Dyllón Burnside, who plays Ricky on FX's game-changing series Pose, opened up about growing up "queer and black" in the South at Billboard & The Hollywood Reporter's inaugural Pride Summit in Los Angeles on Thursday (Aug. 8).
As part of the Televised Revolution: The Beings of Pose panel – which included Angel Curiel, Dyllón Burnside, Hailie Sahar, Indya Moore and MJ Rodriguez and moderator Jayce Baron of Kills & Tell Networks – Burnside got candid about the lack of information for LGBTQ individuals in the South. "Over half of the new HIV cases occurred in the South in 2017," Burnside says. "And almost half of those folks are African American. And of that group, a majority identify as gay or bisexual. Being from the South, that says to me people are not talking about it. If they were, they would know their status. Knowing what it's like to be queer and black [in the South] and on top of that talking about HIV?"
Burnside notes that he "didn't learn about the consequences of HIV and what prevention and treatment looked like until I moved to New York City eight years ago. I was 23 years old and had to end up with a scare before I realized I need to know more about this."
"It's imperative [HIV representation is] on this show because there's a stigma constantly around having HIV," adds Rodriguez.
SPOILER ALERT: Burnside also opened up about the recent revelation that his Pose character, Ricky, is HIV+. "I mourned for the character, because I didn’t want to see him go through that. But I'm so grateful to be able to tell that story."