The more I learn about Lee “Uncle Poodle” Thompson, uncle to TLC’s Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, the more I think he’s a brave, kind, and all-around great guy for kids (gay or straight) to look up to.
We already know that Thompson dealt with horrible bullying as a gay teen growing up in the south, and came out stronger at the end of it. Now, he’s an advocate for bullied kids everywhere. And in a new interview with gay site Fenuxe, he reveals that he is also living with HIV, which he got from an ex:
I was adamant about getting my HIV status checked on a regular basis. On March 16, 2012, I tested negative. Then, in May of 2012 my test results came back positive. I knew it had been my boyfriend who infected me. I later learned he had been HIV positive and was not taking medication and had not bothered to tell me about it. I was advised that I should press charges and, hesitantly, I did. It was the right thing to do.
He is serving a 5-year sentence. I would have been cool with his HIV status if he had been honest. I don’t have an issue with the disease. I would have known how to protect myself.
How hard must it have been for Lee to 1.) find out his boyfriend had withheld important information from him, giving him a serious but preventable disease, and 2.) press charges against someone he presumably still had feelings for? That sounds awful. But it seems like he handled it with maturity and bravery.
The conversation quickly turned back to bullying, with Lee talking about what gay teens should do if they’re afraid of being victimized. He said he also plans to work with GLAAD and other programs to give talks on bullying and safe sex to school kids:
“I know what it is like to be bullied. I know what it is like to live with HIV. I can help and I want to.”
I love Alana and Mama June as much as the next person who likes to watch people be genuinely wacky on TV, but Lee might just be my favorite break-out star of the show. The man has not had an easy life, but he has heart to spare.
Photo: Lee Thompson