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LGBT History Month profile: AIDS Activist, Pedro Zamora

via Equality Forum
Monday, October 31, 2011

Pedro Zamora, AIDS Activist
b. February 29, 1972
d. November 11, 1994

“As gay young people, we are marginalized. As young people who are HIV-positive and have AIDS, we are totally written off.”

Pedro Zamora

Pedro Zamora was an AIDS activist who appeared on MTV’s reality series “The Real World.” As the first openly gay and openly HIV-positive person on a television series, he brought national attention to HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues.

Zamora was born into poverty in Havana, Cuba, the youngest of eight. The family lived in a small house with a dirt floor.
When Zamora was 8, he immigrated to Florida with his parents and two of his siblings as part of the Mariel boatlift. The family settled in Hialeah, Florida. Zamora’s mother died when he was 13. He threw himself into schoolwork and extracurricular activities. An honors student and captain of the science club and cross-country team, he became one of the school’s most popular students.

Zamora learned he was HIV-positive after donating blood. He decided to pursue a career as an AIDS activist. In 1993, he testified before Congress, arguing for the improvement of AIDS education programs.

In 1994, Zamora joined the cast of MTV’s “The Real World: San Francisco.” Soon after moving into “The Real World” loft, he fell in love with another HIV-positive AIDS activist, Sean Sasser. The two men exchanged vows in a commitment ceremony in the loft.

The day after the final episode of “The Real World: San Francisco” aired, Zamora died of AIDS-related complications. After his death, he received praise from President Clinton for his leadership in AIDS education and for raising awareness about the disease.

In 1995, a street in Miami was renamed Pedro Zamora Way. In 2008, “Pedro,” a feature film, honored his life.

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Filed under: LGBTQ Life

16 more reader comments:

  1. Loved this Man, he helped me Understand

    Posted on Monday, October 31, 2011 at 11:22pm
  2. We miss you Pedro!

    Posted on Monday, October 31, 2011 at 11:22pm
  3. <3

    Posted on Monday, October 31, 2011 at 11:42pm
  4. I never knew Pedro, personally, but he taught me a lot, just by watching him on THE REAL WORLD. To this day, TRW: San Francisco remains one of my favorite seasons of TRW, mostly because of Pedro Zamora. <3

    Pedro, you are missed. </3

    Posted on Monday, October 31, 2011 at 11:47pm
  5. I knew Pedro, he was a sweet man,at that time the AIDS world was a li’l crazier and stressful.So when we ran into each other we would chat a bit, support one another through our disease, and I cried whe i heard he had died. All men would be proud to be like Pedro…bless your memory

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 12:22am
  6. I remember him. He was breaking new ground. He did a lot of service for Gay people by being open about his status.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 12:48am
  7. I wrote him a letter and his friend Alex wrote me back while he was taking care of Pedro in the hospital. : )

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 12:51am
  8. he was a such a good role model for both HIV/AIDS and LGBT communities way before it was so mainstream….I admired him…still do, another example of “gone to soon”

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 2:25am
  9. He was a really fantastic role model not just for ‘us’, those inside/affiliated with the community, but he was a “non-threatening gay” to the world at large. Most of those who were just tuning into the fact that people were dying-it doesn’t fucking matter how they contracted this nightmare-people were DYING. Everywhere. In every walk of life. Its in your city, on your street, its in your house, and it doesn’t care if you chase the dragon or twinks with tight abs. Its coming. And Hell followed with it. So, bravo Pedro, well done-and Thank you.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 2:37am
  10. Pedro was a good person.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 3:01am
  11. R. I. P. Pedro

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 3:28am
  12. Amazing person who dedicated his life to educating other people about something he never was educated about. Pedro will always be missed. R.I.P. Pedro

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 4:11am
  13. It is hard to imagine that it has been 17 years since his passing. Thanks for the work Pedro.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 4:16am
  14. I have not forgotten you, Pedro Z.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 5:27am
  15. thank you pedro words cannot express how grateful we are to you and the courage it took to put yourself out there!!! love you man!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 6:23am
  16. Such bravery! Thanks MTV for such cutting-edge shows as “Real World” to tell it like it is…..

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 8:26am