This segment was done in 2010 on the Logo TV Network online. Ongina Ryan was on Season 1 of RuPaul's Drag Race. She hosted the show where she interviewed HIV positive gay men, including friend and activist Robert Breining. It was so fun I thought I would share it. I was able to e-mail one of the producers of Logo that was able to get this series for me. The reason why its legal to post this is because it was an limited online series that was later taken down. But I had such a great time at the shoot. My friend Damian was with me the whole way in support. After the shoot was over he gave me a tour of NY and it was great fun I loved it. On RuPaul's Drag Race after the MAC Cosmetics Challenge, which benefited the fight against HIV/AIDS, Ongina Ryan began to cry. She then admitted to being HIV positive for the last 2 years and that it meant so much to her when she won the MAC Cosmetics Challenge. This was on NATIONAL TELEVISION. When I saw that I thought to myself what a brave soul and when I was given the e-mail that I would be working with her I was so excited. I did NOT want this chance of meeting her to get away from me. She was beautiful and such a professional. She also commented on how nice my leather pants were lol ANYWAYS enjoy the segment.
I decided to do a little PSA for World AIDS Day 2013. I don't know how I got the idea to even try to pull this off but I tried. The only thing I wish people would take from this is to know your HIV status. It's very hard to want to know your status but the sooner you do the better. Whether it is HIV positive or negative it will be alright. At least now you can take the precautions or continue to take the precautions that you need to protect yourself and others from the HIV virus.
Today I reminisced to when I started out as an AIDS activist. This was my first news interview and I couldn't believe I found it after all these years. I was actually looking back on some old photos of friends and ex-boyfriends that passed away. I found this news interview and it was when I was about 29, which was about 4 years ago. Now I look at my life now and I didn't think I would be married legally and I didn't think I would be a father. I didn't think that I would've come out with a children's book about HIV or have done HIV activism as deeply as I have now.
At first, when I learned of this test I was skeptical. But if it is going to benefit people I figured I'd try it myself, even though I already know I'm HIV positive. This test has made me think of how far we have come in HIV testing. Before it was a blood test that you have to wait at least 2 weeks for. Now it's a 20 minute test you can take at home. This test came into play about June/July of 2012. It can be found online as well as your local drug stores including Walgreens, CVS, Sears, WalMart etc.
When I was infected with HIV, I called the person who I believed in infected me, I got him tested and he was positive also; that happened in 2006. All these years I thought I knew who infected me. But something came up a couple of months ago. I got a phone call from a friend who said that we had sex unprotected some year back. I honestly had no idea, but I knew we had sex before about 3 times. I do remember all the times we had sex, but I didn't know that one of those times was unprotected. I must say he didn't know he was HIV positive at the time either, but he found out later. When he had eventually found out, we had already lost contact.
During PRIDE in DC I walked around asking people just one question. What does Pride mean to them?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE WITH HIV?
Positively Aware magazine wants you to think about that question. Because, whether you're positive or negative, we are all affected by HIV.
When someone is diagnosed with HIV, almost immediately a person's mindset changes; the mindset most often turns into a negative way of thinking. I've learned that I cannot let HIV dictate how I live my life, as long as it turns into a healthier way of thinking. Sometimes I know that I fall short of this myself but the only thing I can do is try my best. I urge everyone to try their best in living their own lives. In my past I've always been a person that likes to travel in their own footsteps, and now through that mentality I have the chance to live again. I've decided that I'm going to live, love and laugh freely. I'm trying to get the negativity out of my life, try to love myself and others more even if they speak or think negatively about me. I don't have time or energy to concentrate on that; all I can be is the best I can be.
We actually know each other on Facebook and throughout the community, but I wanted to write you this letter in confidence.
My partner and I moved away to work on our relationship and now we are considering moving back to the area. After many discussions my partner is finally opening up to the idea of polyamory. I've been a polyamorist for a long time and my partner didn't like the idea of a third person in our relationship, but, now, since we have talked, he is open to the idea. Well, we have found a third, but there is a slight problem.
So, Patrick and I decided to make another video with people who came to Black Gay Pride, asking them what it really means to them. Hopefully, this would help others, like my friend, to understand that this was not meant to threaten, but to enlighten those who didn't understand why we have a Black Gay Pride. Listening is probably the best thing.