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.
I'm auditioning for Oliver! My mom found out that the local professional theatre is putting it on and auditions are really soon. All I have to do is learn one of the songs they provided and I could get the role of my dreams, the Artful Dodger! (Or the young female lead, the "rude yet flirtatious" Charlotte)
I've decided to go with Dodger's "Consider Yourself." My strength is belting, and the song is perfect for my range. I REALLY hope that I get the role. It would make my memories of this year much better. Plus, it could start me on the road to being the next Ethel Merman!
It's been way too long since I've been one here and I want to update things!
Last year I applied to a really good private school here, knowing that it was a long shot for me to get in. Really my mom did the applying but it was my friend Michael who made the suggestion. He goes there and his dad wrote a letter of recommendation for me. We also applied for financial aid, which we knew would also be a long shot.
We were told that the selections would be made in March, and we would hear by May 1st if I got in or not. It's been a tense wait!
This time I want to write about how I found out that Jake and Chase weren't exactly straight. My last journal was real tough to write, but I think this one will be easier.
Chase met Jake when third grade started and I think they were best friends from the moment they met. Jake was popular and outgoing, a great athlete and a good student, and a good person. We sat by each other on the school bus, and after school we were around each other when we could.
Until I remember that the universe is indifferent to the trivialities of mere mortals like myself. P.S: Buckle up. This is gonna be a long journal.
I came out of the closet to a friend, Robert. I almost chickened out, but he said “Bullshit, tell me what’s bothering you”. It was great! He said he didn’t care, and asked if I wanted to know some pick up lines. I asked him not to tell anybody, and he said he wouldn’t. Of course he asked some questions, like how do I know if I haven’t date anybody and who do I see myself marrying. Then he asked if I liked anybody, and before I said anything he guessed from my face that I do. He tried to guess a few names, and then I just told him Beth.
So me and this boy called Matthew have been speaking for a few months now; see Matthew is bisexual like me and its like hes me in another life because he goes through everything I go/have gone through!
Ive not made a journal entry in quiet a while so i have a lot of updating to do!
Let me start by saying Im a 14 year old boy and im bisexual, A few month ago i would of choked on those words but now im much more comfortable with myself although Im still learning about my sexuality I can deal with it better because of my personal acceptence.