top of page

Billy Porter Reveals That He Has Survivor's Guilt Over Living With HIV

Emmy and Tony winner Billy Porter says he struggles with survivor's guilt after being disgnosed with HIV in 2007.

Porter battles “survivor’s guilt” for leading a full life with HIV. The 53-year-old singer and actor found out he had the disease in 2007 and he always feels grateful so many medical advances have been made in treating the condition for his generation when so many before him lost their lives to AIDS.

“I’ve had survivor’s guilt. I’ve been HIV positive since 2007 and it f***** me up for a minute. It’s not lost on me that I am part of the generation that has kicked the door down, and I get to walk through that door – that doesn’t happen often,” Porter said to Gay Times.

Initially, the “Pose” star believed he “should have known better” and felt shame in contracting the disease, but has since become more optimistic. He said, “Now I understand that I’m here to speak for that generation and remind the world of who we are and [who we have] always been. Our contributions will be honoured and I get to be a part of making sure that happens and that is a gift to me.”

Billy has also taken the responsibility of educating the younger generations on acceptance, love, and unity through all communities. He explained, “We’ve been living in such a progressive space for so long, there is a full generation of young people that were born into rights that you didn’t know didn’t even exist 10 or 20 years ago.”

The star wants to continue his teachings with “The Black Mona Lisa” album, on which his songs are filled with messages of acceptance and support. Speaking about the inspiration behind the record, he said, “I grew up with protest music. There’s not a lot of that anymore. Everybody is so afraid to speak.”

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilisations heal.”

I totally get where Billy is coming from. Many boomers and Gen X-ers grew up to believe that as gay people we were all going to get AIDS and die. So when the medicines started to get better, and you started to witness your friends dying around you that survivor's guilt would set in.

You can read the full interview where Billy also talks about his new album The Black Mona Lisa here.

7 views0 comments


bottom of page