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We are bidding farewell to an era this May 2nd to Ryan Murphy’s latest show Pose. They just announced their third and final season and it feels so bittersweet. This show has had a lot of impact on the LGBT+ community and has continued to give them voices for issues that are still prevalent today, such as the AIDS pandemic, ball culture and how transgender lives are still receiving neglect. It only feels right to say goodbye to Pose by paying homage and taking a look back on their best moments and the impact this show has had on its viewers.

Trans Lives Are Represented 

From producers such as Janet Mock and Our Lady J, Pose has stayed true to their representation and stories they’ve collected, as these stories are real and come from personal experiences from the producers themselves. Transgender characters, actors and producers are what make this story more authentic. These actors portray beautiful characters and are played by Dominique Jackson, MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Hailie Sahar and Angelica Ross. As the show is primarily set in the 80s, their characters have their fair share of being scared of getting diagnosed with AIDS and being accepted into society for their career choices.

Indya Moore’s character, Angel, is especially determined and confident to finally audition for a few modeling gigs by Ford Agency after being an escort for years. Though she does run into a few incidents at the beginning of her modeling career, she eventually stands her ground and lets Mrs. Ford, from Ford Agency, know her priorities. She eventually models for “Wet n Wild” and a while after being with her boyfriend, Papi, he wants to be Angel’s manager and they get to partner with Mrs. Ford to make it happen. Eventually, she’s able to be transparent and let the modeling industry know exactly who they’re hiring: a beautiful transgender woman.

A Time When Faith Was Challenged

The AIDS epidemic dawned on the LGBT+ community in the 80s, and Pose made sure to highlight the major events and personal experiences of each character that has HIV/AIDS. In the second season, they centered around these issues and touched on the ACT UP group. The show captured this group’s movement at its beginning and showed how the major characters supported this group by protesting at the 1989 demonstration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. 

They specifically targeted this church because the cardinal at the time expressed his opinions on how he opposed condoms, homosexuality and abortion. He believes that condoms wouldn’t decrease the spread of AIDS and opposed the public schools in NYC to teach about safe sex, as abstinence is the only way. These oppositions are exactly what led to ACT UP organizing their “Stop the Church” protest.

Legendary Icons

I believe it’s only right that we also recognize some fan-favorite characters: Elektra and Pray Tell. Both of these characters are older than the rest of the characters and have had plenty of experience mentoring and being pillars for their chosen families. Elektra’s presence is exactly what it sounds like..electric and you can’t take your eyes off of her. She eventually opens up after season one and the audience is finally able to see a more vulnerable side to her. She’s finally at that point where she wants a sex change operation but needs other means of financial support. She begins collecting money by any means possible and gets the change that she wants, but she loses her family and boyfriend and is homeless until Blanca, her daughter when she was still the Mother of House of Abundance, takes her into a new house. She’s humbled while in her financial instability and she eventually finds the line of work that she fits her the most - being a dominatrix. 

Pray Tell, another older member of the ballroom community, is the emcee at the ballroom and knows everyone well. He’s especially close to Blanca and knows Elektra well. His personality shows through as a lively and sound mind, always ready to help Blanca out when she needs it. They eventually become better friends and when Pray Tell confides in Blanca about how he has witnessed the toll of the AIDS pandemic on their community. He soon finds out he is also HIV-positive and stays at the hospital for a while to recover from his symptoms. After reminiscing about his former boyfriend, Costas, who died of AIDS, he is met with Blanca who organized a cabaret for him and performs a few songs in honor of Pray Tell. He previously had organized the first cabaret for Costas when he was hospitalized. This second cabaret shows how close the two are and how fiercely loyal they are to each other. 

Representation of Chosen Families

Relationships like Blanca and Pray Tell, Angel and Papi, and many more show us how having a chosen family is just as important as a family you’re born into. Though you don’t have the same blood, they have shared experiences, empathy and more love for each other than their birth families ever had for them. These stories are especially important to hear as more trans lives are endangered and LGBT+ lives are degraded every day. We need more shows, movies and books like Pose for this community to show how cis-gendered folks should stand with the LGBT+ community.

Don’t forget to catch the world premiere of the third and final season of Pose on May 2nd at 10 PM ET on FX!

Harmeen is a student at Montclair State University, New Jersey and is majoring in Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing. Of course, besides being a Marketing student, she's interested in fashion and lifestyle, and motivated to write unique pieces for her interests.
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