Before Billy Porter became the trailblazer he is today, the "Pose" actor had many challenges to overcome -- his relationship with his body being one of them.
"I think I low-key had some sort of eating disorder and some sort of body dysmorphia that I still sort of carry to this day," Porter told "Good Morning America."
Porter is known as someone who preaches resilience and self-acceptance but as many who experience body dysmorphia know, those insecurities never fully vanish.
"I still will look at myself in the mirror and think that I'm overweight," he said. "That I'm in some way unattractive."
- 3March 6, 2020
Porter referred to a photo of himself as "Juicy Billy," when he was 24 recording "Beauty School Dropout" for the 1994 Broadway revival of "Grease."
They told me that I was too Black, too much, too gay
This was around the same time Porter was also trying to carve out a space for himself as a Black queer artist.
"They told me that I was too Black, too much, too gay, all of these things," Porter told "GMA." "I always knew that I had gifts that transcended what anybody thought about me. I knew I had gifts that could transcend that dismissal."
Porter's latest gift to the world is his new memoir, "Unprotected," where he gets raw and real about so much of his life, including his HIV-positive status.
"There's so much work left to do on this planet," Porter said. "And I wanted to be around to do it. And I understood that in order for me to be around to do it, I would have to release the darkest and deepest shame."
When asked why he decided to share his status with the world, Porter said he wanted to free not just himself but others around him.
"I would have to remove that shame from my life and free myself to be the best human being that I can be," Porter said. "That's why I did that, to free myself. And in turn, hopefully, help others get free."