Atresmedia’s “Queens to the Rescue” show, in which four “drag-queens” share a week with people from the LGTBI community in rural areas, made a stopover in the province. Jordi Jiménez, 34 and from Benilloba, starred in the second installment, which aired on August 21. In it, he shared that he was HIV-positive, which he believes can help make living with HIV and people living with HIV visible and normalizing it.
How did the idea of participating in “Queens to the rescue” and openly saying on television that you are HIV-positive come about?
I must say that initially it was the production company that contacted me, as they were looking for profiles of LGTBI people living in rural areas. I told them that as far as I’m concerned, my life is very boring [ríe], and that in my city everyone knows that I am gay, and that I was even a city councilor. But I thought I could take the opportunity to take the plunge and say I’m HIV-positive. And the producer was okay with that; He, like me, saw it as necessary both personally and for society as a whole, because of the repercussions it could have.
Was it difficult for you to make up your mind to take the plunge to say so?
It’s like coming out of the closet again [ríe]but I thought it would help me a lot and many other people who saw me and could feel identified in some way.
Do you think that your gesture can normalize the fact of being an HIV carrier today?
Totally. I think saying something like that on TV helps erase the stigma that HIV still has today. Above all, I knew that it was going to help me a lot in my context, that the reaction was going to be positive. But also, if there is an “animeta” like me (sic) in a city that I can serve as a reference, saying “what matters most is you”, I am more than satisfied.
How do you see the perception of HIV in today’s society?
I have noticed a change over the past few years, since PREP is [medicación de tipo preventivo], but especially within the LGTBI collective and the younger population. However, outside of those areas, I think the old stigmas linger, like calling “helpers” [pone un gesto de desaprobación] to HIV carriers. The contempt continues to be seen and alleged jokes with a very strong offensive charge continue to be heard.
What about the medical treatment of the disease?
The medicine I take is one pill a day, but it is very strong; That’s why every two years, they do a muscle check-up. It is important that the defenses generated by the body are always high, and be careful not to contract other diseases that could weaken them. But otherwise, completely normal life; review every two months and period, there is no more. Of course, I hope that the program will also serve to sensitize health professionals to these issues, and that more resources will be made available and more accessible to everyone; For example, in my reference hospital, Alcoy, this service does not exist.
What was the reaction to Benilloba after the show aired?
The “what are they going to say” was one of the hurdles that cost me the most, and in the end it was nothing. On the contrary, I saw no rejection and I saw a lot of support. Well, to that we must add all the expectation that was generated in the city during check-in, it was quite impressive [ríe]. But after that it was all messages of support. I hope to be a positive example of what it means to have HIV and to live in a small town.
And your family?
Great from everyone, especially my mom, who as you can see also dressed in drag on the show and all [ríe]. My brother, anyway, was the one who didn’t know how he would take it. But when I explained to him what it was about, he wanted to participate. So I can only say that the experience was very positive, and that I hope it serves what I embarked on this adventure: to make visible the fact of being an HIV carrier as something absolutely normal.