Billy Porter is still finding himself.
In a new interview with People, the “Pose” star opens up about suffering childhood abuse and finding ways to overcome his trauma.
“At 52 years old, I am getting to the deepest parts of my truth,” Porter says. “I’m having a rebirth — on my own terms.”
At a young age, Porter was a target for bullying, which was not taken seriously by his mother.
“My Black queerness made everyone uncomfortable,” he says, recalling getting beaten up and sent to the hospital in the first grade, to which his mother told him, “They crucified Jesus, baby. You’ll be fine.”
His mother remarried when Porter was seven. Soon after, his stepfather began sexually abusing him, twice a week over a period of five years.
“As a child, I became a grown man. In my mind, I lived that experience as if it was an affair,” he recalls. “Because it was loving, it was nurturing, it was confusing. ‘Cause it was touch. It was what I needed; it was the illusion of care, of a big, strong man caring for me. Still, to this day, I’m not okay.”
At 25 Porter seeked therapy, which he recently resumed during the pandemic.
“My sex life in relation to intimacy, it’s not — it’s not good at all,” he says. “It’s really, really hard in a marriage, you know, when you’re trying to figure out how to be intimate with somebody. But we’re growing together and healing together. It’s a lot of hard work. Let me say, it’s worth it.”
Porter married his longtime boyfriend Adam Smith in 2017.