Jonathan Van Ness says he needs to talk about the stigmatization of the LGBTQ community in the Trump era.
He told The New York Times in an interview that his HIV-positive status is just one of the difficult topics he’ll address in his upcoming memoir Over The Top.
“It’s hard for me to be as open as I want to be when there are certain things I haven’t shared publicly. These are issues that need to be talked about.”
Van Ness revealed that as a child he was sexually abused by an older boy at his church which led to self-destructive behaviour.
He would meet up with older men for sex as a teenager and in college, developed a drug addiction. Out of money, he started trading sex for cash, later dropping out of college and returning home.
In his twenties he was addicted to meth, which landed him in rehab. Twice. Working in a hair salon, he fainted and then learned he was HIV+. He writes in his book:
“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be.”
Now he’s healthy off drugs in years, he hopes his confessions will raise awareness and dispel some misconceptions about HIV.
“When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like ‘Do I want to talk about my status?’
And then I was like, ‘The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatisation of the LGBT community thrive around me.’
I do feel the need to talk about this.
These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup.
That doesn’t mean Queer Eye is less valid, but I want people to realise you’re never too broken to be fixed.”
Over The Top comes out next week on September 26.
(Photos, Avalon; via Pink News)