Billy Porter Responds to Jonathan Van Ness’ Revealed HIV Diagnosis

Recently, the Pose star, Billy Porter, won the Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. Afterward, the actor commented on one member of the LGBTQ community — Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness. Here’s what Billy Porter had to say about Jonathan Van Ness’ visibility and candidness about his HIV diagnosis.

Jonathan Van Ness at MTV Video Music Awards
Jonathan Van Ness at MTV Video Music Awards | Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Jonathan Van Ness revealed his HIV diagnosis during an interview with the New York Times

He’s known as the positive, bubbly, and uplifting grooming expert on Netflix’s original series Queer Eye. However, in his recently-released memoir, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love, Van Ness revealed his past struggles with drug and sex addiction. During an interview with the New York Times, Jonathan Van Ness shared that he is HIV positive.

“It’s hard for me to be as open as I want to be when there are certain things I haven’t shared publicly,” he said during an interview with The New York Times. “These are issues that need to be talked about. For a lot of people who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age, we have a lot of compounded trauma.”

Celebrities and public figures since stepped forward and commended Jonathan Van Ness about his candidness

Once the New York Times published the story about the grooming expert, fans and celebrities shared their messages with Jonathan Van Ness on social media. That includes politicians, human rights activists, journalists, and actors.

“’I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed.’ [Jonathan Van Ness,] thank you for sharing your story and your bright light with us. The world is a more beautiful place because you’re here,” tweeted Cory Booker.

“Thank you for being vulnerable with us and for being a proud member of the LGBTQ & HIV+ community. You inspire so many of us to love fully, to live bravely, and to celebrate all of who we are,” tweeted Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. Pose actor, Billy Porter, also commended Jonathan Van Ness on his candidness and, predominately, for his visibility.

Billy Porter at Emmys
Billy Porter | Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage

Billy Porter won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

This year’s Emmy’s had a few wins for the LGBTQ community. RuPaul’s Drag Race won the award for Outstanding Competition Program. Nina West became the first person to walk the purple carpet in full drag. Billy Porter won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. That made him the first openly gay man to win the award.

While answering questions, Billy Porter was asked about Jonathan Van Ness. The Queer Eye host recently announced that he is HIV positive in a New York Times article and in his book, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love. Billy Porter praised Jonathan Van Ness, saying that “visibility is the point.”

“We need to see what it looks like. We need to take the stigma away from it. And so it’s people like Jonathan who allow for the stigma to be taken away… it’s not all sadness, just like our show,” Porter said after winning his Emmy. The show he was referring to was Pose, where Porter portrays a character living with HIV.

Jonathan Van Ness’ memoir, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love, is now available on Amazon and at major bookstores.