By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — He’s an actor, dancer, singer, director, and favorite son of Pittsburgh — and Billy Porter says he owes it all to dreaming the impossible.
Porter has won an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony award, graduated from Pittsburgh’s CAPA and Carnegie Mellon University, but says he was bullied growing up, until he took the stage.
“It was always the torment, like, having to go to school every day. ‘So, what’s gonna happen today?’ Until the fifth grade talent show. Then, all of a sudden, it was like, ‘Oh. Shoot. Well, let me sing, let keep singing so I can stop getting beat,'” Porter said on CBS Sunday Morning.
Porter says as a child growing up in a religious family, he was sent to a psychologist and was sexually assaulted by his stepfather.
“He uh, said to my mother in front of me, ‘Billy’s fine, he’s just, you know. You just need a man around the house, teach him how to be more of a man,'” Porter said.
“So then fast-forward to within a year, my mother had met and married my stepfather, who then proceeded to molest me from the time I was seven to twelve. And in my mind, I thought those were my ‘man lessons’ because, that was, right? That’s what he’s here for,” Porter went on to say.
Porter says he didn’t realize it was abuse until he was in his late 20’s.
Porter says he found a safe haven at Pittsburgh’s Creative and Performing Arts School, using the arts to heal the trauma as he saved up to travel to auditions around the country.
In fact, Porter was recently back in Pittsburgh directing his movie ‘What If’ and finished up his pop single ‘Children’ that will be released this week.
Porter’s memoir ‘Unprotected’ comes out later this month.