Jonathan Van Ness, the most delightful of the Queer Eye guys, has come out as H.I.V.-positive in a powerful and extremely vulnerable new profile in the New York Times.
In the interview, which comes ahead of the publication of his memoir Over The Top, Van Ness opened up candidly about his history of addiction and a past trauma that shaped him.
Amongst other things, he revealed that he was abused by a older boy at a young age, an experience which he says “planted the seed for other self-destructive behaviors” later in life.
Van Ness said that he spent his teens hooking up with older men he met online, and dropped out of college after one year, struggling with sex and drug addiction into his early 20s.
At age 25, he collapsed at work in a salon while highlighting a client’s hair – the following day, he went to a clinic, where he tested positive for H.I.V.
“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he said, adding that he has since embraced his status as a “member of the beautiful H.I.V.-positive community.”
He said that he was initially hesitant to talk about his status on Queer Eye, he decided he wanted to speak up to combat the stigmatisation of the LGBT community, adding:
“These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup. That doesn’t mean Queer Eye is less valid, but I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed.”