For the first time since his diagnosis over a decade ago, the ‘Pose’ star discusses the shame that drove him to keep his condition a secret from his castmates, collaborators, and even his mother, and the responsibility that now has him speaking out: “The truth is the healing.”
He’s come to Little Owl in the West Village to talk about something that’s been bothering him for so long, he can hardly remember a time when it wasn’t a secret.
The performer in him won’t let on, but he’s a nervous wreck as he continues: “In June of that year, I was diagnosed HIV-positive.”
Fearing isolation and retaliation from an industry that hasn’t always been kind to him, the Emmy-winning star of Pose has told almost no one in the 14 years since.
The 51-year-old actor, who has built a devoted following over the past few years thanks to his skill and candor, claims that he has been hiding his true identity by having his HIV-positive character, Pray Tell, represent him in public.
He says, “I was able to say everything that I wanted to say through a surrogate,” adding that no one in the show’s production knew he was using his own experiences.
Now, as the third and final season of the Peabody Award-winning series comes to a close, Porter is thinking about what comes next.
There’s a memoir he’s agonized over and missed deadlines for coming out later this year; a Netflix documentary about his life that will keep him in business with Pose co-creator
Ryan Murphy; a retelling of Cinderella in 2021 in which he’ll play the fairy godmother; a directing debut; a host of new music; and much more.
However, the actor with Broadway training and only one Oscar away from an EGOT does not wish to move forward in his life and career carrying the stigma that has followed him for over a decade.
As a result, Porter tells his story with Murphy by his side for encouragement and a swarm of documentary cameras hovering above. Here is the revised version.
If there was a generation that was supposed to know better, it was mine, and yet here we are. The year was 2007, the darkest year of my life. For a decade or so, I was on the verge of obscurity, but 2007 was the worst.
As of the beginning of February, I had learned that I had Type 2 diabetes. In March of this year, I filed for bankruptcy. A positive HIV test came back in June, and I was officially labeled HIV-positive.
The shame of that moment, added to the shame I had [already] [accumulated], rendered me speechless, and I have carried the weight of that shame in silence for the past 14 years. Growing up in the Pentecostal church with a devoutly religious family, I was taught that being HIV positive was a divine punishment.
Who Is Billy Porter?
Billy Porter, 51 years old, is a Tony Award-winning American actor.
The Broadway star was born in Pennsylvania, where he or she showed early promise in the performing arts.
When he was done with his undergraduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Fine Arts in Drama, he enrolled in UCLA’s Professional Program in Screenwriting and received his certification there.
Billy’s first Broadway appearance was in the 1994 production of Grease. and has gone on to star in numerous plays, including Smokey Joe’s Cafe, over the years.
Outside of his extensive stage career, in which he won Best Musical Theatre Album for Kinky Boots at the 2014 Grammys, he has also appeared in television shows like Law & Order, Pose, and American Horror Story.
In 2013, he won the Tony for his portrayal of Lola in Kinky Boots, and in 2018, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in the television series Pose.
Billy is a multi-talented artist who has released four albums of original music as a singer-songwriter.
Regarding HIV, What Did Billy Porter Has To Say?
He reportedly hid his diagnosis from the public in 2007 “out of fear of retaliation,” as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
“For a long time, everybody who needed to know knew — except for my mother,” the actor said to the magazine.
I was trying to make a go of my career, but I worried that if the wrong people found out, it would be game over. I’m already working in a field where discrimination exists, and this would just add fuel to the fire.
Because of this, I avoided contemplating the situation as much as possible. I tuned it out as best I could.
While in quarantine, I’ve learned a lot, she continued. Everyone had to take a seat and be quiet.
Billy, on the other hand, claims that thanks to medication, he is “the healthiest he’s been in his entire life.”
According to him, he was able to “transcend it,” and he hopes that the disease’s associated stigma will soon fade away.
What Did Piers Morgan Has To Say About Billy Oscar’s Getup?
Billy may have topped Best Dressed lists everywhere, but not 53-year-old Piers Morgan, who voiced his displeasure with the piece on Twitter.
The host of Good Morning Britain tweeted a picture of Billy with the caption, “Am I allowed to say this looks absolutely ridiculous?”
Piers retorted to a supporter who said, “Billy Porter can (and does) wear whatever he damn well pleases.”, “Of course, just as I can (and do) say what I damn well please.”
Someone else’s tweet to Piers read, “Of course. Like the rest of the world, you have the right to your own sense of style.
Moreover, I think most people will agree that #BillyPorter looks absolutely fantastic. Slay. #Oscars”.
The controversial TV host retweeted the message with the comment, “I wouldn’t bet your house on it…” and two laughing-tear emojis.
FAQs – People Also Ask
What is Billy Porter known for?
A red carpet superstar and actor/writer, Billy Porter is multitalented. He has appeared in American Horror Story and Law & Order, but he is best known for his Emmy-winning performance as Pray Tell on FX’s Pose. His performance in Kinky Boots earned him a Tony Award, so he’s also a well-respected stage actor.
Was Billy Porter the masked singer?
Billy Porter and Nicole Scherzinger dated for a while. Osmond named Andre Drummond as the source. After Eric Idle’s Hedgehog and William Shatner’s Knight left in Season 7, the next celebrities to leave “The Masked Singer” was Montell Jordan as Panther, Jeff Dunham as Pi-Rat, and Chris Kirkpatrick as Hummingbird.
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