It took 10 years for Los Angeles-based ABC News correspondent Karl Schmid to finally feel ready to tell the world that he is an HIV-positive man.
It took nearly no time for his emotional Facebook revelation last week one in which he declared that he has a big heart to take the Internet by storm.
I work in television, Schmid, whos 37 and from Australia, wrote. And on the side of the camera where, for better or worse its considered taboo for people like me to be like me.
Thats what media professionals drilled into his head as he made a living covering the Academy Awards and other entertainment events.
For 10 years Ive struggled with Do I or dont I? he said. For ten years the stigma and industry professionals have said, Dont! Itll ruin you. But heres the thing. Im me. Im just like you. I have a big heart and I want to be loved and accepted. I may be on TV from time to time, but at the end of the day Im just an average guy who wants want we all want. To be accepted and loved by our friends and family and to be encouraged by our peers.
So heres what I say, stand tall, and stand proud, he continued. You cant make everybody happy but you can make you happy. 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, thats up to you. 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 dont let anybody tell you otherwise. Im Karl Schmid, and Im an HIV-positive man!
Schmids open-hearted admission inspired a wave of responses, which, by his own account was very supportive.
Today has been insanely overwhelming, he posted. I had NO idea that me sharing something would have such an impact. For those of you who dmd with your stories THANK YOU.