Prompted by an aunt destroyed to AIDS, “Queer Eye” celebrity Jai Rodriguez encourages that is“Positively fearless understanding among Latino homosexual and bi males.
October 12, 2017 • By Trenton Straube
As an adolescent within the mid-1990s, Jai Rodriguez destroyed a beloved aunt to AIDS. Soon later, he was channeling her energy each night on Broadway, in their breakout part as Angel, the HIV-positive character in the smash musical lease. In their 20s, Rodriguez rocketed to fame that is global TV’s Queer Eye when it comes to directly Guy. He’sn’t stopped working since—nor has he stopped talking down for intimate health insurance and HIV understanding. Their adventure that is latest in advocacy can be as a spokesman for the “Positively Fearless” campaign.
Launched by HIV med Prezcobix, “Positively Fearless” is designed to enable and teach Latino and Ebony males that have intercourse with males (MSM). If present HIV prices stay constant, it is predicted that certain in two Ebony MSM and another in four Latino MSM would be identified as having HIV within their lifetime—compared with 1 in 11 white MSM. So that it’s a timely and crucial campaign. We’re additionally into 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. To put it differently, it is a time that is perfect catch 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 guidelines in your Las Vegas show? And do you really 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 about foreplay—but we do be in recommendations to condoms and euphemisms that are playful them.
In evaluating your bio, I happened to be struck by most of the sex-positive advocacy under your gear.
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 how We see peoples sex therefore the real way i approach advocacy. I’ve been doing HIV advocacy since 1996, so if you were to think about any of it, it is over 2 decades.
Exactly exactly How did you first read about HIV to get tangled up in that really work?
It absolutely was at a level that is intimate 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 a ten years. My aunt arrived on the scene as HIV good once I had been, 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 and stated she ended up being beginning to lose her eyesight and would want more help. She had been seeing buddies and kids she came across in hospitals expire, therefore she pulled by by by herself and my cousins off meds. There was clearly no sound 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 happened to be 16. She passed away in the summertime of 1997, plus it actually did affect the form of my entire life.
Demonstrably, you’re very open relating to this experience, but how did all of those other grouped household respond?
For this day—to this very daythem to post on Facebook that I’m doing an AIDS Walk in honor of my aunt! — I cannot get. For this time, they’ll not publish or mention the reality that a member of your family members passed away from it. It really is entrenched this kind of pity.
I’ve never ever felt it. But per year after her death, I experienced a way to channel my aunt’s power through Angel in lease. Which was my method of moving and grieving forward. Possibly I had a unjust benefit, but inaddition it helped me fulfill a large number of individuals contaminated and impacted by the herpes virus, and ashley madison free I also became educated about this. Perhaps we are now living in a spot today where I have significantly more individuals who are understanding and educated about this than my children. However their standard of pity is difficult for me personally.
Do this sort is thought by you of pity around HIV is common in other Latino families as well as in the Latino community?
Definitely! There is 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 occurs with other people since they did one thing bad. ” and thus that is types of the mindset I was raised with, and if individuals still adhere to that, then i could observe how their alternatives might reflect that.
And I also saw this entire array of dilemmas that was included with an HIV diagnosis in addition to shame. We viewed my aunt head to a dental practitioner, and I also saw the dentist placed on a few pairs of gloves right in front of my aunt—when it is only for a routine cleaning—because he ended up being 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 thought to my mom, “I can’t get in medical center clothing. Can you obtain me personally one thing? ” So my mother did and covered it as being a Mother’s Day present. It had been a red sweatshirt and sweatpants, and my aunt saw them and cried. My mom 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 lady again and placed on pantyhose. ” I am going to remember that minute just because a later I’m singing, “Will I lose my dignity year? / Will someone care? ”
Just how other individuals regard this virus therefore the stigma connected is nearly because terrible as the herpes virus itself. The pity is paralyzing—it causes visitors to will not get tested and take therapy. As well as the fear and pity are greater within the Latino community. We can’t image how you’d feel if you’re a new Latino man, and also you discovered your status, with no one in your household has known a person with HIV if not talked definitely about any of it. In your community we could fare better, that is why this campaign is loved by me, therefore the name is ideal.
If data carry on the real way they’re going, one in four Latino males that have intercourse with guys will test positive. And we also have actually therefore ways that are many avoid transmission when you have the data. I’ve been achieving this work with twenty years, but I’m the first ever to raise my hand and state i did son’t realize that HIV rates had been rising among Latino and Ebony males that have intercourse with men—you could say homosexual and bisexual, but a lot of men don’t determine as that. I actually actually did believe that infections had been taking place universally, therefore it became a individual problem with me personally. It may have now been me among usually the one in four if I experienced perhaps perhaps not witnessed someone dying with this.
Finally, where can our visitors 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 precious to be working—and become placing my noisy lips to use that is good!
For lots more in regards to the campaign, check out PositivelyFearless.com. 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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