The 53-year-old actor opened up about his disappointment in a Friday, August 11, interview with The Telegraph, accusing Vogue of not recognizing the LGBTQ+ community’s impact on the fashion industry when the magazine put Styles, a “straight man,” on the cover in a dress.
(Styles, 29, has refrained from labeling his sexuality publicly, telling Rolling Stone in August 2022, “There’s always going to be a version of a narrative, and I think I just decided I wasn’t going to spend time trying to correct it.”)
Porter argued, “It’s not Harry Styles’ fault that he happens to be white and cute and straight and fit into the infrastructure that way … I call out the gatekeepers.”
“It doesn’t feel good to me,” Porter shared. “You’re using my community — or your people are using my community — to elevate you. You haven’t had to sacrifice anything.”
Porter explained that he was especially hurt considering he participated in an inclusivity Q&A with Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour six months prior to Styles’ cover debut.
“That bitch said to me at the end, ‘How can we do better?’” Porter told The Telegraph. “And I was so taken off guard that I didn’t say what I should have said.” Porter wishes he would have encouraged Wintour, 73, to “uplift the voices of the leaders of this de-gendering of the fashion movement.”
Porter first addressed Styles’ cover in a October 2021 interview with The Sunday Times, sharing, “I created the conversation [about nonbinary fashion] and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time.” (Porter has been known to wear gowns and heels on the red carpet.)
“I was the first one doing it and now everybody is doing it,” Porter added. “I’m not dragging Harry Styles, but he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation? He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do.”
He added, “This is politics for me. This is my life. I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned now. All he has to do is be white and straight.”
Porter later apologized for having Styles “name in my mouth” during a November 2021 appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and said, “It’s not about you. The conversation is not about you.”
Styles has yet to address Porter’s comments.