After Mario Lopez made some questionable remarks about raising transgender children back in July, Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown argued that instead of canceling Lopez, he should have the chance to learn why his comments are so "harmful." Now, one of Brown’s Netflix co-stars, Jonathan Van Ness, is speaking out against cancel culture as well. During a recent interview with Us Weekly, Van Ness suggested an alternative to the boycotting trend that leans into having an open, informative dialogue.
As an openly gay, HIV-positive celebrity, Van Ness shared that he’s been "negatively impacted" by discrimination and homophobia. However, he doesn’t feel like his haters — or people with opposing opinions in general — should just straight-up get canceled. What we should be doing instead, Van Ness proposed, is have "conversations that are continuous" about topics that matter and work towards removing stigmas that have long-plagued the LGBTQ community. "The stigma that HIV-positive people face is real, the stigma that gay people face is real," he explained. "The incredible violence and persecution and stigma that trans people face is super real."
While Van Ness supports conversations that help others grow, he’s also all about self-improvement, citing a personal focus on exercise, therapy, and advocacy. "I’m not a scientist, but I know that on the days when I get to ice skate or do my yoga or go to Zumba and get active, I feel so much better," he told Us Weekly, while also noting he enjoys solo time too.
This isn’t the first time Van Ness has been candid about maintaining his mental health. During an interview with People on Oct. 10, the hair and grooming guru admitted that he has "an amazing therapist," who he speaks with on a regular basis. Advocacy is an important tool for him as well, he told the outlet, especially when it comes to issues that he’s personally endured. So much so, that Van Ness went straight to Washington at the end of last month in order to discuss the Equality Act with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In September, Van Ness revealed his HIV-positive status during an interview with the New York Times ahead of the release his new memoir, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love. And even though he’s received "so much support and love" from friends and fans, "this has been the tip of the iceberg of the work for me," he confessed to People. "For equality, for access to medicine for people living with HIV, for advocacy for people that are surviving sexual abuse, for people who struggle with disordered eating."
According to an interview with The Guardian, Van Ness opened up about his HIV diagnosis publicly in order "to do something to move the conversation forward in a meaningful way around HIV/Aids" and "to humanize and normalize" the condition. By continuing to speak out, rather than shut anyone out, he’s doing exactly that.
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