Gracie Cartier has come out as HIV-positive.
The transgender activist and former celebrity hairstylist, who has worked with Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Silverstone, and other luminaries, disclosed her status Tuesday on her new show, Transcend.
“Today, I am revealing publicly for the very first time that I am HIV-positive. I was diagnosed in 2003 and I have been living happy and healthy,” Cartier shared.
Cartier revealed that she was coming out as HIV-positive in part to fight the stigma that still surrounds the virus, “not only external stigma but also for me personally, my internal stigma.”
Stigma “has caused me to doubt myself, to think less of myself, to have self-worth and self-esteem issues,” she said. “And in my process of healing, I realize that I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. And not only as someone who is HIV-positive, but I know that we have all told ourselves a lie that is not the truth of who we are because of something that we’ve been through. And for me personally, it was HIV that caused me to doubt my existence, and I want to end it today.”
In a statement accompanying the news, Cartier added, “I’ve decided to publicly disclose my truth to take back my power and share my story from the place of surviving to thriving as a Black trans woman living with HIV.”
Cartier is now the host of Transcend, a series on the platform +Life, founded by ABC reporter Karl Schmid, Brent Zacky, and Mike Spierer in order to destigmatize HIV. “Transcend will focus on honest and authentic conversations around issues such as stigma, mental health, wellness and healthcare disparities, that affect not only the Black, HIV and trans communities, but all people focused on creating an equitable and inclusive world,” the release noted.