Billy Porter: I’m not ashamed anymore and am ready for whatever comes next

CB already covered how amazing Billy Porter looked at the Emmy’s on Sunday night. I thought when he posed with his arms behind him, he looked a little like the Emmy statue itself. Billy was at the awards as a nominee for his role as Pray Tell on Pose, which was also nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. Last May, Billy released a very personal essay to The Hollywood Reporter in which he revealed he had been diagnosed as HIV positive 14 years ago. Billy said letting the world know has been “freeing” for him. And now that the show is ended, he’s ready for whatever comes next.

Billy Porter is still feeling good after going public with his HIV diagnosis in May.

The 51-year-old Pose actor was an honoree at The Elizabeth Taylor Ball to End AIDS event in West Hollywood Park, Calif., on Friday. He told PEOPLE at the event that life has been “freeing” since opening up about his illness.

“There is a shame component with being Black, with being queer, with having HIV that is silencing and destructive,” Porter explained. “I am no more silenced, I am no more shamed, and I’m ready for whatever comes next.”

The 2021 Emmys nominee said he’s received “wonderful feedback” from many people who were “uplifted” by his story and “felt seen because of it” in the months following his announcement.

“I think it’s important that those of us who have a platform use our platforms in ways that move difficult conversations forward,” he told PEOPLE, “and that can be transformative in some way and make a change, make a difference.”

[From People]

I’m delighted Billy’s reveal led to him being unburdened of shame. I remember when HIV/AIDS was a death sentence and people who were diagnosed became outcasts. I know why Billy was so afraid to speak about it, not to mention how scared he must have been for his own health. The fact that he was willing to take the risk to help others is huge. And it sounds like it he has helped people while achieving peace. He deserves to live his best life.

As the article states, Billy was being honored at the Elizabeth Taylor Ball to End AIDS. Of Ms. Taylor, he said, “She taught us all how to love unconditionally in the middle of one of the darkest times in American history,” and went on to say what an honor it was to be recognized by her organization alongside fellow nominees like Dr. Anthony Fauci. It really was amazing what Elizabeth Taylor accomplished at the time. People were terrified of AIDs when she took on the cause. Taylor gave the victims humanity and grace and as Billy said, unconditional love. She was a marvelous role model, as is Billy.

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Photo credit: Getty Images and via Instagram

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10 Responses to “Billy Porter: I’m not ashamed anymore and am ready for whatever comes next”

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  1. HoofRat says:

    I attended a workshop on helping abuse survivors where the leader said, “Every time you tell your truth, you move the gun a little further from your head.” Dramatic, maybe- but true (metaphorically and, all too frequently, literally). Coming out as a person with HIV is incredibly risky, but people like Billy Porter not only save their own lives, but others’ as well. Bravo, sir.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      +1. What he’s saying about how shame can be both silencing and destructive is so true. HIV, PTSD or other mental health problems, self-harm, abuse, or any other serious problem that there’s a stigma around. It’s important for everyone to be able to get help for and be open about those issues without them being turned into stories of, “We called it.” Or twisted into proof that ‘They’re all inherently nuts’ and should not be treated better. Hopefully the 2020s will be an era of people pushing back against that form of homophobia, misogyny, racism and transphobia.

  2. Riverandtree says:

    Love him and so glad that he is a voice and talent getting mainstream focus now. I’m happy that he feels happier and more free now.

  3. jferber says:

    Yes, yes and yes. Is he writing or did he write a book? Because I’m buying it. A coffee table book would be fab as well. With all the FASHION.

  4. K says:

    I adore him. He was the only one I watched on the carpet and he was giving us EVERYTHING. His grace and strength are stunning. Quite an athlete and a true performer. Love love love!!

  5. Ariel says:

    He is amazing. I enjoy all of his fashion moments.
    But his Christian Siriano tux gown at the Oscars several years ago- best fashion moment in history.

    • goofpuff says:

      I really love the fashion moments that him, LiL Nas X, and others are bringing. Men’s fashion has always been so BORING at these events – its great to see some fearlessness, creativity, and exciting fashion from men.

  6. Valerie says:

    He should be ashamed of canonizing known rapist, Kobe Bryant.

  7. jferber says:

    Wait, Valerie, what do you mean? As far as I’ve read, Billy never spoke a word or honored Bryant in any way.