LatinaLista — If you count yourself a longtime, die-hard fan of the MTV The Real World (TRL) series, then you should know the name Pedro Zamora.
Pedro Zamora, AIDS activist and TRL participant.
Pedro was on The Real World: San Francisco in 1994. He was the first openly gay, HIV-positive main character on television. Because of Pedro, and The Real World film crew, people everywhere were given an opportunity to see that HIV makes people more than a statistic but creates a painful and scary situation for those who are afflicted — even more so back in the early 90s.
Pedro was a Cuban immigrant who had come to the U.S. as part of the Mariel boatlift. His mother died when he was thirteen but Pedro remained focused on school and his education. Yet, when he was 17, he found out he was HIV positive and his life took another route — he decided, at a time when it wasn’t very popular, to speak out about the disease.
Pedro testified before Congress to argue for more explicit HIV/AIDS educational programs aimed at youth of color. Pedro knew that one way to reach the young people, who so desperately needed to hear his message, was to be on national TV. He auditioned for The Real World in 1993 and the rest is history as they say.
After he left the show, Pedro’s health took a turn for the worse and he died at the age of 22, but his courage of going on national TV to tell his story was never forgotten. So, it’s only fitting that MTV, where he first shared his story, has created a film about this young Cuban gay man. It’s simply titled “Pedro.”
Because of the impact Pedro’s message is still having on people, MTV is holding the April 1 world premiere of “Pedro” across multiple networks — MTV, mtvU, LOGO and MTV Tr3s, with subtitles in Spanish.
Unfortunately, AIDS and HIV are still killing a disproportionate amount of young people of color. In this respect, Pedro’s story is timely and needs to be seen by a new generation who thinks it can’t happen to them.
Planned Parenthood is developing an educational discussion guide for teens, young adults, and parents to use when they watch the Pedro premiere on MTV. It will be available for download on MTV’s It’s Your Sex Life and on Planned Parenthood’s website.
Pedro will be shown at 8 p.m. EST on MTV and its sister networks.
“Pedro made us promise to tell his story to his very last breath; this film delivers on that promise by telling his entire life story in a scripted film – including his early life in Cuba, his teen years in Miami and the final months of his life as he fought to stay alive,” said BMP Films President, Jon Murray. “For the first time viewers will see all the forces that made Pedro the man he was and gave him the courage to take his message of AIDS education to a nationwide audience.”