The statistics are upsetting and well known. Despite an encouraging recent drop in transmission rates, black women still represent two-thirds of all new HIV infections among women. In fact, they are 20 times more likely to seroconvert than white women—a greater level of disparity than ever before. The cavalcade of AIDS anniversaries over the last few years has spawned a corresponding interest in producing museum exhibits, documentaries, and feature films about the early years of the crisis. But with a few notable exceptions (Frontline’s “Endgame: AIDS In Black America;” Precious; Tyler Perry’s despicable Temptation), there has been no similar rush to tell the stories of the (black, female) face of the modern epidemic.
Sitting across from me in an immaculately tailored dark blue jacket, Melanie Gaydos is so petite she seems almost like a child dressed up as a model. She picks at the cuffs of her coat as we talk, the only sign of her anxiety. This is her first in-person interview.
“A lot of people don’t realize it, but I’m actually quite nervous all the time,” the Connecticut-born, Brooklyn-based Gaydos tells me at one point. Then, as frequently happens during our sprawling, multi-hour conversation, a smile flits across her face. “But I’m a survivor.”
She needs to be. Although she has been modeling for nearly three years, was flown to Europe to star in a video for the band Rammstein, and has had (or has lined up) shoots in New York, Los Angeles, Madrid, and Berlin, Gaydos is still finding her place in the world of high fashion. As she’s quick to point out, this is in part the same struggle any young woman has when trying to break into that nearly impossible industry: the fight to get work, avoid being exploited, and make the fashion world take notice. For Gaydos, however, this already difficult task is complicated by a rare genetic disorder called ectodermal dysplasia, which “affects your hair, teeth, nails, pores, skin tissue, and sometimes even bone formation.”
This Dec. 1, as we mark yet another World AIDS Day without a cure, a vaccine, or an intelligently interdependent global response to the crisis, I’d like to propose a thought experiment based on a radical—yet commonsense—proposition: We can end AIDS without a cure for AIDS.
Nearly a decade ago, Hugh Ryan needed to make a career choice between artist or writer. Wisely he chose writing. Since then he’s become one of the most published LGBT (or ’queer,’ as he prefers) writers in print and the web. EDGE spoke to Ryan about his passion for writing (and being queer).
Back in 2004, while leisurely wandering the streets of Berlin, Hugh Ryan realized that he had a decision to make. He had been in the German capital three months, and had yet to settle on his next career move. Ryan refused to entertain the notion of a career that didn’t allow him to travel or work in his pyjamas – a resolve that permitted two, rather bohemian options: artist or writer. Fast forward nearly ten years, and with numerous writing and editing credits to his name, it is clear that Ryan made the right decision. After all, he is, by his own admission, “a terrible artist.”
Someday, somewhere in Washington, D.C.—perhaps on the National Mall, kitty-corner across Maryland Avenue from the sinuous, sandy-colored Museum of the American Indian, or tucked behind the sprawling complex of the Natural History Museum—there may sit a National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Museum. That might sound surprising, considering that sodomy was illegal in the District until 1993, but Tim Gold, CEO of the Velvet Foundation, is convinced the time is right.
‘On The (Queer) Waterfront: Brooklyn Histories’: Pop-Up Museum Of Queer History’s Hugh Ryan On New Exhibit
“On the (Queer) Waterfront: Brooklyn Histories” kicked off this weekend, a unique and collaborative art and performance show curated by The Pop-Up Museum Of Queer History. A multifaceted intersection of history lab, art space and teach-in workshops, the show sought to provide visibility, education and celebration surrounding queer identity in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Huffington Post caught up with Hugh Ryan, Founding Director of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, to discuss the show’s Oct. 5 kick-off, the history of the Pop-Up Museum Of Queer History, and Brooklyn’s legacy of queer identity.« Previous Entries