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Viva Mi Gente!: 12 Latino Celebrities and Characters Who Thrust HIV/AIDS Into Popular Culture

May 15, 2013


Wilson Cruz

Wilson Cruz

For those growing up gay in the '90s, Wilson Cruz represents a monumental point of visibility -- he played one of the first openly gay characters on television, Enrique "Rickie" Vasquez from My So-Called Life, who dealt with coming out, being thrown out of his house and being abused. Of Afro-Puerto Rican ancestry, Cruz works with and advocates on behalf of LGBT youth, especially youth of color.

His other most notable role is on LOGO's Noah's Arc, where he played Junito Vargas, the love interest of main character Ricky Davis, the "promiscuous friend" in the portrayed group of four gay African-American friends in L.A. On the show, Junito is a doctor who is openly HIV positive. He also portrayed openly HIV-positive Angel Dumott Schunard in Broadway's Rent.

Late activist and blogger Brandon Lacy Campos even recounted in a blog an instance where Wilson Cruz stood up for him at a nightclub when a potential suitor refused to court Brandon after he disclosed his HIV-positive status.

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