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.
What a weekend... well, Ilana and I aren't dating anymore. I can't stand the long distance, this is for good. There is no going back now. 6 months and some odd days... I'll never forget that time, and we are still going to be very good friends. ((Rachelle... you are going to hurt me...:)))
Let's see, how do I say this. First of all I can't identify as lesbian anymore... all because of Zach.
Ladies and Gentlemen, your advice please.... *drum role, please*... we have three choices.... three choices to help moi on my quest to rejoin the civilized world. Read on (n.b. free food:))
So for the first time in a long time today, I was really depressed. It's almost always been an issue, but today it was so much worse than usual. I guess it started when I woke up late today so I could finish up a paper for english. Which ended up being a 3.5 page paper (go me :)), but I missed my favorite period, ceramics. Well, I went to school and shit, got through the day (it wasnt so bad) but then I had to go to the bank after school to cash my pay-check.
How can I express my love to you?
I love you in a way few can even fathom.
I had the weirdest dream ever while napping! But that shall come later. I had an unusual day! First of all, it is the most Februaryish day that ever Februaryed in the long prominent history of Februarying. In other words, it looked like a cold London day, with a constant misty rain falling, and no light at all. It was slippery, and I almost died several times going to school. Then a friend was angry at me, but it was something that wasn't my fault, so no drama ensued, unfortunatly. I was also in the newspaper for some article my friend wrote, which was neat! But I hadn't read it until just now. It was really good!
First it was him
And then it was me
And now its you
It spread like a disease
and now it effects us all
We all were looking for a way out
Or maybe we were jealous of the attention he got
He was the weirdest of us all
His pain was noticed and we still blended in with the rest
Then we each had cuts to match
A cut for each ounce of self-hatred
A cut to numb
A cut to show the world what we experienced