Encouraged by the aunt destroyed to AIDS, “Queer Eye” celebrity Jai Rodriguez encourages “Positively Fearless” HIV understanding among Latino homosexual and bi guys.
October 12, 2017 • By Trenton Straube
As a teen within the mid-1990s, Jai Rodriguez destroyed an aunt that is beloved AIDS. Soon later, he ended up being channeling her energy each night on Broadway, inside the breakout part as Angel, the character that is HIV-positive the smash musical lease. In the 20s, Rodriguez rocketed to fame that is global TV’s Queer Eye for the directly Guy. He’sn’t stopped working since—nor has he stopped talking away for intimate health insurance and HIV understanding. His latest adventure in advocacy can be a spokesman for the “Positively Fearless” campaign.
Launched by HIV med Prezcobix, “Positively Fearless” is designed to enable and educate Latino and Ebony males who possess intercourse with males (MSM). If present HIV prices stay constant, it is predicted any particular one in 2 Black MSM plus one in four Latino MSM are identified as having HIV inside their lifetime—compared with 1 in 11 white MSM. Therefore it’s a timely and campaign that how to change profile picture on seeking arrangement is important. We’re additionally when you look at the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, which began September 15, and we’re coming through to National Latinx AIDS understanding Day (NLAAD), marked yearly each October 15. Simply put, it is an amazing time for you to meet up with Rodriguez. POZ talked with him while he enjoyed an uncommon break from filming television episodes of Wisdom associated with the audience and doing are now living in the Las vegas, nevada show Intercourse recommendations for Straight ladies from the Gay guy.
We gotta ask, do you realy and costar Kendra Wilkinson serve up genuine intercourse guidelines in your Las 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 references to condoms and playful euphemisms for them.
In considering your bio, I became struck by most of the advocacy that is sex-positive your belt.
Real. A certified sex therapist and a cohost on Loveline and other shows—we were together, like, three years about seven years ago, I was cocreator of a series for Logo called Bad Sex starring my boyfriend at the time, Dr. Chris Donaghue—he’s. It went two periods, nonetheless it did effect exactly exactly exactly how We see human being sexuality together with means We approach advocacy. I’ve been doing HIV advocacy since 1996, therefore if you believe about any of it, it is over 2 full decades.
Just just How do you first read about HIV and acquire involved with that work?
It absolutely was at an intimate degree after losing my aunt and relative to AIDS and then a natural tie-in playing the HIV-positive character Angel in lease on Broadway for half of a ten years. My aunt arrived as HIV good once I ended up being, i believe, 15. Whenever Thanksgiving arrived around, she invited over-all her siblings and parents and nieces and nephews over the age of 16, and she arrived on the scene and stated she ended up being just starting to lose her eyesight and would require more help. She ended up being friends that are seeing kids she came across in hospitals expire, therefore she pulled by herself and my cousins off meds. There was clearly no vocals of explanation in her own care that is medical she simply quit on medicine. My cousin died first, then a couple of months later on she did. I happened to be 16. She passed away into the summer time of 1997, and it also actually did affect the form of my entire life.
Demonstrably, you’re really open about that experience, but exactly just how did the remainder family respond?
To the day—to this very daythem to post on Facebook that I’m doing an AIDS Walk in honor of my aunt! — I cannot get. To the they will not post or talk about the fact that a member of our family died of it day. It’s entrenched such shame.
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. That has been my means of moving and grieving ahead. Perhaps I had a unjust benefit, but it addittionally helped me fulfill a large number of individuals infected and suffering from herpes, and I also became educated about this. Perhaps we are now living in a location where I have more people who are understanding and educated about it than my family today. However their amount of shame is difficult for me personally.
Do this sort is thought by you of pity around HIV is typical in other Latino families plus in the Latino community?
Absolutely! There ended up being a degree of “It’s not suggested to occur to her. She’s from Long Island. She had children, a watercraft, a property. It occurs to many other individuals simply because they did one thing bad. ” And thus that is sort of the mindset I spent my youth with, and if individuals still comply with that, then i could observe how their alternatives might reflect that.
And I also saw this entire selection of dilemmas that was included with an HIV diagnosis while the shame. We viewed my aunt head to a dental practitioner, and I also saw the dentist placed on a few pairs of gloves in the front of my aunt—when it is only for a routine cleaning—because he was petrified. I watched her 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 were planning to church or something like that, and my aunt believed to my mom, “I can’t get in medical center clothing. Can I am got by you one thing? ” Therefore my mother did and covered it as a Mother’s Day present. It absolutely was a sweatshirt that is pink sweatpants, and my aunt saw them and cried. My mother said, “What’s incorrect? ” My aunt stated, “You’re dealing with me personally like an individual rather than an individual. I do want to feel just like a female once once again and placed on pantyhose. ” I shall remember that minute just because a later I’m singing, “Will I lose my dignity year? / Will someone care? ”
The way in which other folks regard this virus while the stigma attached 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 fear and pity are greater within the Latino community. We can’t image how you’d feel if you should be a new Latino guy, and also you found out your status, with no one in family has understood you aren’t HIV and on occasion even talked definitely about this. Inside our community we are able to fare better, that is why I adore this campaign, together with name is ideal.
If data keep working the way they’re going, one out of four Latino males who possess intercourse with males will test good. Therefore we have actually therefore numerous ways to avoid 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 Ebony males who possess intercourse with men—you could say homosexual and bisexual, but a lot of men don’t determine as that. We seriously actually did believe that infections had been taking place universally, so it became an issue that is personal me personally. It might have already been me among usually the one in four if I’d maybe maybe not witnessed someone dying out of this.
Finally, where can our visitors see you?
I’m currently on Dice (Andrew Dice Clay’s show) on Showtime. We perform David Silva on Jeremy Piven’s drama on CBS, Wisdom associated with the audience. I’m on Twitter and Snapchat and Instagram. I’ve got the Las Las Vegas show six times per week. There’s Grey’s Anatomy, The Magicians. It is pretty to be working—and become placing my noisy lips to good usage!
For lots more concerning the campaign, go to PositivelyFearless.com. And also to see the POZ meeting with other representative Todrick Hall, read “Look everything you Made Todrick Hall Do…for HIV Awareness! ”
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