BBC Graham Norton Show: The Life of Billy Porter, From Planning the Wedding in Ten Days to “Healing Together” with her Husband

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Being gay in 2021 is a constant struggle to be accepted by society.

Despite efforts to tackle homophobia, many people around the world are rejected because they are themselves.

Experiences of homophobic attacks, insults and discrimination is commonplace and it is even the law in some cases.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, USA, a star’s life has been strewn with sexual abuse, shame and violence against him because of his sexuality.

But despite the horrors he faced, Billy Porter, 52, has grown into a powerful performer known for his TV role in the hit series Pose, his winning performance as Tony in Kinky Boots, and a fervent spirit that captivates everyone. .

READ MORE: “I grew up in care since I was 4 months old, never knew my dad – 19 years later I met him by chance”



Billy has won numerous awards including a Tony and an Emmy for his performance

Raised by a disabled mother 400 miles from New York City, Billy grew up in a Pentecostal Christian community where he felt out of place.

As a child, the actor found his voice in the church but quickly became the target of his vocal presence and woke up in hospital one day beaten and bruised.

Billy’s education was marred by sexual abuse as his stepfather began to abuse him twice a week for two years.

Speaking to People, he said: “As a child, I became an adult. In my mind, I had this experience as if it was an affair.

Because it was loving, it was nourishing, it was confusing. Because it was touch.

“It was what I needed; it was the illusion of care, of a tall, strong man taking care of me. Yet to this day I am not doing well.”



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But the actor found his solace in musical theater and helped him imagine a life beyond what he was living.

Staff who taught at her performing arts high school encouraged the star to delve into her passion.

At the age of 16, Billy found the courage to call himself gay and, along with his self-confidence and desire to succeed, he landed a Broadway role in Miss Saigon.



The star was eager to tie the knot before Trump came to power

But in 2007, Billy described having the “worst year of his life” after being forced to file for bankruptcy and being diagnosed with diabetes and HIV.

Speaking to the Hollywood reporter, he said: “I was the generation that was supposed to be better informed, and it happened anyway. It was 2007, the worst year of my life.

“I was on the verge of darkness for about a decade, but 2007 was the worst.

“In February, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In March, I signed bankruptcy papers. And in June, I was diagnosed with HIV ”.

Man, 52, says there was never a time in his life that he wasn’t traumatized and started seeing a therapist at the age of 25 to deal with his feelings .

But through the trauma, the star persevered and rediscovered love and success.

In 2013, Billy found himself on Broadway again as Lola in Kinky Boots.



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In 2017, the comedian received the prestigious Tony Award for his performance and married Adam Smith as the couple stared at each other at a dinner party in New York City.

The star was keen to marry her partner while former President Barack Obama was still in power in order to exercise his legal right to marry before the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Speaking to People in 2017, he said: “I think back to when I grew up and when I went out in the 80s: as a black gay man there was no example to validate my existence. .

“So I swore at this age to try to be that for the generations behind me if I had the chance.”

Billy’s husband planned the wedding in just 10 days and the couple were only engaged for 16 days before they tied the knot.

However, like most marriages, theirs is not without its challenges as Billy struggles with the trauma of abuse he suffered as a child.

Speaking to People, Billy said, “It’s really, really hard in a marriage, you know, when you’re trying to figure out how to be intimate with someone.

“But we grow together and heal together. It’s a lot of hard work. Let me tell you, it’s worth it. “

While the actor’s life has been a roller coaster, he seems to be enjoying the ride now as he made his mark on the hit series Pose and recently starred in Cinderella alongside Camila Cabello.

One of Billy’s passions is standing up for people living with HIV, as he says he’s looking for a “legacy that lasts” and wonders how to make the world a better place.

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