Love them or hate them, the Shannon Thompson family has catapulted to international stardom for nothing more than being their normal, everyday selves. Sure, the majority of people think that their normal, everyday selves are unhealthy and a bit gross, but nonetheless, they truly seem to love and accept one another.
Now the crew from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is facing some sad news, but something tells me the family is going to pull through it even stronger. Sugar Bear's brother and Alana Thompson's beloved Uncle Poodle, Lee Thompson, has just announced that he is HIV positive. In an interview Poodle explains that he wants to use his diagnosis as a platform to put an end to bullying.
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR MORE!
Speaking to Fenuxe, Poodle reveals that his former boyfriend infected him, and he touts the importance of being regularly tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Poodle has always been adamant about being tested, and two months after receiving negative test results, he tested positive. He hopes to use his story to promote the importance of safe sex and an anti-bulling campaign. Poodle also discusses what it's like to come out as gay in a small Southern town, as well as his future plans. You guessed it…he wants his own show!
Lee, when did you find out about your HIV status?
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.
What happened to your ex?
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.
What is your message to folks having unsafe sex?
They are damn fools! They are playing Russian roulette; they are playing with their lives and that of their sexual partners.
When did you figure out you were gay?
When I was 16 I knew it. I went to my mother and told her. A mother almost always knows.
How did your immediate family take this news?
My mother was supportive from the beginning. My father struggled with it for about four years. I think one of the main reasons was that he wanted grandchildren from me. But when I was about 20 he told me he accepted me as I was.
Did you also come out in school? What were the repercussions?
I came out in school around 11th or 12th grade. It was definitely not easy for me. On a daily basis I was bullied in one way or another. There was name calling and physical harm all the way to the vandalizing of my car. Being bullied was just a part of my every day.
What do you advise youngsters to do if they are realizing they may be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender?
My advice is to seek out their parents or an adult they trust. I would not advise them to go public or share the information with their schools until they feel safe and comfortable. They will know when the time is right.
Do you have plans to contribute to anti-bullying campaigns as you did with GLAAD and promote safe sex, possibly even do talks in schools?
Definitely! 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.
What are your future plans in the television industry?
I want to have my own television show and highlight what it is like being gay in the south. I think I have a good story to tell.
One last question: where did the nickname “Uncle Poodle” come from?
From Alana. She calls all gay men “my poodles” and I am her Uncle Poodle.
I really like Poodle, and I do think he's very sincere in wanting to help promote equality and tolerance. I am sure there are so many people who will benefit from his efforts. His family will no doubt be behind him every step of the way, because that is what this crew does…they support each other one hundred percent. And speaking of family, Mama June wants to make sure her show stays centered on just that, even if it means banning a dear friend from appearing in the future.
We've all met Crazy Tony, and the Shannon-Thompson brood were the ones laughing the loudest at his insane antics and ridiculous pranks. However, when he was recently arrested for a prank which involved a man wearing a gorilla suit and scaring drivers on the freeway, June didn't find it hilarious at all.
June tells TMZ that Tony will no longer be featured on HBB. She says, "Crazy Tony's just a family friend … who is just crazy. We love him as a friend … but that was a crazy story."
The redneck matriarch continues, "Not trying to be mean, but we want to keep it family oriented."
Of course Crazy Tony is saddened by this news, adding that "TV's changed that family." Sure it has…but has he ever seen the Kardashians?
TELL US-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF UNCLE POODLE'S INTERVIEW? DO YOU THINK BEING ON TELEVISION HAS CHANGED THE FAMILY?
[Photo Credit: TLC]