In tell-all interview, Billy Porter reveals he's had HIV since 14 years

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: May 20, 2021, 08:48 AM(IST)

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In his revelation, Billy Porter mentioned that 2007 was the year he was diagnosed with HIV and it was the worst year of his life.

It’s not something that one can hide being in public life but Billy Porter will have nothing more of this secret. After dealing with HIV for more than a decade, Billy Porter broke his silence on the illness to The Hollywood Reporter in an interview. 

Keeping quiet for 14 years out of shame and fear of retaliation and marginalisation in the entertainment industry, Billy announced, “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 sex without shame. This is for me.”

But what led him to make the revelation? It was the pandemic that infused confidence in telling the world. He won an Emmy for his HIV-positive character Pray Tell on the FX series as he said the isolation of the pandemic led him to reflect on his secret, kept from his mother and those involved with his ballroom drama set in New York at the height of the AIDS crisis in the ’80s.

Having been born in intensely religious family, Billy Porter revealed that it was very difficult to open up. He narrated, “She said, ‘You’ve been carrying this around for 14 years? Don’t ever do this again. I’m your mother, I love you no matter what. And I know I didn’t understand how to do that early on, but it’s been decades now’.”

Billy Porter added that he’s “healthiest I’ve ever been.”

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In his revelation, he mentioned that 2007 was the year he was diagnosed and it was the worst year of his life. In addition to his HIV status, he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes that year, and he signed bankruptcy papers. “I survived so that I could tell the story. That’s what I’m here for. I’m the vessel, and emotionally that was sufficient — until it wasn’t. Until I got married (in 2017). Now I’m trying to have a family; now it’s not just me. It’s time to grow up and move on because shame is destructive — and if not dealt with, it can destroy everything in its path.”

Billy Porter is currently busy writing a memoir. He is also working on a Netflix documentary about his life and will play a genderless Fairy Godmother this year in a new film take on Cinderella, scheduled for release in September on Amazon Prime.

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