Billy Porter has ‘survivor’s guilt’ over living with HIV

Los Angeles: Singer-actor Billy Porter has “survivor’s guilt” for being part of a generation that has been able to lead a full life with HIV.

The 53-year-old singer and actor was diagnosed with the disease in 2007 and he always feels grateful that so many medical advances have been made in treating the condition for his generation when so many before him lost their lives to AIDS, reports

Speaking to Gay Times, Porter said: “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.”

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.” Porter 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.”


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