Trinity K. Bonet On Being HIV-Positive: “Don’t Feel Sorry For Me”

"RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 6 Party

Trinity K. Bonet, one of the fierce competitors on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6, gave us an unforgettable moment tonight during Untucked when she disclosed she was HIV-positive. The 23-year-old queen from Atlanta sat down for an exclusive interview with NewNowNext to discuss her decision to share her status, and why it doesn’t define her. 

You learned you were HIV-positive in 2012. What was your reaction.

It was scary, but I wasn’t “boo-hoo, feel sorry for me” about it. I felt like, in a way, it was God’s way of telling me I’m in control of my future. I made some bad decisions but now I have the control to take care of myself. Learning I had HIV just put a fire under my ass to accomplish things.

And I’m in great health. There’s people living with much worse.

Why did you decide to come out as positive on the show?

It was really so that I could help someone else going through the same thing. And I wanted my fans to understand that their idols aren’t superheroes. You can go through what I’m going through and not be scared.

Was it hard for you to talk about?

Honestly, I’ve been through so much—my mother being sick, my granddad… those things are a lot more touchy for me than my status. This is the first private thing about me that’s been shown on Drag Race, but I talk about a lot more. I hope there’s more to come— there’s more to me than being HIV-positive.

Did you plan on sharing your status?

I definitely didn’t plan to talk about it.  Once the show began, I realized I’d probably bring it up eventually, but I wasn’t sure when. I can’t even remember what sparked the conversation! [Laughs]

bianca adore trinity

Adore Delano, Trinity K. Bonet and Bianca Del Rio out of drag

I never actually saw that episode. We all handle things differently, but I know she’s been very brave in speaking about [HIV] and being a spokesperson for the community.

You’ve really surprised us this season, giving us glamor but also sci-fi and comedy. Is that part of your style or were you pushing yourself outside your comfort zone? 

I’m so not just what people think. I do Beyoncé because I’m good at it, but I am so many other things—I love costumes, l love characters, I love old drag. People immediately understand old drag. I think that’s why I come across as older on TV.

Which challenge has been your favorite so far? Which was your least favorite?

The first challenge—the party challenge—was my favorite. I thought I really rocked it. I think I should have won!

The toughest one was probably Ru-sical. I’ve never done a musical except in middle school, and you only have so much time to learn all the words and choreography. They don’t take two days to learn everything on Broadway. But I was excited about all of the challenges.

Were there any queens you really clicked with?

 Adore Delano, definitely. She came to one of my shows recently.  She would come and talk with me, whether the cameras were there or not.

 What message would you want to put out there for RuPaul’s Drag Race audience?

I want people to remember that we’re all human—we all go through things and deal with things differently. Im a fighter, a survivor. Ive been through more than people can possibly know. My life has really just begun.

And also, always have fire under your ass!


Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.