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.
There were no goodbyes scrawled
on the bed frame,
no apologies painted on the floor
with tea and chalk.
Those words didn't
exist in your vocabulary, lover,
because you weren't
supposed to feel anything.
But then I came along with
my searching blue eyes and
demanding lips and you couldn't
just get rid of me like all the rest, no..
The seductive rain hit the windows
with an angry hand and made
the sky shrivel up like vanilla skin
and we stripped off our clothes
under a cluster of police lights;
strawberry red and turquoise fear.
You kissed my mouth like a Sadie
I'm not sure how I feel about everything that's happend this week. But from what I can tell is that this must be the smoothest week I've had in a few months. Nothing big or insane happened but nothing bland or dull either. Should it be left up to me, yes I'm quite content. However one will always be slightly non.
from black to blue to bluer still
you wanted higher, but
i'd rather stay
I don't think I've written about this, but I got two records at this awesome store in Cambridge, Massachusetts: Coexist: Deluxe Version by the xx and F#A#∞ by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, which is by far the coolest record I have ever seen. It was less than $20 and it came with more stuff than any other record I know of, at least for the price. They are the best band to get on vinyl (followed closely by Neutral Milk Hotel).
Also, I'm going with a friend to see Animal Collective in concert in June, so fuck yeah.
Onto the most recent event:
Legend of Dawn by: Kazukiyo Nishikiori
I knew there must be something wrong with my sexuality when I was young.. It even became stronger during the prepubescent years until I became a teenager.. As a Christian I knew definitely that something like this is not tolerable and though contemporary views that sprouted obviously defend that it's alright to be gay.. I decided to come out when I was a young adult but all I had afterwards were regrets... I've never been in a serious relationship in either gender but I have done some not so serious things with the same gender.. I knew it's wrong but my urges eventually get me..
Things will probably be the same on the outside yet on the inside there is doubt and concern. Unfounded? perhaps, but it is also not out of the realm of possibility that there be founded doubt and concern. One's thoughts can keep one awake at night. Anxiety, stress, concern, lonelyness, struggle, wants, needs... All can keep one from sleep.