Billy Porter is “free of shame.” In his new memoir, Unprotected, the 52-year-old shares the darker side to his seemingly picture-perfect life as the star of FX’s Pose and Kinky Boots on Broadway. 

He told USA Today that he began unpacking the trauma he suffered, including his stepfather raping him as a boy, during the pandemic. 

"I really, really, really have needed this past year to work on myself and try to become a better person," Porter says in an interview with USA Today.

He wrote in his memoir of his stepfather Bernie’s abuse: "I split off from myself at 7 years old and began to experience myself as a grown-(expletive) man. I had no other choice. How was I to know that those sessions under the cloak of night with Bernie were wrong?"

Porter shared his HIV positive status earlier this year in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He told USA Today of these revelations: "I feel free in a way that I have never felt in my life. And that is free of shame. Free of shame that has been placed upon me since I was 5 years old."

And now, he’s owning his fame and boundary pushing. "I am a part of the generation that kicked the door down so that Lil Nas X can exist," Porter says. "And it's not lost on me that I'm also getting to reap the benefits of having been a part of this generation that kicked the door down. We don't always get to walk through those doors, we don't always get to benefit from that work. And I'm getting to do both."