Billy Porter is gracing the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter and in his cover story, the “Pose” star reveals he’s been living with HIV for 14 years.
While debuting the cover on his Instagram page, Billy wrote:
I want to begin by thanking you for all of the love and support you have shown me over the years. I have something very important that I am sharing with you all today. It is deeply personal and it is time. There’s a link in my bio to a story that The @hollywoodreporter posted this morning. There’s also a swipe-up link in my IG story above. Please go and read it. #TheTruthIsTheHealing
See his original post below.
Inside the cover story, Billy Porter reveals 2007 was the worst year of his life:
It was 2007, the worst year of my life. I was on the precipice of obscurity for about a decade or so, but 2007 was the worst of it. By February, I had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. By March, I signed bankruptcy papers. And by June, I was diagnosed HIV-positive. The shame of that time compounded with the shame that had already [accumulated] in my life silenced me, and I have lived with that shame in silence for 14 years. HIV-positive, where I come from, growing up in the Pentecostal church with a very religious family, is God’s punishment.
Billy also revealed a small circle of people knew about his diagnosis and his mother was not included in that group.
My mother had been through so much already, so much persecution by her religious community because of my queerness, that I just didn’t want her to have to live through their “I told you so’s.” I didn’t want to put her through that. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I was the statistic that everybody said I would be. So I’d made a pact with myself that I would let her die before I told her. That’s what I was waiting for, if I’m being honest.
When we moved her into the Actors Fund Nursing Home, I was like, ‘She’s not going to be here long, and then I’ll write my book and come out and she won’t have to live with the embarrassment of having an HIV-positive child.’ That was five years ago. She ain’t going anywhere.
On his last day of shooting “Pose,” Billy Porter called his mother to share his diagnosis with her. He also shared his diagnosis with his castmates.
Read the amazing full cover story here.