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.
Two lovers on the net, (one in Maryland and one in California) want to meet each other, but one is a young teen and the other is a young adult. Their parents are very particular about net safety and it's not an easy task buying a ticket and flying all the way across. Any good ideas as to how these two people could meet?
I lost my planner.
It's not at home. It's not at work. So far as I can tell, I left it somewhere in the stacks Thursday evening, after searching out the 1914 issue of Blast (vorticism was cool, man) and photocopying an article. This means it's lost. I am not about to search all 12 levels of the stacks for a single book-sized object. It probably got tossed out as it is.
I feel lost and twitchy without my omnipresent planner. I take it everywhere. It had all mes devoirs for the weekend clearly outlined in it. All my exams, quizzes and papers for the semester. My appointments, weekly and otherwise. Pertinent office hours. Special phone numbers. The weight room schedule.
So, supposing one is facing the reality that over the next year they will probably be out to most everyone, and one is what it is like to have random uptight relatives know...
In plain English:
Some of my aunts and uncles are really... wierd. And not in a supporting of diversity type way. They already don't really like me or my family, so I was just wondering if anyone who's out has a similar situation and what its like. I won't let this stand in my way of my coming out more, but it kind of bothers me. Mainly I think it will be really sad, since between them there are quite a few cute little cousins, if they decide that I'm some kind of a pervert and don't want me around my cousins. I don't see them often anyway, so I guess it wouldn't be such a big deal. But hey, this is what is on my mind right now.
I just Finished an MSN conversation with an old friend. We hung out from 1998-2000. The pinacle of my party and club daze. He moved away to Boston to work. I became lost in the scene. He was shy and quiet, staye dhome on weekends. I partied and thought it insane t stay home on a Saturday.
Time changes things. He is me and I am him. In five years, I have done and seen it all. I feel like I am 80. maybe in the twisted world of gay time.
After Oasis went down, I lost my little group of queer friends. Dealing with wild hormones with a bunch of heteros is not to be advised. But now, I can read others' blogs and know that I'm not alone any longer. My hormones can now be mollified.
Since breaking with Lauren I
For once, I actually DO something on Valentine's Day, and it turns into a less than stellar night! Now, it was still pretty damn good, but those that know me, know that less than stellar is about as low as I can go. I went to the mall with fun people, and we ended up going to a puzzle store, which made it extreemly pathetic. It was fun though. Then we went to my friend's band's show, and saw one REALLY good bandyperson, and got his CD, however, I had to leave before I got to see my friend's good band!
I had to leave, because I was supposed to go to a service project this morning, but it turned out that my friend's sketched out on me, and now I'm mildly screwd on when I can do my service, a graduation requirment. It was not good. I did listen to My Bloody Valentine, which cheered me up, in it's delicious irony! And now, I'm going to a formal dance at another school with no plans, with someone I don't know!