Prompted by the aunt destroyed to AIDS, “Queer Eye” celebrity Jai Rodriguez encourages “Positively Fearless” HIV understanding among Latino homosexual and bi males.
12, 2017 • By Trenton Straube october
As an adolescent when you look at the mid-1990s, Jai Rodriguez destroyed a beloved aunt to AIDS. Soon afterwards, he ended up being channeling her energy every evening on Broadway, inside the breakout part as Angel, the character that is HIV-positive the smash musical Rent. In the 20s, Rodriguez rocketed to fame that is global TV’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He’sn’t stopped working since—nor has he stopped speaking down for intimate health insurance and HIV understanding. Their adventure that is latest in advocacy can be a spokesman for the “Positively Fearless” campaign.
Launched by HIV med Prezcobix, “Positively Fearless” is designed to enable and teach Latino and Ebony males who possess sex with males (MSM). If present HIV prices remain constant, it is predicted this 1 in two Ebony MSM and something in four Latino MSM will undoubtedly be identified as having HIV within their lifetime—compared with 1 in 11 white MSM. So that it’s a timely and campaign that is important. We’re additionally when you look at the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, which started September 15, and we’re coming through to National Latinx AIDS understanding Day (NLAAD), marked yearly each October 15. Easily put, it is a fantastic time for you to meet up with Rodriguez. POZ talked he enjoyed a rare break from filming TV episodes of Wisdom of the Crowd and performing live in the Las Vegas show Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man with him while.
We gotta ask, do you really and costar Kendra Wilkinson provide up genuine intercourse recommendations in your Las Las Vegas show? And would you mention safer intercourse?
Yes! We do. There’s no profanity, but we utilize colorful language and charts that are biological. We don’t speak about intercourse too much—it’s more info on foreplay—but we do be in recommendations to condoms and euphemisms that are playful them.
In taking a look at your bio, I happened to be struck by most of the advocacy that is sex-positive your gear.
Real. About seven years back, I happened to be cocreator of a set for Logo called Bad Intercourse starring my boyfriend during the time, Dr. Chris Donaghue—he’s a professional sex specialist and a cohost on Loveline as well as other shows—we were together, like, 36 months. It went two periods, nonetheless it did effect exactly exactly exactly how We see peoples sex therefore the real way i approach advocacy. I’ve been doing HIV advocacy since 1996, and thus if you were to think about any of it, it is over 2 decades.
Exactly How do you first find out about HIV and acquire taking part in that really work?
It absolutely was at an intimate degree after losing my aunt and cousin to AIDS and then a natural tie-in playing the HIV-positive character Angel in Rent on Broadway for half of a ten years. My aunt arrived on the scene as HIV good once I was, i do believe, 15. Whenever Thanksgiving arrived around, she invited overall her siblings and parents and nieces and nephews avove the age of 16, and she arrived on the scene and stated she had been needs to lose her eyesight and would want more help. She had been seeing buddies and young ones she met in hospitals expire, therefore she pulled by by herself and my cousins off meds. There was clearly no vocals of explanation inside her care that is medical she simply threw in the towel on medicine. My relative died first, then the months that are few she did. I became 16. She passed away during summer of 1997, also it really did influence the form of my life.
Demonstrably, you’re really open about any of it experience, but just just exactly how did the rest of the household respond?
To the day—to this very day! —I cannot cause them to publish on Twitter that I’m doing an AIDS Walk in honor of my aunt. To the they will not post or talk about the fact that a member of our family died of it day. It really is entrenched such pity.
I’ve never ever felt it. But aafter her death, I had an opportunity to channel my aunt’s energy through Angel in Rent year. Which was my method of grieving and going ahead. Perhaps I’d an advantage that is unfair but it addittionally helped me fulfill lots of people infected and suffering from the herpes virus, and I also became educated about this. Perhaps we reside in a location where I have more people who are understanding and educated about it than my family today. However their standard of pity is difficult in my situation.
Do you believe this kind of pity around HIV is typical various other Latino families plus in the Latino community?
Definitely! There ended up being a degree of “It’s not suggested to occur to her. She’s from Longer Island. She had young ones, a ship, a property. It takes place to many other individuals since they did something bad. ” and thus that is type of the mindset I spent my youth with, and if people still adhere to that, then I am able to observe how their choices might reflect that.
And I also saw this entire variety of problems that included an HIV diagnosis as well as the shame. We viewed my aunt head to a dental practitioner, and I also saw the dentist wear several pairs of gloves in the front of my aunt—when it is simply for a cleaning—because that is routine ended up being petrified. She was watched by me eyes well up with rips of pity. On Mother’s Day, my mother brought her, at hospice—she ended up beingn’t fragile or sick-looking, but is at a hospice—we had been planning to church or something like that, and my aunt believed to my mom, “I can’t get in medical center garments. Can you will get me something? ” So my mother did and covered it as a Mother’s gift day. It absolutely was a red sweatshirt and sweatpants, and my aunt saw them and cried. My mother said, “What’s incorrect? ” My aunt stated, “You’re dealing with me personally like someone rather than a individual. I would like to feel just like a lady once again and placed on pantyhose. ” I am going to always remember that minute must be 12 months later I’m singing, “Will We lose my dignity? / Will someone care? ”
Just how other individuals treat this virus additionally the stigma connected is practically since terrible as the herpes virus it self. The pity is paralyzing—it causes visitors to will not get tested and take therapy. And also the shame and fear are greater within the Latino community. We can’t image how you’d feel if you’re a new Latino man, and you also learned your status, with no one in your loved ones has understood anyone with HIV as well as talked absolutely about any of it. In your community we are able to fare better, that’s why this campaign is loved by me, as well as the name is ideal.
If data continue the way they’re going, one in four Latino males who possess intercourse with males will test good. And we also have therefore numerous ways to prevent transmission when you have the information. I’ve been achieving this work with twenty years, but I’m the first to ever raise my hand and state i did son’t realize that HIV rates had been rising among Latino and Black males who possess intercourse with men—you could say gay and bisexual, but a lot of men don’t determine as that. We actually really did believe that infections were heading down universally, therefore it became an issue that is personal me personally. It might have already been me personally among the main one in four if I had maybe not witnessed someone dying with this.
Finally, where can our readers see you?
I’m presently on Dice (Andrew Dice Clay’s show) on Showtime. We perform David Silva on Jeremy Piven’s drama on CBS, Wisdom regarding the audience. I’m on Twitter and Snapchat and Instagram. I’ve got the Las Las Vegas show six days per week. There’s Grey’s Anatomy, The Magicians. It is attractive to be working—and become placing my noisy lips to good usage!
For lots more concerning the campaign, check out PositivelyFearless.com. And also to browse the POZ meeting with other representative Todrick Hall, read “Look everything you Made Todrick Hall Do…for HIV Awareness! ”
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