A gay Atlanta drag performer and HIV activist was arrested and charged with exposing a person to HIV after he allegedly had sex with a man who later told police.
Sheriff's deputies arrested Tyler McKenzie Orr, 24, on Thursday, two weeks after a former sex partner told authorities that he and Orr had unprotected sex in December. The man told investigators that he later discovered Orr is HIV-positive but that he didn't inform him of his status prior to having sex together twice.
Orr faces two counts of exposing another person to HIV, which is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 10 years in prison, according to Greenville Online. Gay and HIV activists criticize such laws, saying they prevent people from getting tested and further stigmatize people with the disease.
Orr has lived in Atlanta, but the native of South Carolina recently returned to the state and started performing in gay clubs in Greenville and Spartanburg. Orr performs as drag queen Erika Jaylon Dupree.
He was arrested on Thursday at his home in Walhalla, S.C. The small city near Interstate 85 is close to the border of Georgia and South Carolina and about 120 miles from Atlanta. Orr remains jailed in the Oconee County Detention Center.
The Sheriff’s Office began its investigation after an officer spoke with the victim on February 5th. The victim revealed to the officer that he had unprotected sex with Orr on two occasions, December 11th and December 15th of 2014, at the Fairfield Road address.
The victim told deputies that he later learned that Orr was HIV positive. Investigators determined that Orr was HIV positive prior to having sex with the victim but did not notify him of such.
Orr said he attended the Georgia GSA Summit on Feb. 7 at Agnes Scott College in Decatur. The day-long event addressed LGBT health, advocacy and social justice. He is also an HIV activist who has publicly discussed being HIV-positive and created a video for #SpeakOutHIV, an effort by Greater Than AIDS to combat HIV stigma.