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Billy Porter describes his ‘freeing’ life since revealing HIV diagnosis


Billy also received ‘wonderful feedback’ for the piece he wrote that shared his diagnosis (Picture: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Pose star Billy Porter has revealed how ‘freeing’ it has felt to share his HIV diagnosis publicly as he said that he was no longer ‘shamed’ or ‘silenced’.

The 51-year-old, who was an honouree at The Elizabeth Taylor Ball to End Aids event in West Hollywood on Friday, announced his diagnosis in May, having kept it secret for 14 years.

He told People magazine at the event that life has been ‘freeing’ since sharing it.

As he stated that there was ‘a shame component’ with him being a Black, queer, HIV positive man, he continued: ‘I am no more silenced, I am no more shamed, and I’m ready for whatever comes next.’

As the Cinderella star said he had received ‘wonderful feedback’ after his essay in The Hollywood Reporter, he added: ‘I think it’s important that those of us who have a platform use our platforms in ways that move difficult conversations forward, and that can be transformative in some way and make a change, make a difference.’

The Emmy nominee was recognised at the event, where the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End Aids award was awarded to Dr Anthony Fauci, amFAR, and US National AIDS Policy director Sandra Thurman.

Billy striking a fierce pose at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards (Picture: Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Golden Age Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor set up The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation in 1991 and had an impressive humanitarian legacy alongside her film career.

Her close friend and Giant co-star Rock Hudson died of AIDS in 1985 at the age of 59 and was one of the first major stars to succumb to the disease.

Billy’s piece for The Hollywood Reporter saw the Broadway actor label 2007 as ‘the worst year of my life’ as his career struggled, he declared bankruptcy and was diagnosed first with Type 2 diabetes in March and then as HIV positive in June.

Elizabeth Taylor was a strong ally to the gay community (Picture: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Although he shared his status with ‘everybody who needed to know’, he kept it mostly private, fearing further discrimination, and didn’t reveal his diagnosis to his mother.

‘It would just be another way for people to discriminate against me in an already discriminatory profession,’ he wrote. ‘So I tried to think about it as little as I could. I tried to block it out.’

However, the pandemic forced him to rethink his decision as he carefully quarantined on Long Island with his husband, and he finally told his mother before penning his public article.

‘Quarantine has taught me a lot. Everybody was required to sit down and shut the f**k up.’

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