Every competition in the series “Pose”, the magnificent, energetic 1980's drama on FX, starts with a ritual phrase from Pray Tell (Billy Porter), the M.C: "The category is..."
This category, possessing a theme to which teams strut, dress and, indeed, pose, may be royalty, or the military or "Dynasty." Dually, the categories are a a competitive challenge and a means of seizing social spaces from which cat-walking combatants, black and Hispanic, gay and transgender, had faced exclusion.
Starting on Sunday, “Pose,” itself is a space-claiming project. In the present, viewers may notice the “category is” phrase from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” or possess an awareness of the slang, if not it's origin. Though "Pose" places its subculture, characters and history at centre stage. It holds itself, valiant and proud, asking for recognition.
Ryan Murphy, co-creator, with Steven Canals and Brad Falchuck, in his former FX series prior to founding the Netflix empire, had been diligent with recruiting creatives and transgender actors, such as the author, Janet Mock and Our Lady J ("Transparent") as writers and producers.
"Pose" makes it's intentions clear, with poise. Although, indeed, it is a tale of hardship — the crisis with AIDS persistently casts a shadow — though it places it's characters' hopes and dreams at the centre.