Billy Porter is speaking out about a longtime secret he’s been silent about. The Pose actor revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he was diagnosed as HIV-positive 14 years ago. 

Porter kept the secret hidden from most people he knew for fear of “marginalization and retaliation in an industry that hasn’t always been kind to him.”

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The actor shared the news in a social media post of him on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter“My truth. In my time. Thank you, @THR,” Porter tweeted.

The Broadway-trained actor, more recently known for his role as Pray Tell on Pose, coincidently has been portraying the life of an HIV-positive character on the FX series. While he used the character as his proxy, no one from the show knew he was drawing from his own life. “I was able to say everything that I wanted to say through a surrogate,” he said.

Ryan Jamaal Swain and Billy Porter at the 2019 Urban One Honors, 2019. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

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As Pose is in its finale season, Porter is keeping busy. The actor plans to tell more in a memoir slated for later this year and a Netflix documentary about his life. And, in film, he’s taking on a familiar character, playing the fairy godmother in a 2021 take on Cinderella. The star will also make a directorial debut and has plans to release new music.

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