Billy Porter says he was diagnosed with HIV in 2007.
For 14 years Porter says the shame “silenced” him.
He says his role as a HIV positive character in Pose helped him. Calling his character a “surrogate”, Porter says he was able to express himself and work through his feelings over the condition.
“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 2007]. 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.”
Porter believes the “stigma” around HIV is mostly over and says treatment means he’ll “die from something else”.
“I hope this frees me,” He admits. “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. I’m doing this for me.”
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