Billy Porter speaks out about his HIV status for the first time in powerful new essay

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Billy Porter poses in the media room during The BRIT Awards 2021 at The O2 Arena on May 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by JMEnternational/JMEnternational for BRIT Awards/Getty Images)

Billy Porter has already done so much for LGBTQ+ representation in Hollywood and around the world, only recently sharing the first look at his Fairy Godparent role in the new Cinderella and presenting an award at the Brits in all of his queer glory.

His character Pray Tell in Pose is the beating heart of the show and goes through the journey of finding out he is HIV+ at a time when it was stigmatised and almost untreatable. Unbeknownst to his fans, Porter was going though his own journey in his personal life.  

In his essay in the Hollywood Reporter he talks about being diagnosed back in June 2007 and the ‘shame of that time’ he felt. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit and he saw how people the world over were ‘required to sit down and hut the fuck up’ that began to reflect and deal with not just that but  a life of trauma.

Porter says: ‘There has never been a moment that I’ve not been in trauma, which is what I’ve discovered this last year. And it was my engine for a very long time. My trauma served me, my story has served me, in terms of forward motion.’ 

For the full essay head over to the Hollywood Reporter piece here. The final season of Pose is currently showing on FX in the US (check local listings for other countries).