Here’s what the 49-year-old Pose star had to say…
On when he came out in 1985: “I was trying to get out of my circumstances and remove myself from the trauma and the toxic energy that was my childhood and my early teenage development. It was very traumatic and it was homophobic – it was violently homophobic and I knew then that if I was going to survive, I was going to have to extract myself from that. I found the arts and I found the theatre, a community that embraced me for who I am, and as I went deeper and deeper into that community, I discovered we were in the middle of a plague and had to fight.”
On what he would tell his 16-year-old self: “I would say that the first thing you must do, which I did, is extract yourself from the danger. Extract yourself from the people who don’t know how to love you. Extract yourself from anything that’s toxic. Change the narrative of, ‘I need the love of people, my mother, my father, my family to exist on the planet’. No! We don’t need acceptance, we don’t need tolerance, we need respect for our humanity. We demand respect for our humanity and we will give respect for everyone else so that we can all move forward. Everybody’s humanity is valid, even if we don’t understand it or like it. That’s what I would tell my younger self and anybody today that you must do. You must break free. It’s the only way you will survive.”
On his dreams without limitations: “OH BABY! I need to be The Head Bitch in Charge, hunni. I’m trying to be a mogul. I’m trying to be like Ryan Murphy, I’m trying to be like you! Yes, that’s what I wanted, but I thought, ‘You’re a f–t, you can’t do that!’ But yes, I can. Yes I can, and yes I will. I want to be the person. I want to be one of the people that is at the forefront of being able to be the Svengali that helps to make sure all the stories are told, and that all the babies are taken care of. If I can be a part of that energy, I’m good.”
For more from Billy, head to GayTimes.co.uk.