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Billy Porter ‘Finally’ Comes Clean About HIV-Positive Diagnosis

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You guys obviously don’t need an introduction to the very known and versatile actor. He also became an important part of the American Horror Story universe, when he played the charismatic and sophisticated Warlock Behold. Yes, guys, we are talking about Billy Porter. The actor has recently opened up about his life and work.   

Billy Porter has spoken out about his HIV diagnosis, saying he kept it a secret for over 14 years out of shame and fear of retaliation and marginalization in the entertainment industry. In a world that still marginalizes and isolates HIV-positive people, coming out with such a devastating piece of news, must have taken a lot of courage. Porter shared his feelings when he won an Emmy Award for his performance as a lead actor in Pose.

“The truth is the healing. And I hope this frees me. I hope this frees me so that I can experience real, unadulterated joy so that I can experience peace so that I can experience intimacy so that I can have s*x without shame. This is for me”.

Billy Porter Talks About Sharing The HIV-Positive Diagnosis Which He Kept Secret For 14 Years

The 51-year-old Porter, who earned an Emmy for his role as an HIV-positive man in the FX series Pray Tell, said the pandemic’s isolation caused him to think about his secret, which he kept hidden from his mother for almost 14 years. And also those connected with his ballroom drama set in New York during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

The most difficult  part was telling his mother about it. The stage and screen performer, who grew up in a Pentecostal church and in a deeply religious family, said the stigma of being queer was heightened by his HIV condition.

According to Porter, his mother was shocked and saddened to find that he had been carrying around the news for 14 years. She told him, “Don’t ever do this again. I am your mother and I love you, no matter what.”

At that time, he didn’t understand that he could come out to his mother or the world. Because he was not living in a safe space at that time. And he was firmly against the idea because he assumed it wasn’t a safe space for people like him. 

When he was asked about his current health conditions, he shared:

This is the healthiest I’ve ever been.”

He was diagnosed in 2007, terming the year as the worst of his life. In addition to the HIV diagnosis, the actor was also diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes that very same year. The health scares weren’t even the tip of the iceberg as he later filed for bankruptcy as well.

The Upcoming Projects Of Billy Porter

Porter’s show “Pose” is in its third season, which is the last round. He’s currently working on a memoir and a Netflix documentary about his life. Fans can watch him dazzle the screen (on Amazon Prime) as a genderless Fairy Godmother in a new version of Cinderella. Cannon, director/writer of the musical fantasy film shared while talking about Billy’s genderless character in the movie “Billy articulated the idea [that] magic has no gender”.

Well, we totally agree with Cannon. And can’t wait to watch Billy as a Fairy Godmother in the fantasy / musical version of Cinderella airing on Amazon this September.

Related: Jonathan Van Ness Talks HIV and His Cosmopolitan Feature

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