5 (of 10) amazing HIV positive gay men

Los Angeles
Olympic Diver

Greg Louganis is an actor, dancer, dog trainer, and AIDS, equality, and diversity activist, and he’s also considered the greatest diver in history. Currently a coach on ABC’s celebrity diving competition Splash, he’s also a judge for this summer’s International Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Louganis won his first Olympic medal at the age of 16. At 24, in the 1984 games, he became the first man in 56 years to win two Gold Medals in diving. Four years later he became the first to win double Gold Medals for diving in two consecutive Olympics.

He’s a five-time world champion and holds 47 national championship titles.

In the mid 1990s Louganis revealed to the world that he was gay and HIV-positive, which resulted in the loss of most of his corporate sponsorships. Louganis has certainly rebounded and achieved much since then. He’s building up his acting career, having appeared onstage (in Jeffrey) and in film (D2: The Mighty Ducks), and he recently guest-starred in the Web series Old Dogs & New Tricks. —Clea Kim

New York City
Choreographer, Dancer, Writer, & Multimedia Artist

Bill T. Jones has received a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” Tony and Obie awards, and the Kennedy Center Honors for his innovative choreography, along with many other accolades. He’s also a long-term survivor of HIV, having been diagnosed with the virus in 1985, and he’s still creating dance works that excite audiences around the world.

This spring the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, celebrating its 30th anniversary, is touring with a show called Play and Play: An Evening of Movement and Music, which includes Story, one of Jones’s first new repertory works in over a decade, and his 1989 modern-dance classic D-Man in the Waters. In January another new work, A Rite, had its world premiere at the University of North Carolina. Jones and SITI Company artistic director Anne Bogart collaborated on this piece, dealing with the impact of Igor Stravinsky’s revolutionary musical composition The Rite of Spring, which marks its 100th anniversary this year. Further performances of A Rite are scheduled at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., in July.

While the audience for modern dance may be rather specialized, Jones has proved his art has broader appeal with his work in Broadway musicals. He received the Tony Award for Best Choreography in 2007 for Spring Awakening and in 2010 for Fela! He also conceived and directed the latter show, based on the life of Nigerian Afrobeat musician and political activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who died of AIDS complications in 1997. Fela! continues to tour this year, with Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child in the cast; upcoming stops include Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle, and Oakland, Calif.

Jones, who lost his partner in life and work, Arnie Zane, to AIDS in 1988, has often dealt with AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses in his dance and multimedia pieces. Still/Here, which premiered in 1994, mixes dance, song, and video to tell the stories of people dealing with serious illnesses; The New York Times called the result “a true work of art, both sensitive and original.” Jones confronted his own mortality in his solo dance Last Night on Earth, also the title of his autobiography.

But that last night hasn’t come, and Jones is most emphatically still here and still creating. His work is “a spiritual activity” and “a worldview,” he told North Carolina’s Indy Week in an interview in connection with A Rite’s premiere. “It is a privilege,” he added, “to go into a studio every day and make something.” —Trudy Ring

Reno, NEV.
Champion Figure Skater

Val Joe “Rudy” Galindo, three-time national champion figure skater, was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in January. Galindo competed in pairs skating with Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi, earning the pair National Champion titles in 1989 and 1990. And in 1996, Galindo earned top honors as U.S. National Champion in men’s figure skating.

Born to Mexican-American parents in San Jose, Calif., in 1969, Galindo grew up to become the first Latino national champion in U.S. figure skating. In 1996 he became the first male champion in any sport to come out as gay while still competing.

In 2000, after a prolonged bout with pneumonia, Galindo was diagnosed as HIV-positive. Galindo courageously shared his status with the world in an interview with USA Today just months after his diagnosis, and he continues to be an active advocate for HIV awareness.

“I didn’t want to hide this illness,” Galindo told USA Today sports reporter Christine Brennan in 2000. “I didn’t want to live a lie. I’ve always wanted to be truthful... I know this: I’m enjoying life so much, I’ll do anything to survive.” —Sunnivie Brydum

Los Angeles
Consultant to California State Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg

Fredy Ceja became an HIV activist almost immediately after receiving his positive diagnosis in 2006, going to work for Bienestar, an organization that assists Latinos affected by HIV and AIDS. In 2009, Ceja was featured in the Soy/I Am video campaign, a partnership between the Kaiser Family Foundation and Univision aimed at reducing HIV stigma among Latinos and putting a face on the disease. The very busy Ceja has served on the California HIV/AIDS Planning Group, the Latino Advisory Board to the California Office of AIDS, the Los Angeles County HIV Commission, and the board of the Latino Equality Alliance, advocating for Latino LGBT rights. He developed a passion for politics on a visit to Washington, D.C., while he was in high school, and he became the first person in his family to attend college. In addition to his HIV and LGBT rights work, he is an activist for education and many other causes. He was a senior field deputy for California Assembly member Gilbert Cedillo until Cedillo was term-limited out of office at the end of 2012. Today, Ceja is working as a consultant to California state Senate pro tempore Darrell Steinberg, and in April he was honored for his HIV work at the Latin LGBT Awards in Los Angeles. —T.R.

New York City & Provincetown, Mass.
Journalist & Author

Andrew Sullivan seems to specialize in confounding expectations. The U.K. native first became famous in the United States in the 1990s as editor of The New Republic, and his mix of identifiers — conservative, Catholic, and gay — forced some observers to rethink long-held assumptions. He’s continued to surprise people; while he still calls himself a conservative, he also describes himself as “an enthusiastic supporter (and occasional critic)” of President Obama. He was one of the first political writers to support Obama’s presidential aspirations, back in 2007. Among other milestones, in 1989 he wrote the first national magazine cover story endorsing marriage equality (he’s written books on this and other topics as well), and this year he formed an independent company, Dish Publishing, to publish his Web log The Dish, making it one of the few blogs to rely only on reader support. And he’s a long-term survivor of HIV; he was diagnosed positive in 1993 but remains healthy, active, and ever provocative. —T.R.

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