Gay Airman Randy Phillips Urges His Generation to Talk About AIDS
The I'm From Driftwood crew is in California for the 11th annual AIDS/LifeCycle. IFD founder Nathan Manske and guest videographer and editor Matthew Ladensack will be sharing daily video stories from some of our 2,700 participants through the IFD site as well as the Huffington Post Gay Voices.
Randy Phillips rocketed to YouTube fame when he came out to his dad on YouTube the day Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed. His coming out video has millions of views and he may have just as many loyal followers. Having a strong moral sense of responsibility, he wanted to do something good with his newfound fame.
I kind of wanted to parlay what little bit of attention I got from YouTube into something I think is a taboo for our generation. Not very many people in their early 20s like to think about AIDS.
The 22-year-old airman had never known anyone who was HIV+, but joined the AIDS/LifeCycle ride to challenge a perception that his mother had.
She couldn't think of any, couldn't relate to another gay person who had had a normal life, who grew up healthy and had a successful life and a career and lived a long life and maybe got married and found somebody and possibly had some kids. She didn't think that's what my life would be like. She thought it would be absolutely a horror story and that I'd die 10 years later alone, a drug addict, from HIV.
On Day One of the ride Randy met his first HIV+ friend, a young man on his team, which pushed Randy to continue doing even more good.
We kind of think we have it under control, but we don't. It's still very big and it shouldn't be a taboo. It should be something we talk about and discuss and fundraise for and fight and be active in our communities. So I wanted to change this into something good.
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