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.
Ever since i came out to my parents my life has changed a lot. They doubt me soo much that i find myself know doubting myself too. I know if i begin to doubt myself my life is gonna get a lot worse. For a while the only thing keeping me semi strong was my very firm understanding of myself. But now as i start to lose that i can almost see myself traveling back in time. I didn't eat for a couple of days and i cut again.
Today is the first day in all i can remeber, where if a knife were in my hand i would not cut. It is a new feeling for me, i feel very alive for once, for the first time in ages i am living, not just alive and breathing, but real living. i love it. I mean i am not super happy i still have problems, but for some reason this night is different and calm in some sense. i like it, i like looking forward to the future instead of dreding it, i like living.
Finished running. Tonight
Earlier this evening I started moaning to myself about missing Rick. I was reminded of all the great stuff in our relationship that I miss, and I would have given anything at that moment to simply hear his voice again.
Why is it that when I have the most free time, I get the least amount of work done?
In my dream something had happened, I don't know what maybe nothing, and I found myself outside a building on the campus of my sister's school (a long way from where I live). I was really sda and really worn from school to the point that when I saw her I just hugged her adn started crying. suddenlly my mom and grandmom were there as well and the building became some sort of mix between Urban Outfitters and Ikea. They were shopping for her and I was just standing around there trying to pull myself together. It was like when i would freak out as a little kid. I have no clue what this means.