Today marks 26 years since Pedro Zamora’s passing. His friend and Real World roommate, Judd Winick, shared his thoughts on social media today: 

"It was 26 years ago today that Pedro Zamora passed away. We ask, as we have before, that we try to remember all that he accomplished in his life more so than his death. He was a hero then and he’s still a hero now.

Pam and I wish we could be sharing our lives with him. We wish our kids could have known him. We wish Pedro could’ve had a family of his own.

We wish he had all these years with his friends and family and those he loved best.
But he didn’t get to grow with us.

He is forever stuck in amber.

This young man
If you want to honor him —remember his life.
If you want to honor him, remember that he was a fighter.
You should continue to fight. Just as he would have fought for all of us. ❤️"

1994. I watched the Real World and how open Pedro was about his status. I had no idea that, two years later, I would open up about my status at age 20. At the time HIV was something I desperately wanted to keep to myself, but Pedro offered a glimpse into a way of life that didn’t seem possible. His friendship with his roommates, Judd and Pam, made me think of my own friends, whom I suspected had heard the rumors about my HIV status (diagnosed as a kid in a smalltown, word travels). Through the TV, the stars of the Real World made me realize that my friends would be just as supportive.

When Pedro passed, it was a punch to the gut. He was my first hero with HIV. Many would follow, but you never forget your first, as they say... 

Rest in power, Pedro, and thanks for showing so many of us the way to our true selves.

Positively Yours,