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.
Trevor broke up with me, but I haven't cried or cut myself or anything. I think I realized I mixed up love and lust. I'm starting to think I will never find love.
Rachael still likes me and I really like her. But she hasn't asked me out again, and I'm kinda afraid to ask her out. She's one of my best friends and I don't want to lose that.
Joey hasn't said anything about going out, and he's acting like a jackass, so I say: fuck him and not literally.
*smirk...grimace* Does anyone know where the bathroom in this place is? Thanks.
Ah yes, I knew you would be frustrated. And I know I've been gone a HELLUVA long time. But don't worry, I haven't changed much, aside from a recent personality disorder I've developed. Yes. Anyhow, It's 4:30, I've been doing Public Policy problem sets for the last three hours, and I will certainly give you a much more adequate update sometime tomorrow. *MUAH* I love you all. And Lauren...*waves frantically* I'm right here!
Normal ramblings of a confused child with so much hope yet so little future................................................................don't click here..............blah blah blah........read on
Tonight I hurt someone really badly. I risked loosing them and their love, along with their trust. I did something really horrible, which I regret, and what's worse is that I did it to protect myself. I made that person cry, I messed with their mind, and I feel like killing myself. I never in my wildest dreams, thought someone could cry over me, let alone someone who has known me for less than a month.
hmmmm....Well i am really fucked up. I have scars on my writs from when i couldn't handle the pian inside. I wanted to hurt myself even more i stopped eating and lost 12 pounds in 2 months. I have a really fucked up realationship with my parents. And i fucked up my realationship with the only person in the world who i thought truly cared about, and the wrost part is i know i am the one who fucked it up. I really just want it all to go back to when i wasn't fucked up, when i loved my parents, when they loved me.
me gods. 12 days and counting. that means that there will be at least 12 more rants...LOL.
Maggie complaining. It happens sometimes.