AceShowbiz - Billy Porter has gotten emotional after being honored for his role in raising HIV awareness at the Elizabeth Taylor Ball to End AIDS 2021. When the "American Horror Story" actor received the call that he'd be receiving the honor, he said that he felt "humbled."
"You know, I have been gay a long time. I've been out since the '80s, when it wasn't so popular," the 52-year-old Emmy-winning artist told Entertainment Tonight. "HIV was around, Elizabeth Taylor was one of the first people in the public eye with celebrity to show the world how to love, to show the world what unconditional love looks like. And all these years later to be honored in her name is…[taking] my breath away."
Billy went on expressing, "It's an emotional time, and emotional in a good way. In a really good way." The actor and activist added, "To be seen, inside of a space where I was not for a long time and not only not seen, but dismissed from the conversation...it is breathtaking to me that in the choosing of myself, in the choosing of my truth and my authenticity, my life has transformed and it's magical! You know it's really, really magical and that's all I can say!"
With the new honor attached to his name, Billy hopes to continue to make a change. "Well I'm an artist, right? And I've been an artist all my life. And I haven't always had a platform where anybody cared. I've always been the same person, I've always been doing this. The world has caught up. The world has changed," the actor, who appeared in "Cinderella (2021)" as godmother, explained.
"I know sometimes that's hard to see because there's so much negativity, but we also have to remember how far we've come. And I want to make sure that there's a focus on that coming from me," Billy added. "And change, change has happened and change will continue to happen. The world only spins forward."
Billy hasn't only been an advocate for ending HIV and AIDS. He has been open about his own battle with the disease. The "Pose" alum first divulged that he was HIV positive in May after keeping his diagnosis quiet for 14 years.
"You know, there is a shame component that comes with living. Period. You know, a very particular kind of shame that comes with being queer. And then another layer that comes with the HIV stigma," Billy told the outlet. He then confidently shared, "I lived with that shame for a long time, and in the revealing of that truth, it's the release of the shame. I don't have that anymore. And it's joyful. It really is."