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Athlete Turned Actor Comes Out as HIV-positive

DeMarco Majors (Actor and out athlete, played pro basketball on the international circuit, He wrote, directed, stars in forthcoming movie, 7.)

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In videos, Majors seems much taller. “My coach thought the same thing in high school,” he says. “He had me listed as 6’3”.”

Majors kept practicing, and he got even better, eventually earning the moniker ‘The Helicopter’ for an amazing slam dunk he would do. He looked like a helicopter on the court, arms out, spinning, the ball in his palm. 

Despite all that, Majors says, “I had no confidence,” at least not until he moved to California for college. Then, he recalls, “I started to blossom a little bit more. Because that’s what happens to people. Once you get away from people and your past, and you’re actually on your own, you start dribbling a different way, you start thinking a different way, believing a different way.”

His senior year in college, he got the opportunity to play ball professionally — in Argentina. He jumped at the chance and eventually played in Australia, Brazil, and in Hawaii (in the American Basketball Association). He came out along the way, becoming one of a few publicly out gay pro basketball players in the world, and garnering a spot on the 2007 Out 100 list.

He’s since become a model and actor, starring first in the Logo reality show Shirts & Skins (about the all-gay basketball team The Rock Dogs), then in the stage adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s bestselling novel B-Boy Blues, directed by Stanley Bennett Clay. He was also the male lead in Beyoncé’s “Freakum Dress” video and had guest spots on Law & Order and Blue Bloods. Most recently, he wrote, directed, and stars in the forthcoming film, 7

The onetime underwear model has become a personal trainer, with a knack for motivating clients. He finds his own motivation, he insists, in his personal relationship with God. 

“As a little kid,” he says, “there was always a lot of shit that was going on in my family,” he recalls. “I had an imaginary friend [like] a lot of kids do, but my imaginary friend was God. I played Transformers with him. I played ball with him.” 

He says, “I still cling to those memories. They give me comfort.” And they helped him realize, “God’s message … was in me.”

A self-described loner, Majors says he “was always so worried about my mom, so worried about my sisters, because of all the things we had seen and were going through.” 

Even after he’d become a star, the athlete turned actor felt like his outward image was all a veneer, still hiding the scared little boy from Indiana and all he’d been through, “from the deepest, darkest depressions, suffering paranoid delusions, and hardships.” 

Then came a night Majors doesn’t remember, other than some guy telling him he was a doctor. When he woke up Majors discovered he had been drugged, sexually assaulted, and abandoned. Like a lot of survivors, he’s replayed the night over a hundred times in his head, wondering if he could have done something different.

“Just because you’re curious and you go off … and want to hook up with somebody … you never ask for someone to put something extra into your drink. People are hitting on you, you feel good, and every answer is ‘yes.’ You say ‘Yes’ to everything when you’re high. I didn’t say ‘No.’ But when you know that something has happened because you wake up somewhere and you’re looking around and you have no idea where you are — that’s the most terrifying feeling ever. And following that came the shame.”

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