Billy Porter praises Jonathan Van Ness for opening up about HIV status
Billy Porter has praised Jonathan Van Ness for opening up about living with HIV and helping to reduce stigma.
Porter made history at the Emmys on Monday, September 23, by becoming the first openly gay black man to win the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
According to Fox News, he told reporters backstage after accepting his award that he was “happy” for Jonathan Van Ness, praising the Queer Eye star’s decision to come out about his HIV-positive status.
Billy Porter said: “We need to take the stigma away from it, influence people like Jonathan who allow for the stigma to be taken away.”
Of Pose’s focus on the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 80s and 90s, he said: “It’s not HIV porn, you know. It’s not all sadness, just like our show. You know, the point of our show is aspirational.
“You’re watching people in the depths of the worst of circumstances – the most dire of circumstances, choose life anyway. We all choose life anyway. That’s what it’s about.”
He added: “I’m happy for Jonathan and I’m happy for the world.”
He now proudly describes himself as “member of the beautiful HIV-positive community”, although he felt nervous about revealing his status to the world.
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He said: “When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?’
“And then I was like, ‘The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatisation of the LGBT community thrive around me.’
“I do feel the need to talk about this.”
He added: “These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup.
“That doesn’t mean Queer Eye is less valid, but I want people to realise you’re never too broken to be fixed.”