Trailblazer Billy Porter has conquered television and Broadway, collecting accolades and challenging gender norms along the way. Whether he’s outshing icons on red carpets or butting heads with Emma Roberts, Porter’s reach surpasses quantification. He first dipped into Horror with his role in American Horror Story: Apocalypse, the season that delighted fans with a Murder House and Coven mash-up. 2020 saw the actor appear in Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone reboot. Billy used his recent cover story on The Hollywood Reporter to reveal a personal HIV-positive diagnosis that he had kept hidden for 14 years.
“HIV-positive, where I come from...with a very religious family, is God’s punishment,” the entertainer shared. “I was trying to have a life and a career, and I wasn’t certain I could if the wrong people knew. It would just be another way for people to discriminate against me in an already discriminatory profession.” Billy claims his diagnosis, along with past struggles, helped fuel later success, stating, ”My trauma served me, my story has served me, in terms of forward motion.”
Porter’s public revelation shines a light on a taboo topic in Hollywood. His current role on FX’s Pose reflects much of his own narrative, including his HIV status. According to the Center for Disease Control, racial and ethnic disparities continue to exist in HIV diagnosis rates. Black and Latino men have a much higher rate than their counterparts. Porter’s command of the public eye and spotlight reclaims the perception of what it's like to live and thrive with HIV.
The future is bright and wide open for Billy Porter. Next up, he’ll play Fairy Godmother to Camilla Cabello’s Cinderella, as well as Audrey II in the remake of Little Shop of Horrors.