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.
Just the fact that you are able to read this is a miracle, a side effect of four teens who overcame their deepest pain to try to do something positive.
If I've lost you here, bear with me. You may see a bit of yourself in what we have to say.
My name's Alex, I'm thirteen, and I live in the middle of nowhere in a small town just like many other small towns in our country. I can't use any real names here, but what I write is true. I have hopes, dreams, and secrets.
Actually, too many secrets. Which is part of why I'm here tonight, pouring out my soul.
My lost soul.
This is so wrong.
So very fucking wrong.
What happened in Boston... shocked me. Jarred me. Disturbed me. Honestly, I haven't a good word for the feeling.
i would just like to be quiet with someone who understands the ways of why i can't continue right now, i feel so anchored to something which wants to keep me unwell. how do you cope with such a strange and frightening body? i hate it, i hate it! i don't want to take too-many medicines. i don't want to be afraid of turning the page.
i need to believe in love like some people believe in faerie-tales but more often than not i find myself even more alone within it. i wish you could visit me more often, i can't stand waiting in this springtime.
I'm sure everyone has heard by now what happened at the hallowed Boston Marathon, so I won't bore you with the details. There's an inordinate amount of information online and elsewhere, some of which is true, some not exactly correct. Make no mistake, this was indeed an act of terror, it's just too early to make assumptions on who's responsible. Fortunately, the people of Boston and surrounding communities are pretty tough, Literally and figuratively. This is the kind of shit that just embolden's Bostonians to act.
... we're back up and running.
I've snagged the best cast ever! My crush, as it turns out, loves Buffy & will be playing one of the lesbians. Hope against hope she comes out using the role...Also, I've filled the other roles with older kids who are starring in the current musical and stuff. The boy playing my romantic interest can even play guitar.
I'm so excited! I actually get to play Buffy! Outside of my shower! In front of people! My voice is perfect for the role and all the cool kids will be in it, which makes me one of them!
We have a FaceBook group and everything.
Incase the thread's 404'd, here's the archive:
Well, I'm no longer a /mu/tant. People are going to be calling me a /mu/slim now.
Anyway, I went to the record store again last Saturday and got Yanqui U.X.O. by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Glow Pt. 2 by The Microphones, the Andrew Jackson Jihad/O Pioneers!!! split, and the collector's edition of Until the Quiet Comes by Flying Lotus.