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Chanse Kyle is #33 of Our Most Amazing HIV-Positive People of 2016

Chanse Kyle is #33 of Our Most Amazing HIV-Positive People of 2016

Chanse Kyle

This Southern boy proves you don't always have to leave home to find your chosen family.

Chanse Kyle is the exception that proves the rule. The young man and his boyfriend became an internet sensation after he came out as HIV-positive at the age of 19 and caught the eye of a number of blogs and celebrities who thought his story was remarkable.

It reminded everyone that the ground has shifted beneath us and now someone who is young, gay, and HIV-positive doesn’t have to run away to the big city— a journey oft repeated by LGBTQ youth who felt forced to leave their home towns — in order to live openly and safely, find love, and feel fulfilled.

Talking to Kyle, it’s easy to pine for the days when you were young and the world was open before you, and every moment seems like it would last forever. Despite his diagnosis, he and his (HIV-negative) boyfriend have stayed together, gotten engaged, and been fully supported by both their families.  

“I got to see how much my family cares about me when I tested HIV-positive,” Kyle told Queerty.  “My mom was really concerned and then she decided to throw me kind of a coming out party for our family. There were 20 people there, and we started pinning red ribbons on everybody. Then my mom says to everybody that I would need their support because I had tested positive, and she said how much she loves me.”

That’s the kind of supportive reaction people often don’t encounter when coming out as HIV-positive — or for that matter, gay.


Kyle and his boyfriend, Joshua Gault (above left), met on Jackd in the summer of 2013 and Kyle says, it was love at first sight. The serodiscordant couple, who live in Shreveport, Louisiana, were like any other teenagers in town: they walked the trail by the Red River; talked about all their favorite foods, movies, and activities; and discovered how much in common they had. Kyle says they each found that the other was what they’d been looking for.

Now 21, Kyle says their biggest worries are their upcoming nuptials, finding good jobs, and staying healthy (Gault  is on PrEP). The two spend their spare time volunteering at The Philadelphia Center in Shreveport, helping newly poz people deal with their HIV diagnoses.

Kyle just started working at Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken and his initial concern was that he wouldn’t get along with his co-workers, especially once they learned of his status. Instead, Kyle tells Plus, it turns out they feel more like a close knit family. “They can make a shift fly by as if it was nothing!” Kyle says. “And I’m grateful because I didn’t want to be stuck somewhere I regretted being every afternoon.”

That Kyle and Gault are living a fairy tale come to life is particularly telling because they are doing it in Louisiana, in the heart of the Deep South; an area of the country where we don’t often hear good news regarding either being gay or HIV-positive. At Plus it may be our job to regurgitate all those depressing facts and figures, but from now on, when we talk about the Deep South and HIV, I'll always associate it with Chanse and Josh.

And that will give me hope.

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