During her initial run on season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Trinity K. Bonét (a.k.a. Joshua Jamal Jones, who, like most queens, uses female pronouns for his drag persona) impressed viewers with her top-notch lip sync skills. With her performances and polish, she built herself into the lore of the series as one of the top lip sync assassins. But she also let fans into her personal life as she revealed she is living with HIV. She did this in an episode of the aftershow Untucked and became the second queen in series history to do so (Drag Race season 2 contestant Ongina revealed she was living with HIV on the main stage in 2009).
Fast forward to season 6 of All Stars this year, when Bonét chose once again to speak out about living with HIV, this time bringing a strong message about U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable).
In a particular challenge, the queens placed themselves into groups and produced segments of “Pink Table Talk,” a chat show modeled off of Jada Pinkett-Smith’s popular Facebook series, Red Table Talk. Bonét was matched with A’keria C. Davenport and Eureka O’Hara, and were given the topic of sex to discuss. While Davenport took the segment to talk about having a feminine body due to previously living as a trans woman, Bonét spoke about attitudes around HIV.
“The thing about me when it comes to sex, is in my particular community, it’s very taboo when it comes to being open and honest about their status,” she said. “Being a person who is openly HIV-positive, for a long time I was a lot of secrets for a lot of people. But I’m nobody’s secret. I’m successful, I got my shit together, I’m good in bed. I’m taking care of myself — I’m undetectable which is untransmittable.
“There’s a lot of people out here who are not educated that you can be with someone who is HIV-positive if they are undetectable and not catch the virus,” she continued. “Thank you for that and I definitely tip my wig to you,” Davenport responded in the roundtable-style discussion. “A lot of people are afraid to acknowledge that they are HIV-positive because of the stigma that we live in in this world.”
Throughout her career, Bonét has functioned as a high-profile activist around various HIV-related efforts as well as the BLM movement. In addition to bringing awareness to HIV facts on international TV, she has participated in Slay Stigma (a drag tour across Canada to raise awareness about HIV), worked with the organization LetsGetChecked, and headlined events like Rock The Know on Worlds AIDS Day.