discriminatory thoughts that can be found in phobic heterosexuals can be found in anyone in the queer community, and Pose displays this. 

When Blanca and Lulu visit a gay bar, they get kicked out for being trans women since they specifically cater to white gay men. This may sound shocking, but this kind of discrimination did exist in the queer community. Today the discrimination between each other is not as intense, but it still exists in the community, which Pose addresses with its history. 

To add on, the show also presents discrimination from society by revealing class disparities between the white majority and minorities. In one of the scenes, we see these trans women buying cheap hormone injections, stealing money or outfits, and selling their bodies for sex, revealing wage inequality from discrimination. Because of this, Blanca says, “When you’re transsexual, you take the work where you can get it.”

Pose Addresses The Discrimination In The LGBTQ+ Community
Image Source: Autostraddle

4. Pose Portrays That Our Chosen Family Is Our Real Family.

When people have issues with their family, people like using their biological connection to tolerate abuse. But the family doesn’t abuse each other; that’s not love, and neither is rejecting or abandoning their children.

Pose then takes the time to show queer individuals love and what it means to have a family through its motherly figure Blanca with her nurturing personality. When Damon is taken in after being disowned by his Christan family for being gay, Blanca supports his talents and dreams of being a dancer.

But there’s also support from other house members acting like brothers and sisters to Demon and each other. With that said, Pose shows your chosen family is your real family. 

5. Pose Portrays The Healing Powers Of Art.

In art, there’s a reflection of who we are. Traces of trauma from the artist can be found in their stories, poetry, and art. Because of this, all forms of art are an avenue of healing and self-discovery. Dancing is art, which Pose captures by demonstrating the characters’ passion for ballroom dancing.

As they dance throughout the seasons, there’s an air of celebratory freedom. And because the show takes place during the ’80s, freedom was never felt to its fullest, despite being out, but freedom is sensed when they dance, showing how art has healing powers from outside forces. 

Pose Portrays The Healing Powers Of Art
Image Source: Giphy

6. The Characters Are Well-rounded.

Pose has a lot of characters, but when the spotlight is on them, Pose uses their time wisely and makes them dynamic.

At the beginning of Pose, we see Elektra as an antagonist since her parental approach was a toxic love by being merciless, but over time she learns what motherhood actually means and develops towards being a more nurturing character.

At the same time, we see her struggle with her wants and needs as a transgender woman in her dating life, which highlights her complexity, making the audience understand her and feel sympathy. 

7. Pose’s Actors Are Talented. 

The fact that transgender actors play transgender characters is amazing enough, but they’re also talented, which is a bonus since they bring the characters to life. In fact, it took six months to find their talented cast, which shows their dedication to authentically tell Pose’s story by patiently waiting for the right actors.

Blanca is played by MJ Rodriguez, who started her acting career in theatre by playing the broadway character Angel in RENT, whose performance led her to win a Clive Barnes Award. She then made her way into film and tv, where her work led her to win the 2019 Imagen award for Best Actress. And in the same year, she was nominated for two Gold Derby Awards for Drama Lead Actress and Breakthrough Performance of the year for her work in Pose. 

The rest of the crew may not be as well known, but they have a reputable acting career. Indya Moore, who plays Angel Evangelista on Pose, has been in movies such as Netflix’s A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting, Universal Picture’s Queen & Slim, and Sony’s Escape Room 2, which will be released in early 2022. And Halie Sahar, who plays Lulu Ferocity, has starred in the Broadway production Charm, Amazon’s Transparent, and the musical Leave It On The Floor.

Pose’s Actors Are Talented
Image Source: Giphy

8. The Cultural Music And Costumes Are Spectacular.

Since the show takes place in the 80s, the songs that are played are 80s’ icon bop songs that make you want to dance, such as Whitney’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross.

I danced along to practically every song since bop beats are hard for me to ignore! The costumes are also 80s themed, but their ballroom outfits stand out the most since they all dress up in royal gowns, which change in style with each competition between houses.

This fantasy look, plus the music, and the dancing, make the watching experience immersive, making these moments of escapism and freedom parallel to the characters’ feelings after facing the world’s harsh realities. 

In other words, Pose creates an immersive experience from their music, costumes, dancing, acting, and characterization, which will all give you chills from watching their beautiful trans stories since they’re heartbreaking, hopeful, and inspiring. So if you haven’t watched the show yet, I highly suggest you do. I promise you won’t regret it! 

Hi! Hello! My pronouns are she/her, and I'm a storyteller who loves tea and cats.

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