Even when you see the episode, it almost seems like you can see something being lifted off of you after you finished saying it. A burden had been removed that you could visibly see.
When I first started talking about it, I kind of choked up, because I thought it was going to be really hard. But once I started talking about it, it came really easily. It was really short. It was really straight to the point. And it was out. It really felt like some negative piece of me, that I was holding so close, left my body. It really did lift such a dark cloud off my shoulders. It was such a weight gone, and I really felt light, and I felt like a new person. I really did feel like a new person.
And since your family didn't know, did you immediately tell them? Or after the show was over?
I came back to Denver and I had some things I had to focus on, and really concentrate on, so I knew that episode was going to air, but I still kind of still kept it to myself, just because of selfish reasons. But I also feel like it was the right decision.
I didn't really talk to my mom or my dad until the Monday before it aired. Last Monday. We just had a quiet, sit-down dinner and my partner Ben was there, and it was really hard. It was very hard. I was very hesitant, and I was still trying to dance around the truth.
But the fact is that there's no way of really making it easier , so I just had to come out with it, say it, and that's exactly what I did. My mom reacted, and she said she had already knew, that she had a feeling something was wrong because I was in the hospital twice with pneumonia.
And I'm sure even though you talk to doctors, and tell them not to say things, and there's confidentiality and all that crap, there's so many doctors and different doctors, sometimes they don't get the message... so I'm sure somewhere along the line, somebody said something. So she kind of knew and I guess she was just really waiting for me to say it, you know? Beyond that, she was really proud that I had the courage to get it off my chest.
It seems like everyone who knows I'm doing this interview, from my mom to friends online to co-workers, it seems like everyone has some sort of positive message and goodwill to send your way. But I think that was already happening before this recent episode, that you were one of the fan favorites... but the outpouring you see online is really amazing.
Yeah, it's been insane, and it's not just related with HIV or being gay. I've had e-mails from people who are disabled, people that were raped, people living with cancer... just everybody that has a struggle. I feel like the message that most people have taken from the episode was that sometimes you're handed a tough hand of cards, but it's how you play them, and that you can really achieve anything that you want and still move forward.