Trans activist Gracie Cartier comes out as HIV-positive: ‘I’m living happy and healthy’

Gracie Cartier HIV positive Transcend +Life

Trans activist and former celebrity hairstylist Gracie Cartier has come out as HIV-positive to help fight the stigma against the diagnosis.

Cartier – who has worked with Jada Pinkett Smith and Alicia Silverstone – opened up about her status on Monday (19 April) during her new show Transcend. She said she has been living with HIV for almost 18 years after being diagnosed in 2003. Cartier said she wanted to come out as HIV-positive to fight not only the stigma that surrounds the virus, but also her own “internal stigma”.

“Today, I am revealing publicly for the very first time that I am HIV-positive,” Cartier said. “I was diagnosed in 2003, and I have been living happy and healthy.”

Gracie Cartier said the stigma around HIV has caused her to “doubt myself, to think less of myself, to have self-worth and self-esteem issues”. She said she realised she was “not the only one who feels this way” in her “process of healing” and living with HIV.

“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,” Cartier said. “And for me personally, it was HIV that caused me to doubt my existence, and I want to end it today.”

Cartier added in a further statement that she wanted to “publicly disclose” her “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”.

Gracie Cartier is now the host of Transcend, a series on streaming platform +Life to destigmatise HIV. The Advocate reported that the release, which accompanied Cartier coming out about her status, said the series will focus on “honest and authentic” conversations.

The release read: “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.”