Ji Wallace: Out, Proud & HIV-Positive

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The December 2012 issue of GT Magazine has been sitting on my desk for the past week. Now, just imagine coming to work every day to find this hairy, muscular man lying down on your desk. His legs are spread wide open, giving you the perfect view of his thick thighs. His armpits are simply screaming “lick me!” His handsome face is staring back at you, as if you’re the only other man in the world…

And, if that weren’t enticing enough, he’s a great role model for people living with HIV.

His name is Ji Wallace. The Australian gymnast who won a silver medal in the 2000 Olympic Games, and this past Auguest, he went public with his HIV status.

“When it first happened, all I wanted to do was to yell and scream at the world,” he tells GT reporter Paul Thorn. “My main concern wasn’t that I was going to die, it was that people were going to treat me differently. I came to the conclusion that if I don’t treat it any different, then people won’t treat me any different.”

Wallace’s outlook on life has been an inspiration for others. After doing a television interview on Australia’s ABC, which attracted a million viewers, he received an e-mail from one individual whose life he had saved. “They were diagnosed that very day,” he told Thorn. “He was scared out of his brain, he asked the doctor for sleeping tablets and he was planning to take the whole bottle and commit suicide. He saw the programme and saw how positive I am, and didn’t do it.”

If you’re able to get your hands on this magazine, I highly recommend reading the full article. We can all learn something from Wallace’s positivity, regardless of our respective HIV statuses.

– Dewitt

Photo credit: Pedro Virgil

Click through to see a few images from Ji’s spread:

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Read more about Ji’s story in GT magazine!