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AIDS Activist Pedro Zamora — LGBT History Month Day 31

AIDS Activist Pedro Zamora — LGBT History Month Day 31

 

Today’s LGBT History Month icon is Pedro Zamora.

Zamora (February 29, 1972 — November 11, 1994) was an AIDS activist who appeared on MTV’s reality series “The Real World.” As the first openly gay and openly HIV-positive person on a television series, he brought national attention to HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues.

Biography via Equality Forum:

Zamora was born into poverty in Havana, Cuba, the youngest of eight.

The family lived in a small house with a dirt floor.When Zamora was 8, he immigrated to Florida with his parents and two of his siblings as part of the Mariel boatlift.

The family settled in Hialeah, Florida.

Zamora’s mother died when he was 13. He threw himself into schoolwork and extracurricular activities. An honors student and captain of the science club and cross-country team, he became one of the school’s most popular students.

Zamora learned he was HIV-positive after donating blood. He decided to pursue a career as an AIDS activist. In 1993, he testified before Congress, arguing for the improvement of AIDS education programs.

In 1994, Zamora joined the cast of MTV’s “The Real World: San Francisco.”

Soon after moving into “The Real World” loft, he fell in love with another HIV-positive AIDS activist, Sean Sasser. The two men exchanged vows in a commitment ceremony in the loft.

The day after the final episode of “The Real World: San Francisco” aired, Zamora died of AIDS-related complications. After his death, he received praise from President Clinton for his leadership in AIDS education and for raising awareness about the disease.

In 1995, a street in Miami was renamed Pedro Zamora Way. In 2008, “Pedro,” a feature film, honored his life.

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Image taken from the LGBT History Month video.

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10 comments

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7:53AM PDT on Nov 2, 2011

Loved Pedro - a courageous man! (Best season of Real World.)

3:36AM PDT on Nov 2, 2011

A short life but used to the fullest. Powerful!

8:08PM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

I remember this man and the show (The Real World is still around...but not the same as it was in the 90's)...I loved the season when Pedro was on it. He was a really good person with a huge heart. I cried when he died.

7:25AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

I remember Pedro from MTV's The Real World. He struck me as a very nice, sweet and sensitive person. I thought he was very brave to go as public as he did with his illness, but he ended up doing a lot of good for the cause. Was very sad when he passed away but he used the little time he had to do good and therefore his life was not wasted :-)

7:10AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

Pedro was a beloved member of the cast and I am sure he is one reason why young people don't take issue with gay peoples' equality We are so lucky he passed our way.

6:58AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

I was not familiar with either this man nor the TV series, but I hope his activities help destigmatise and improve care for people with long term STD infections and other illnesses. The series presented by Care2 was great and I hope to see more of this sort of thing in the future.

6:39AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

This has been an excellent series, demonstrating that being LGBT is more than a matter of sex. It shows how LGBT people continue to contribute unique gifts for the benefit of the whole society.

6:05AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

Thanks for the article.

4:21AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

His courage and willingness to highlight AIDS issues on national TV are truly remarkable! Thanks for this final posting of LGTB heros!

6:43PM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

I am not familiar with this man, but, I do admire his courage to be who he wanted to be.

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