Billy Porter is HIV-positive -- something he's known since 2007 when he was first diagnosed, but he's opening up about it now because, as he says ... "The truth is healing."
The "Pose" star says after his HIV was first detected 14 years ago, shame and fear drove him to keep it a secret ... especially while trying to make it in an industry he says hasn't always been kind to him.
Porter, in an essay for The Hollywood Reporter, says ... "I was trying to have a life and a career, and I wasn’t certain I could if the wrong people knew. It would just be another way for people to discriminate against me in an already discriminatory profession. So I tried to think about it as little as I could. I tried to block it out."
The actor says people who needed to know about his diagnosis knew, but he hid it from everyone else -- even his mother. However, Billy says the past year of quarantine has taught him a lot and he began real trauma therapy to deal with his past ... and it led him to decide to reveal his truth.
Before that, Porter says he used Pray Tell -- the HIV-positive character he plays on "Pose," a role that won him an Emmy -- as his proxy. Billy explains, "I was able to say everything that I wanted to say through a surrogate," while acknowledging nobody involved with the show knew he was drawing from his own life.
In an emotional interview with Tamron Hall Wednesday, Billy revealed he used to question why he was able to survive ... and says he felt like his casting on "Pose" was a sign from God.
Now everyone knows, and Billy says that's liberating. He also points out that he's the healthiest he's ever been in his life and he's hopeful the stigma around HIV can become a thing of the past.
As he puts it ... "This is what HIV-positive looks like now."
Caitlyn Jenner's take on banning trans girls from competing in girls' sports is unfounded and unjust ... so says Dr. Veronica Ivy whose view is the polar opposite.
Veronica, a trans activist, athlete and associate professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston, appeared Monday on "TMZ Live" and said there's no evidence trans girls perform better in sports than cisgender girls.
Dr. Ivy says the whole thing about biologically-born boys having a competitive advantage over biologically-born girls has been disproven ... she says there is no evidence normal testosterone levels have any impact on performance.
The Doc does say there is undeniably a difference in performance between biologically-born boys and girls in the world of sports, but she says the reason is unknown ... it's either biological, sociological or a combination of both. She goes on to say the data that's available actually doesn't show trans girls have any real advantage over cisgender girls, but until there's proof to the contrary the default should be inclusion rather than exclusion.
Dr. Ivy points out, Caitlyn had a different take last year ... when she told the Outsports podcast "The Trans Sporter Room," "I think every trans person, if they’re into athletics, should have an opportunity to compete and to improve themselves."
Watch the full interview on "TMZ Live" (check your local listings).
Caitlyn Jenner has a take on trans athletes you might not expect -- namely, if you're born as a biological boy, you shouldn't be allowed to compete in girls' sports ... at least while you're still in school, anyway.
We got the California gubernatorial hopeful Saturday in Malibu, and she weighed in on her first big political issue as she takes center stage in her run for Gavin Newsom's job -- telling TMZ she doesn't support trans girls born as boys participating in all-female school sports.
Yeah, we know ... it's a pretty interesting stance -- especially coming from Caitlyn ... who of course, is a trans woman herself AND a former Olympic champion. But, check out her rationale ... she chalks it up to fairness and protecting the integrity of girls' sports.
It's a hot-button issue right now across the country -- upwards of 34 states are considering legislation that would ban trans athletes from competing based on their gender identity ... and at least five have already turned the bills into law.
Caitlyn's words here are HUGE ... She's staked out her position and it's a stark contrast to Newsom's views.
Now, for some numbers -- because this isn't as black and white as it may seem. While some argue trans girls would naturally perform better in athletics because of higher testosterone levels ... that's not entirely true, at least not across the board, anyway -- so say scientists.
There are studies examining this topic -- and they suggest that while, yes, trans women have tended to perform better against their cisgender counterparts in certain activities -- running events appear to be the big one -- it's not conclusive that their testosterone levels alone are the sole cause for that ... and it's not always the case either.
Trans Girls In Girls' Sports ...
More importantly, the studies suggest that once trans girls start getting hormone therapy ... their performances tend to level out across different sports -- and by and large, all things end up being roughly equal. It also appears most athletic orgs require trans athletes to be on hormone therapy.
So in other words ... the data is a bit of a mixed bag. But, either way -- Caitlyn is leaning right on the issue. Republicans are usually the ones who support these types of bans.
The Kardashians won't be hitting the campaign trail on behalf of Caitlyn Jenner now that's she's running for governor of California ... because their views and the views of C.J. don't mesh, and the fallout from her divorce from Kris makes it all just too tricky.
Sources close to Caitlyn tell TMZ ... she spoke to her family before announcing her campaign Friday, giving them a heads up. We're told she did not expect them to stump for her on the campaign trail, and now we know why.
Caitlyn's politics have been an issue with the family for years. She has taken positions on issues like gay marriage -- which she initially opposed but now supports -- which landed like a lead balloon with the Kardashians.
As for Kim, in particular, we're told she genuinely likes Caitlyn and the 2 have a good relationship. Kim's been active in politics, working with Trump on prison reform, but has never personally aligned herself with conservative views. You'll remember, she never publicly endorsed Kanye during his Presidential bid.
The Kardashians seem to have a bend toward the Dems ... they were behind Hillary Clinton in her 2016 run ... remember, Caitlyn supported Trump, although she disavowed him 2 years later.
There's another issue that prevents the Kardashians from getting involved in Caitlyn's campaign. We're told there are still hard feelings over her divorce from Kris, and the kids don't want to get in the middle.
That said ... we're told the Kardashians are not going to publicly endorse anyone else, and that includes the current Governor, Gavin Newsom, who could be on the chopping block if the recall organizers get enough signatures.
Kehlani is coming out as lesbian ... and she says she's the last one in her family to know she's gay.
The singer shared her truth Thursday, saying on video ... "I am gay ga-gay gay gay!!!"
Kehlani says she's been trying to have heart-to-heart conversations with her family and friends about coming out, but she says her loved ones are hardly shocked and keep telling her they've known for some time because, as she put it ... "the f****** closet was glass."
She previously hinted at being gay during a recent Instagram Live when casually said she finally knew she was lesbian. Apparently, some fans thought she might have been joking, but now Kehlani's saying clearly, loudly and proudly.
Bottom line for Kehlani ... "everyone knew but me."
One of Colton Underwood's first orders of business as a new openly gay man was to hit the town and dip his toe into the scene -- but it looks like he got distracted along the way.
The former 'Bachelor' -- who just came out publicly last week -- went to a gay bar in Denver Sunday ... a place called Charlie's, which seems like a pretty happening place complete with a dance floor, private booths and bumpin' music.
All that was in full flex while Colton was there ... but based on these pics and video we got of him there, dude was more interested in his phone, at least for part of the night.
Anyway, eyewitnesses tell us CU was at Charlie's with his friend, and mentor of sorts, Gus Kenworthy. The Olympic skier's kinda showing Colton the ropes in the community ... and will be featured on Colton's Netflix docuseries.
Speaking of them ... we're told Netflix cameras were NOT rolling for this outing -- at least it didn't appear that way to the folks who saw Colton sitting off to the side. We've heard production for Colton's new show is well underway, and that a crew's been following him around lately.
Colton Underwood's gay and single, but apparently not ready to mingle ... TMZ's learned dating is not even on his radar after coming out.
Sources close to the former 'Bachelor' star tell us ... Colton isn't dating anyone now and wasn't dating anyone before he made his big announcement this week on "GMA."
Of course, as we first told you, there's also a film crew in tow ... as Colton's new journey as a gay man is being documented for an upcoming reality series on Netflix.
Colton's dating life is an interesting topic because his coming out sparked talks among 'Bachelor' producers about having a gay season of the show, and obviously his name came up as a likely candidate.
We know he's got the 'Bachelor' experience ... but it seems he's in no hurry to date at all, let alone speed-date.
The YouTube star -- who recently came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community herself -- gives the former 'Bachelor' props for announcing he's gay, and encourages him to just be himself.
JoJo was at LAX Thursday when she told us ... even though there are some people out there who are intolerant or hateful, the world as a whole is "really accepting," and it's a wonderful thing.
She also weighs in on the chatter about a potential gay 'Bachelor' season in wake of Colton's announcement. She's all for it, and took the occasion to remind us how she's already found love with her girlfriend.
JoJo undoubtedly looks happy since coming out in January, and even though it's only been a couple days ... the same can be said for Colton.
We got him out in NYC a few hours after his interview with Robin Roberts, and he says he feels "awesome and free and happy."
As we first told you ... Colton's also been filming the past few weeks for a new reality series with Netflix chronicling his journey as a newly out gay man.
Colton Underwood's coming out story is not only going to be covered in a new reality show ... it may inspire a major change in the reality show that made him famous.
'Bachelor' production sources tell TMZ ... Colton's been getting a lot of support not just from former cast members and Chris Harrison, but also from many producers of the popular dating series.
We're told a number of producers were moved by Colton's revelation, and they've informally talked over the last few days amongst themselves about a gay 'Bachelor' season.
Our sources say the bigwigs on the show haven't weighed in and there has been no formal discussion, but creative ideas for TV shows typically begin with shop talk among producers and other staff, and that's happening now.
We have no idea whether Colton would be interested, but we do know this ... there's a lot of love for him in the production offices of the show. We're told many people on staff cheered Colton as he revealed to Robin Roberts he's hidden the fact he's gay for most of his life.
Colton is not under contract with "The Bachelor" anymore. We're told he booked the interview on his own and chose Robin because he's appeared with her in the past and felt comfortable with her. Nevertheless, we're told Colton called producers the night before his interview aired and gave them the heads up.
We broke the story ... Colton's been filming the past few weeks with a Netflix crew for a new reality series chronicling his journey as a newly out gay man.
Netflix does dating shows too, so ... just sayin'.
There are no hard feelings coming from the 2 women who came up just short of receiving the final rose from Colton Underwood ... they're both fully in his corner.
As 'Bachelor' fans will recall ... Hannah Godwin and Tayshia Adams finished as co-runners-up in Colton's season, and both are voicing support for the former target of their affections now that he's come out as gay.
Hannah tells TMZ ... "I support Colton for having the courage to finally be able to live his life authentically. Nobody should have to hide from who they really are." She adds ... "I’ll always wish Colton the very best and hoping he has found his peace."
A rep for Tayshia tells us she's very happy that Colton's "able to now live his life openly and without fear of being his true self," adding ... "There is absolutely no ill will -- only support for Colton, his willingness to share his truth, and the additional representation for the LGBTQ community."
TMZ also learned his journey as a newly "out" gay man is being chronicled as a reality series for Netflix.
BTW -- Tayshia and Hannah have been doing great since departing from Colton's season, as well. Tayshia went on to become "The Bachelorette" and is engaged to Zac Clark. She's also co-hosting the next 'Bacherette' season -- which is currently filming -- after replacing Chris Harrison.
Hannah has moved on to become a very popular social media influencer, and is also engaged.
9:49 AM PT -- We just got Colton out in NYC, and his face really does say it all, you can see the happiness.
Colton Underwood coming out as gay comes with a TV deal ... his new journey's being shot for a reality series.
TMZ has learned the former 'Bachelor' star has had a film crew following him for the past few weeks, and the show -- focusing on his life as a gay man -- will air on Netflix.
We're told several other prominent members of the LBGTQ+ community have been in Colton's corner throughout this process -- such as his friend, Olympian Gus Kenworthy -- and will make appearances alongside him in the series.
He said ... "I've ran from myself for a long time. I've hated myself for a long time ... and I'm gay. And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it. And the next step in all of this was sort of letting people know."
Colton says his struggle with being gay got so bad that he contemplated suicide, but fortunately he had an epiphany ... and decided to take control of his life.
We reached out to Colton's rep ... so far, no word back.
Originally Published -- 8:01 AM PT
8:21 AM PT -- Chris Harrison says he's very proud of Colton. He adds ... "Happy to see you stand up and openly live your truth. You have my love and support my friend."
Colton Underwood -- former star of "The Bachelor" is opening up about his sexuality ... telling the world he's gay.
Colton opened up to Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America" saying ... "I've ran from myself for a long time. I've hated myself for a long time ... and I'm gay. And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it. And the next step in all of this was sort of letting people know."
Underwood added, "I got into a place for me in my personal life that was dark and bad and I can list a bunch of different things but they'd all be excuses ... I would have rather died than say I'm gay and I think that was sort of my wake-up call."
Colton said it was so bad he thought of taking his life ... "There was a moment in L.A. where I woke up and I didn't think I was going to wake up. I didn't have the intention of waking up and I did. And I think for me that was my wake-up call ... this is your life, take back control."
As 'Bachelor' fans know ... Colton's virginity became a hot topic when he appeared on Becca Kufrin's season of "The Bachelorette" in 2018. Of course, this storyline continued when he became the 'Bachelor' for Season 23 ... but there was a lot more drama than that.
Colton notoriously jumped a gate during filming in the middle of his season and threatened to leave the show, but ultimately decided to return. He wound up choosing Cassie Randolph, though the 2 never got engaged and -- as we reported -- had a very messy breakup.
In his GMA interview, Colton said he was sorry for how things ended with Cassie, and that he truly loved everything about her, which made things more difficult. He says he remembers thanking God once he was picked as 'The Bachelor' because he believed his prayers to be straight had been answered.
Also worth noting -- Colton stated in his March 2020 memoir, "The First Time," his time on "The Bachelor" actually helped him realize he WASN'T gay. He said he questioned his sexuality in his early 20s ... the result of being bullied growing up. The bullies said he was gay, and he says he believed it.
Originally published -- 4:47 AM PT
The NCAA is going to bat for transgender athletes who want to compete at the college level -- saying it will only hold NCAA championship events in areas that are "safe, healthy and free of discrimination."
The NCAA Board of Governors issued a strong statement on the issue as more U.S. states reportedly move closer to passing laws that would make it much more difficult for a transgender athlete to compete at the high school and college levels using their gender identity instead of gender assigned at birth.
"The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition," the statement said.
The NCAA then spelled out its policy about transgender participation in college sports.
"Our approach -- which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports -- embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee."
"Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport."
Then, in a move that seems similar to the MLB's decision to yank the All-Star game out of Georgia ... the NCAA warned it would pull NCAA championship events out of areas where it feels the environment is not safe for transgender athletes.
"When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected."
"We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants."
In other words, the NCAA is sending a warning shot to states thinking about banning transgender athletes ... if you pass those laws, say goodbye to meaningful NCAA games.
Braunwyn Windham-Burke, the first real housewife to come out as lesbian, has reached another couple of firsts ... her first breakup with her first girlfriend.
Sources with direct knowledge tell TMZ ... the 'Real Housewives of Orange County' star called off her romantic relationship with Kris over a month ago, and the split was amicable.
We're told Braunwyn and Kris, who met on a dating app, remain friends and their relationship didn't end abruptly ... it was a typical end to any relationship that simply runs its course.
TMZ broke the story ... Braunwyn and Kris were all over each other during a WeHo lunch date in November, not long after she came out.
Since the split, our sources say Braunwyn continues to date other women, but she's not in any committed relationships. We're told she's still finding her footing after coming out.
While Braunwyn's seeing other women, she remains married to her husband, Sean Burke, and we're told they still have no plans to divorce after 20 years of marriage and 7 children together.
Talk about a modern family.
The Nike lawsuit might have caught Lil Nas X by surprise, but he had to see this coming -- the Church of Satan is throwing its support behind his new limited edition "Satan Shoes."
David Harris, magister for the Church of Satan, tells TMZ ... the shoes, which feature an inverted cross, bronze pentagram and a drop of human blood, are getting a ton of love from the Church because they embrace the essence of Satanism.
For the uninitiated ... Satanists do not actually worship Satan, nor do they believe in God or the Devil. They are opposed to all spirituality and anything supernatural, and with no belief in the afterlife, Satanists emphasize being your true self, living life to the fullest and personal achievement ... values it says LNX is following with his new kicks.
Harris, who's pretty high up in the Church of Satan (kinda like a cardinal), says Satanists are digging the way Lil Nas X is turning against religion to market his customized Nike Air Max 97 shoes.
The shoe's Monday release came on the heels of Lil Nas X's polarizing "MONTERO" music vid featuring the Prince of Darkness -- a brilliant marketing plan, apparently, because all 666 pairs sold out within minutes, with folks shelling out $1,018 a pop for the limited-edition kicks. BTW, that price tag is an ode to the bible scripture emblazoned on the side, Luke 10:18, which references Satan's banishment from heaven.
Between the shoes and the "breathtaking" music vid, Harris says LNX is clearly extending a middle finger to folks who told him he'd burn in hell for his sexuality. However, the Church of Satan applauds Lil Nas X for living life on his own terms and being his honest self ... which will, no doubt, infuriate his critics even more.
As we reported, it's not just Nas' religious fans who are pissed ... Nike is suing the company he teamed with to make the Satan Shoes.
A Louisiana man has been charged over claims he used Grindr to prey on unsuspecting gay men -- one of whom he's accused of gruesomely torturing ... almost to the point of death.
The suspect's name is Chance Seneca, who was arrested last summer over the alleged incidents -- which authorities say amount to 3 total ... an attempted kidnapping and two actual kidnappings ... one of which prosecutors claim led to an 18-year-old getting choked and having his wrists sawed down to the bone in what sounds like a horror movie.
According to newly released docs that go into the gory details, obtained by The Daily Advertiser, prosecutors allege Seneca -- who's 19 himself -- confessed to using Grindr as a "hunting ground" to lure young gay men to his father's home, where he allegedly said he had planned to kill them and use their body parts as "trophies" and "food."
Prosecutors say on June 19, Seneca attempted to kidnap one man he'd met on Grindr but failed -- only to successfully kidnap another later that night. It's unclear what Seneca might've done to that guy, but the next day ... he allegedly picked up his 3rd and final victim.
That would be Holden White of Kaplan, LA -- whose name has been publicly released and whose family has been attempting to raise money, saying he's lost the use of his hands.
As for what Seneca allegedly did ... it's horrifying. Prosecutors say Seneca picked up Holden and took him to his dad's property ... where they'd be alone. Once there, prosecutors say Seneca got Holden to handcuff himself, and then pulled a gun on him.
He then allegedly brought him to the bathroom, where prosecutors say he strangled Holden from behind until he passed out ... only to place him in the bathtub and proceed to hack away at his wrists with a knife -- until he stopped when he saw bone and freaked.
Seneca came to his senses, calling the cops on himself and allegedly tried getting admitted to a mental institution. Holden came to at one point, and Seneca allegedly said, "let go… I’m setting you free." Officers finally arrived and saw the bloody mess.
Holden was taken to a hospital, and Seneca was arrested. On a state level, he's facing an attempted murder charge and a hate crime charge -- he's pled not guilty to the former. Federally, he's facing more ... another hate crime charge, kidnapping charges and others.
If convicted, Seneca is facing a lot of time in prison -- upwards of 25 years at least.