While Eugene says he's known he was gay since he was 6 years old, he didn't come out until he left Williamson. "You can be gay here in West Virginia, but it's more [of an on the down low] kind of thing. There's a lot of that here," he says. "I just had to go."
Eugene says Mike's public fight made it easier for him to come out and accept his true self. "[He's] a hero. It takes a lot of guts to get on The Oprah Winfrey Show and say you're gay in 1987," he says. "I'm an HIV positive guy. ... My family supports me; they love me. Nobody frowns on me; my friends know. And now the town will know."
Watch how Mike's story inspired another viewer.