Culture

Remembering Pedro Zamora, The HIV-Positive Man Who Changed Hearts And Minds While On ‘Real World: San Francisco’

Back in 1992, MTV first aired “The Real World,” which went on to define reality TV forever. The shows premise and tagline — “This is the true story…of seven strangers…picked to live in a house… and have their lives taped…to find out what happens…when people stop being polite…and start getting real… ” — seemed like a fresh concept. At the time, viewers were simply taking in how people from different backgrounds got along. A lot of the time, they didn’t. In the middle of all that TV drama, something unusual was taking place: viewers were meeting individuals that presented extraordinary stories. In the show’s 27-year span, only one person stood out among them all and is remembered for literally changing the world. 

In 1994, MTV’s “Real World” San Francisco featured a 22-year-old Cuban named Pedro Zamora. 

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For those not familiar with Zamora, his life story is a remarkable one of survival. He was just 8-years-old when he and some of his family members left Cuba on the Mariel Boatlift and settled in Miami. Sadly, his mother died of cancer a couple of years later when he was 13. Zamora still excelled in school. It was around this time that he realized he was gay. While he did come out to his family, they mostly feared that Zamora would get discriminated against because of his sexuality. 

At 17, Zamora found out he contracted HIV and decided to bring awareness to his disease. 

Credit: @theadvocatemag / Twitter

While attending Miami Dade College, Zamora became a fierce AIDS educator. One of the most impressive traits that he possessed was that he could engage with people of different ages and backgrounds. He was a great speaker. It was his charming characteristics and profound knowledge that made him perfect for TV. He ventured into several famous talk shows of that time to speak about what it was like to be a young gay man living with AIDS. 

With the encouragement of friends, Zamora felt he could reach more people with his message of empathy and education about HIV and AIDS by auditioning to be on MTV’s “Real World.” Naturally, he was one of nine to be cast on the show. 

As a cast member on the show, Zamora helped to educate his housemates about living with AIDS. Those moments on MTV also informed millions of viewers. Zamora loved for people to learn about his Cuban culture. 

Credit: @simplymiatx23 / Twitter

Today with the lack of Latino representation in the arts and entertainment industry, we now see how rare it was to have two Cuban Americans on MTV talking about their culture and family. Another castmember that has continued to be in the limelight was Zamora’s housemate Rachel Campos Duffy. She was a young conservative back then, and she still is today as the wife of former GOP representative Sean Duffy (he too was a former cast member of the “Real World” Seattle). While Rachel and Zamora clashed on various topics, including his homosexuality, their bond broke through her closemindedness. 

While Zamora died shortly after the last episode of the “Real World” aired, his legacy continues to be inspiring 25 years later.

Zamora’s housemate and one of his loudest advocates today, Judd Winick, who wrote the 2000 book “Pedro and Me” said this on social media: 

“I’d ask that on this incredible milestone that we try to remember how he lived, and how he literally changed the world, rather than focusing on our loss of him. By appearing on The Real World in ‘94, he showed everyone what it was really like to be living with AIDS, to be living out, to love, to be loved by friends, supported by family—to have a full life. And it seems crazy that this was a lesson that needed to be taught. But it did.” 

Rachel echoed that sentiment on the 25th anniversary of his death on Twitter: “@RealWorldMTV changed many lives -including mine. #PedroZamora died 25 yrs ago today, but his impact lives on. I miss Pedro & the days when MTV respected young people enough to make shows like the Real World, San Francisco.”

For those of us who watched Zamora on the “Real World,” we learned about showing empathy and compassion for those that suffered AIDS and HIV and continue to live with it today. Zamora also taught viewers to always show kindness, respect, and love for one another.

Credit: nycaidsmemorial / Instagram

Click here for more information on the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship and The Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellowship

READ: A Single Mom On DACA Is One Of The Newest Cast Members On MTV’s New Season Of ‘The Real World

Are You A Victim Of Abuse? Use This Checklist To Help You Determine The Truth

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Are You A Victim Of Abuse? Use This Checklist To Help You Determine The Truth

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If you feel that you are experiencing an abusive relationship, please seek help. Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 799 7233 for assistance. Please take care if you feel that your internet or mobile phone device use is being monitored.

There are three ways that abuse can be identified. By the way your partner treats you physically, by the way they treat you emotionally, and by how you feel about the relationship. This checklist of twenty signs of abuse is one tool that you can use to see if you, or someone you know, is a victim of abuse. And remember, more resources for dealing with abuse can be found by calling The National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 799 7233.

1. They have grabbed you and refused to let go.

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This falls into the category of physical abuse. No-one should grab you to make you feel threatened and unsafe. No-one.

2. They have pulled your hair.

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This is another form of physical abuse. Sure, a bit of hair pulling in the act of passion is fine. But when it happens as part of an argument, or when your partner is deliberately trying to hurt you or make you feel threatened, that is abuse.

3. They have thrown things at you and/or destroyed your belongings.

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One way your significant other may try to control you is through your belongings. Throwing things at you and destroying your belongings is designed to hurt you physically and emotionally. Threatening to do so also falls under this category of behavior, too.

4. They have left you with bruises, black eyes, bleeding, and/or broken bones.

Instagram: @veeegooose

While abuse doesn’t necessarily have to leave marks on your body, a sure sign of physical abuse in your relationship is when your partner does leave marks. Research shows that once it happens the first time, a “threshold” of sorts has been crossed, and an abuser is more likely to hurt their partner again.

5. They have threatened to hurt or kill you.

Instagram: @raquelitt

It may not seem like abuse, since there are no physical marks left from a threat to hurt or kill you. However, these threats are still part of the arsenal of tools that abusers use. How? Because these threats are designed to control your behavior, and make you feel powerless. Abuse in a relationship is about the abuser gaining and maintaining power, and death threats are a way of emotionally controlling you.

6. They have threatened to take your children away or harm them.

Instagram: @stephaniemaurasanchez

Even if you have children together, children shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip in your relationship. Even more importantly, your children’s safety is non-negotiable: no partner of yours should threaten it. By the way, this doesn’t just apply to children. Pets can also be used to manipulate and control you in a relationship.

7. They have forced you to have sex.

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Sex is not a “duty” to be fulfilled in a loving, equal relationship. Nor should your partner guilt trip or manipulate you into participating in sex acts after you have refused sex. Consent needs to be freely given! It doesn’t matter how long the two of you have been together. Otherwise, it’s classed as sexual assault.

8. They try to control you and treat you like a child.

Instagram: @silvia_almanza

Abusive relationships are about control and power. Part of treating you like a child is making you feel like you don’t have any control in the relationship, or even your life, so that you continue to stay and endure the abuse.

9. They make you feel like you need permission to make decisions or go somewhere.

Instagram: @kreeturefeature

This applies when you feel like you have to text at every moment to update your partner about where you are. And when you can’t spend time with friends or family without getting permission from your partner. This is because abusers commonly try to isolate their partner from other, platonic relationships with other people.

10. They try to take complete control of the finances and how you spend money.

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Controlling how money is earned and spent is known as financial abuse. People suffering from this type of abuse are commonly denied access to money by partners for doing simple tasks like grocery shopping. Or, sometimes the abuser decides whether and when their partner is allowed to work.

11. They cannot admit to being wrong.

Instagram: @abs_ter

Part of being in a respectful and loving relationship is being able to say sorry and to admit fault. An abusive partner refuses to apologise, because doing so would threaten their position of power in their relationship.

12. They accuse you of things that you know are not true.

Instagram: @estephaniaabarca

This is about control, and manipulating you. After all, if you’re spending your time trying to prove your innocence, then you’re not going to spend your time planning to leave the relationship, are you?

13. They do not take responsibility for their behavior.

Instagram: @lu.pazmi

The reality is, it’s not too much to ask someone to take responsibility for their behavior – even more so when it’s someone you’re in a relationship with. However, your partner doesn’t take responsibility for their behavior because doing so would threaten their position of power in the relationship.

14. They use “The Silent Treatment” to get their way.

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Chances are you may have experienced “The Silent Treatment” before, in elementary school. And that’s where that behavior should stay. An equal, loving relationship is not built on one person using silence to manipulate the other person into conceding a point.

15. They make subtle threats or negative remarks about you.

Instagram: @noshophotography

Of course, there’s always room for some friendly sledging in a loving, respectful relationship. But, it turns into abuse when your partner does this on a regular basis to frighten, or control you. It’s possible they may even pass it off as a “joke”, or say that you’re “overreacting”. But again, if you’re in a loving relationship, then your partner should respect the fact that you’re hurt by a “joke”. They should not continue to make these types of comments.

16. You feel scared about how your significant other will act.

Instagram: @erikakardol

Repeat after us: you should have no reason to fear your partner in a loving, respectful relationship. You should have no reason to fear your partner in a loving, respectful relationship.

17. You feel that you can help your partner to change their behavior.

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But, only if you have changed something about yourself first.

18. You watch your behavior carefully so that you do not start a conflict in your relationship.

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An abuser does not abuse all of the time. They maintain a cycle of abuse in the relationship. Things go from being tense, where you feel like you have to watch your own actions, to an incident which involves verbal, emotional, financial and physical abuse. Then, your partner attempts reconciliation or denies the abuse occurred, and the relationship goes into a calm stage. However, tensions will begin to build before long, starting the cycle once again.

19. You stay with your partner because you are afraid of what they would do if you broke up.

Instagram: @msstefniv

In other words, you feel trapped in your relationship because of your partner’s current, or potential, behavior. This can range from hurting you, your kids, your pets, your friends, and your family. Or, destroying your belongings, compromising access to your finances, or hurting themselves.

20. They don’t pass “The No Test”

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“The No Test” is pretty simple. Observe what happens the next time you tell your partner “no”. This could be in response to being asked out on a date, or maybe doing them a simple favor. Disappointment is a normal response to being told “no.”  However, pure outrage, violence, and/or emotional manipulation is not a reasonable response, and may indicate an abusive relationship.

If you feel that you are experiencing an abusive relationship, please seek help. Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 799 7233 for assistance. Please take care if you feel that your internet or mobile phone device use is being monitored.

Salice Rose Gave Her Family A Vulnerable Look At Her Mental Health Struggles: “I Was Asking For Help”

Entertainment

Salice Rose Gave Her Family A Vulnerable Look At Her Mental Health Struggles: “I Was Asking For Help”

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Influencers, they’re just like us; they have their good and bad days. And they struggle with mental health issues too. Salice Rose just gave the Rose Family a very vulnerable inside look at her life, and mental health struggles over the last year. And fans are flooding her comments section with messages of support and empathy. 

We’ve all been guilty at one point or another, of imbuing influencers with seemingly mythical powers. 

They can boost brands, they offer authentic opinions and reviews and, they seem to live amazing lives with no problems at all. So when Salice Rose posted a video titled ‘How I Almost Ended My Life In 2019’ last September, we were shocked, to say the least. 

At first we see Salice alone in a room, saying how she’s re-recorded the video many times in an attempt to get it right. 

“I think I’ve started this video over and over like 6 times already, because I don’t want to say the wrong thing,” she says with a serious face. “But I’m just gonna be me.”

“It’s very hard for me to make this video because you guys know I’m a very strong person.”

“I stand for strength,” Salice affirms. “It sucks that this past year, 2019…I got so mentally unstable and weak, that I tried to end my own life.” The youtuber and influencer didn’t go into details about what triggered her, or what happened to her during that year that got her to this stage, but she wanted to tell her story to help other people who might be going through the same. 

Depression is on the rise among American teens and young adults, with adolescent girls showing the greatest vulnerability, a national survey reveals.

Back in 2005, the risk of major depressive disorder for teenage boys was pegged at 4.5 percent, and 13 percent for teenage girls. By 2014, however, boys’ risk of depression rose to 6 percent, but for girls it soared to more than 17 percent, the survey found. “These are episodes during which the adolescent experiences five or more depressive symptoms for a period of two weeks or longer,” explained study author Dr. Ramin Mojtabai. He is a professor in the department of mental health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

More American teens and young adults appear to be struggling with mental health issues, and experts believe a number of cultural trends may help explain why.

A closer look shows that teen depression risk only started to edge upwards starting in 2012, with risk weighing more heavily on teen girls throughout the survey period. Mojtabai said the findings “are consistent with recent data on trends in suicide in the U.S.” A new study found the percentage of teens and young adults with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues has increased sharply over the past decade. The same pattern was not seen in older adults.

In the video, Salice wanted to retell the happenings of the night when she got close to taking her life. 

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“I was going through this wave of sadness, depression, anger…I forgot how to be strong.” She goes on to explain how one night, she took her keys and went out for a drive. At 9pm at night, she started driving to church —even if it was closed, she wanted to sit outside to regain herself. “The emotions I was feeling as I was driving to church…it wasn’t ok,” she says, “I felt like I had lost my mind, and I felt like what I was going through was never going to go away or stop.”

“If this is never gonna go away, maybe I should.”

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Salice’s never-ending negative thoughts filled her with a sense of impending doom and hopelessness. Experts warn that everyone should educate themselves on the warning signs of depression and get their loved ones the help they need before it gets to a point of no return. 

Symptoms of major depression vary from person to person but can include:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Outbursts of anger, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities
  • Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating

And, as it turns out, Salice isn’t alone. She’s not the only one having these thoughts. 

The rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts, plans, attempts, and deaths by suicide has increased from 7.0 percent in 2009 to 10.3 percent in 2017. Interestingly, no significant increase was seen in adults. There was even a slight decline in psychological distress in people over the age of 65. For the study, researchers analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative survey that tracks drug and alcohol use, mental health and other health-related issues in individuals age 12 and over. The research was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

What’s causing this increase?

While the researchers didn’t study the reasons behind the trend, they have some theories. Study author Jean Twenge told CBS News, that shifting cultural trends over the past decade, including increased use of electronic communications and digital media, may have had a larger effect on mood disorders among younger generations compared with older generations.

“Recently, there’s been a number of studies showing that those who spend more time on digital media are more likely to be depressed and unhappy,” Twenge said.

“I was asking for help and at that moment, no one was responding.”

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❤️Stay Strong. #salicerose

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Later on in the video, Salice explains how she made it to church, she got out of her car and started messaging people on her phone. But it was late at night and no one was responding. So she googled a helpline. “So I thought, ‘What do I do?’ I don’t want to be a burden asking for help.” She googled searched for a helpline and got someone on the phone who talked to her for 7 minutes. She told him what was happening in her life and how she got to that point. She told him that she needed help.

The next day, Salice’s whole family was there for her.

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Baby Salice to Salice now LOL! 😩😂❤️

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The Youtuber’s whole family got together to be with her. Proving that as lonely as you feel, you’re never alone. She went on to share a message on the description of the video, “I just hope I can save a few lives by posting this. I just want you guys to know that overall you are never alone even though you may feel alone sometimes and I want to spread awareness all over the world that it’s OK to ask for help. You are not a burden…. you are so needed on this earth and I love every single one of you individually more than you can ever imagine.”

If you believe a loved is at risk of suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek help from a doctor or the nearest hospital emergency department or dial 911. It’s important to remove access to firearms, medications, or any other potential tools they might use to harm themselves. For immediate help if you are in a crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.