As a support of the Dan Savage-led "It Gets Better" Project, it was great to see my composer friend (and future Tony Nominee) Jay Kuo assemble a lot of Broadway's young talent to capture this message in song. Check it out!
By Jeff Walsh
On last week's Project Runway, one of the best designers this season, Mondo Guerra, created his own fabric for the challenge. The pink fabric with the plus-sign design became high-waisted pants that won him his third challenge in a row. When he was asked about the inspiration for the print, he clammed up and just said it was very personal to him. Nina Garcia, one of the judges, said she wished she knew the story that inspired the fabric.
In that moment, Guerra's life changed. The 32-year-old designer made the decision to share what he had kept a secret for the past 10 years, one that his own family didn't even know. He is HIV-positive.
When Guerra said this, the designer had his fellow contestants crying, and as he finished speaking, you could literally see the weight coming off of his shoulders, and a designer we already adored became that much more human, vulnerable, and less troubled.
HIV is sort of this thing that we hear about, but it rarely is made real to us. I know people that have it, but it's like knowing someone with high blood pressure. They take some pills, and their life seems fine. But it is always important to remind ourselves that this is an important issue in our community, and one that should be taken seriously.
The youngest designer this season, Andy South (who we'll probably interview in Oasis before the season ends) is the same age now as Guerra was when he was became infected, so it really hit home for him. South was kind enough to share his thoughts with us on Guerra revealing his HIV status.
Whether you like Project Runway, fashion, or not, Guerra's story is still reinforcing a lesson that we all need to hear: that whatever private issue is burdening you in life is probably not worth the effort of keeping it a secret.
Here's what Mondo and I said this morning:
After seeing this past week's episode of Project Runway, where Mondo Guerra revealed he is HIV+ during the runway show, I knew I wanted to get him in Oasis (you can read my interview with Mondo here). I think HIV/AIDS is an important issue to bring up with LGBT youth whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Andy South is also gay and the youngest contestant on the show this season, which is why I already planned to feature him in Oasis as the season progressed. Because Andy is closest in age to the members of our site, I asked him to share his thoughts on Mondo revealing his HIV status on Project Runway last week. This is what he wrote:
"Mondo and I are 10 years apart in age, and knowing he has been living with HIV for that amount of time made me really think about where I am in my life. Mondo was infected when he was my age and it really opened my eyes to how unpredictable life is.
This coming out story --- together with its expressed uncertainties --- is posted in today's The Link ( student newspaper at Concordia University):
I found his story quite moving and eloquently expressed... very much reminiscent of what I might have expected from one of our one-time quite prolific Oasies™ who, if my memory serves me right, is (was?) also a student at Concordia...
And... as long as you have today's The Link open, you might as well take a look at this article:
Hey, guys. It's been a while since I've been around. I finished rewatching South of Nowhere tonight. It was a rage inducing show and the acting wasn't always the best but Spashley was cute as hell. :)
I'm Riley (my middle name), I'm 15, and live in Florida although I'm originally from Minnesota, moving here two years ago. While this is my first time writing on here, I've been a loyal Oasis reader for over a year now. I finally decided to stop lurking because I think it's time that I start being a part of the gay community, even if it's just online. I'm not out so using my first name on here isn't something I'm comfortable with just yet.
I missed my chance with death, I had the razor going down on my wrists, blinded by emotions, tears streaming down my face and my fucking brain told me to not do it tonight just because today my aunt had her birthday. Typical from me, missing my chances with good things just to make people happy. Anyways I made a tiny cut that will be hard to cover and another 10 that I'll have to explain in 2 weeks if they don't heal fast. I'm fucked up.
This day and last week had been so good (except my suicide night).
So I need to vent and I'm back.
For a while, my OasisJournals wouldn't work for me. Then it began working but I forgot to sign in. I'd remember to do so and then sit down to do it and forget. Which brings me to one of the main things I need to vent about.
I am having a ton of trouble with my memory. I'm not sure if its partially a social phobia/anxiety -related issue or what. But I forget what I'm saying in the middle of a sentence. And I've been very forgetful. I feel like I'm making less sense when I talk but I don't know if that's just a misperception I have.
hey can some people help me out? Ive been under alot of distress recently about who I am. I dont know if Im gay of Bi, or even straight. My sexuality feels like its changing. Like about two weeks ago I was constantly thinking about women. I was thinking about how beautiful they were. I loved everything about them. In fact during a festival that weekend I was over my friends house, and he has this foreign exchange student from saudi arabia and shes very pretty. She usually ignores me but this time she was talking to me, she made me some kind of tea.
After 7 deaths of students in one and a half years, a fanatically determined clutch of school board members who were "doing God's will" very begrudgingly relented after much kicking and screaming in the wake of public opinion and court orders.
Take heart! This is what can happen if sanity is allowed to prevail:
"Anoka-Hennepin schools: Gay bullying has eased after lawsuit settlement"