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.
Thanks to all who read and left notes for my first journal entry, it's great to know that people here understand and care.
I've decided, with the urging of my brothers, to write a separate journal about how each of us met, which will lead to how we ended up being brothers.
I was three when my mom died, and honestly I don't remember her much. Fortunately we have lots of pictures of her, but otherwise she's just an illusion to me.
This will likely "strike home" for more than just a few Oasies™. The longing to be important in the life of another is well portrayed!
Let me tell you, my step-mother was a nasty piece of work. Greedy, manipulative, conniving and evil. She had given birth, the result of her first trap, to a male reptile two years younger than I. A boy who would live his life just as protected and probably even more swaddled outside of her womb as he was when he was still at the larva stage of his development.
Hey everyone. I'm back again. I've been pretty sick. I will probably get surgery in the next month or so. I hope it'll make me better. I might have to stop dancing for awhile. It's pretty depressing. I'll live though.
In the summer, the weed will ascend through the air, drifting in the comfort of the breezes that puncture the heat.
To avoid wilting, dig through the basic soil and lift the vegetation. Separate the roots and hold the leaves in the heat of the sun. As the acid pours from a cloudless sky, allow the plant to metamorphose and play with imaginary letters in a disillusioned Heaven.
As the music stops, pull the television chord and allow the Earth to choke to death.
The needles and discs of PVC were the harbingers of transcendence.
Today in my Acting class we were doing our autodramas
for those of you who don't know an Autodrama is when you create a play for your self and whoever you want to pull into it and really the only rule is that the play has to be about you or some part of your life, and I decided to make my play into a sort of coming out story.