Karl Schmid — Photo: Facebook
“For anyone who has ever doubted themselves because of those scary three letters and one symbol, let me tell you this, you are somebody who matters.”
—Karl Schmid, a reporter for ABC’s Los Angeles affiliate, coming out as HIV positive via social media.
Schmid, 37, made the decision to come out after living with HIV for ten years, and did so despite being urged to remain quiet by “industry professionals.”
“For [ten] years I’ve struggled with ‘do I or don’t I’?” Schmid wrote. “For ten years the stigma and industry professionals have said, ‘don’t! It’ll ruin you’.”
“Here’s the thing. I’m me. I’m just like you. I have a big heart and I want to be loved and accepted,” he continued. “I may be on TV from time to time, but at the end of the day I’m just an average guy who wants [what] we all want. To be accepted and loved by our friends and family and to be encouraged by our peers.”
Schmid said that he will “stand tall and stand proud” now that he is free from hiding who he is.
“You can’t make everybody happy but you can make you happy,” he said. “And so long as you tell the truth, you will never have to remember anything. Labels are things that come and go but your dignity and who you are is what defines you.
“I know who I am, I know what I stand for and while in the past I may not have always had clarity, I do now. Love me or hate me, that’s up to you,” Schmid continued. “But, for anyone who has ever doubted themselves because of those scary three letters and one symbol, let me tell you this, you are somebody who matters. Your feelings, your thoughts, your emotions count. And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
In the picture Schmid shared with his posts, he is wearing a T-shirt from the Instagram page @theaidsmemorial, a social media page dedicated to victims lost to HIV/AIDS.
The response to Schmid’s post has been overwhelmingly supportive, with many congratulating him for providing visibility for those with HIV and being brave enough to share his story.
In response to all the support, Schmid posted a follow up photo, saying the response has been “insanely overwhelming.” “I had NO idea that me sharing something would have such an impact,” he said. “For those of you who [messaged] with your stories THANK YOU.”