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.
I'm pretty new at the entire blog scene... I'm guessing it sorta works like an online journal... rants, secrets, all that jazz go in here or something right?
Well... I have nothing much to say at the moment... since we've been hit with a huge snow storm and have been snowed in since Monday... we've been off since last Friday and so on and so forth... hopefully we get of Friday as well... I'm sorta sitting on a raft in the middle of nowhere (in my mind) right now, so.... until next time
Nothing will change that much as far as what I do here, except all of my diary entries and such will now be on my personal site.
I've fallen in love with Tom of Finland. Lads, chech him out, he's a very dirty bit of gay history.
Hehe....My crush and me are going out now. Rachael is my best friend and now she's my girlfriend, too. But she's dating Josh and Daniel, too. Daniel knows about me, but Josh doesn't know about either of us. Lol...
I wrote James a letter. I really regret breaking up with him back at Christmas. :( I think I fell in love with him over then, but didn't realize it. But he's going out with Stacy, my ex-best friend.
I need a man. I need someone to be romantically involved with. At school everyday I see these guys that I think are gay/bi and I wish that they would just come out of the freaking closet. Then I remind myself that I, too, am in the closet. I want to come out to my school so badly, but I don't know how long I'll be able to carry the burden of being the only "out" person there. I was giving blood at my school's biannual blood drive and I sat next to a friend whom I see rarely anymore and she asks if there are any girls in my life. I wanted to tell her that I was gay because I knew she would be okay with it, but I was worrying about everyone around me freaking out, or worse yet, the nurses ripping the IV out of my arm and accusing me of having AIDS.
Such a perfect day today, blue sky nice cool air. Not bad at all. Except...
I took alot of films more like 2 or 3 films in Florida vacation. Guess what? It came back doubled up. Supposely my parent said it was new and never used. I used it, then it came out photo onto another photo. I was really really upset and expected it to be perfect photos. So now all you can see is another photo ontop another photo. Theres a family in the bg, then theres Florida ontop , kinda blurred together. URG. Just perfect! Not. So its wasted. Saddly enough, it ended me being upset over it. Oh well.