Cure Chronicles Episode 9: Louie Ortiz-Fonseca

The Cure Chronicles: HIV with Louie Ortiz-Fonseca

Louie Ortiz-Fonseca is a highly acclaimed HIV/LGBTQ+ advocate and an accomplished artist. He shares the inspiration behind his YouTube channel and the importance of educating youth about HIV.

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Jeff Galvin: Welcome to The Cure Chronicles. I'm your host Jeff Galvin. I'm honored today to welcome Louie Ortiz-Fonseca on this week's episode of The Cure Chronicles. 

Louie is a highly acclaimed HIV LBGTQ+ advocate and an accomplished artist. While Louie was a teen, his father was diagnosed with HIV and later died from complications related to AIDS. In 2014, Louie co-founded the Gran Varones, a digital program that highlights queer and trans people in the Latino and Afro-Latino communities. 

Currently, Louie is the Director of the LBGTQ Health and Rights at Advocates for Youth, a non-profit that partners with youth leaders, adult allies, and youth-serving organizations to advocate for youth sexual health rights and justice. At Advocates for Youth, he also hosts a YouTube series called Kikis with Louie that features honest, deep conversations about the most challenging issues facing queer youth and youth of color.

Louie, thank you for joining me today.

Louie Ortiz-Fonseca: Oh, thank you, Jeff. I'm always humbled to chat about the work that I do, but also, I love to talk, so you got the right person today.

Jeff Galvin: That's so funny. I love to talk also, but you're wrong about being humbled. I am humbled. I have looked at your stuff, and I am just so impressed with the work that you're doing. You're an advocate for LBGTQ+, and I think you're highly effective, and I think you use art in an amazing way and marketing in an amazing way. 

How did you decide to do this? How did you get into all of this stuff? I know you had an inspiration from your life journey, and we talked a little bit about that in the introduction, but tell me, how did you get there? What inspired you to put that website together?

Louie Ortiz-Fonseca: It's a project that folks at Advocates for Youth, along with myself, that it was a team, and some of them were Gen Xers, right, like myself, people who consumed a lot of content, a lot of media, right? A lot of bright colors, so I think when people check out Kikis with Louie, the logo, it's very colorful, right? That's my aesthetic, and I love flowers. 

So I think that, you know, if there was an art, the beginning of the art definitely began as a kid who loved talking with people, right? And really being curious about people, right? I was always best friends with the Pentecostal students, and I was always out as a young student, so we were like the outcasts of the class, but I think what made me and those other outcasts friends was one day we had no choice because nobody else would want to be our friend, but two, is that we were so different and the world told us that we were different, the world told us that we were different from each other, but what made our friendships work - because we had to all sit together at our desks - was that we talked a lot, and we talked about our experiences, what did you watch last night, what did you do? 

So Kikis is kind of an extension of that, right? We wanted to highlight that through conversation and storytelling, you can build connections, and that young people have a story to tell. In that context, with Kikis with Louie, I am the moderator and facilitator, providing the space that was provided for me by the universe when I was a kid. That's what makes Kiki so magical.

Jeff Galvin: It really is, and it's right from the heart, and it leverages things that you love to do. I think art is about telling our truth, and you're telling your truth with your tools and art. You have a great sense of color, and the animations were really good. Everything is really accessible, and that's something that, as a marketing person, I know is just immediately engaging.

Can you explain for our audience what a Kiki is or what you mean by the term Kikis? 

Louie Ortiz-Fonseca: Great question. Well, it's Black queer lingo, and it can mean a couple of things. It could mean just hanging out and having a ball, like laughing and joking around or having a small event. But it's definitely community-based, and it's going to be fun. It's about exchanging stories, jokes, laughs, and experiences. So, it's both a thing that you do but also a thing that you experience. 

We wanted Kikis with Louie to be there, which is why we traveled to up to seven different cities to interview influencers. But also, in those prospective cities, we made sure that we had young people who were involved and telling their story. 

Part of creating Kikis was addressing phobias. We know that there's a lot of homophobia and transphobia in the world, and YouTube is no exception. We can continue to go into YouTube and challenge comments made on different videos. But, a way that we also wanted to contribute to addressing queer- and trans-phobia was interrupting it by creating our own show. 

We're going to shift the narrative. We're not always going to be on the reactionary side, waiting for someone to do or say something wrong or quote-unquote wrong, or something that we experienced as homophobic for us to tell ourselves. We just want to get to it, and we're going to have great young people doing it. 

Hopefully, adults that watch it, because I think that it's a great show for adults, parents, allies. It also teaches adults how to just sit there and listen to young people without necessarily prescribing a fixer, an anecdote, or a remedy. Just listen to the stories because young people have what they need innately, and sometimes, they need to tell their story to get to the answer they made to the question they may be asking.

Jeff Galvin: Absolutely. I think with the example that you used, adults having kikis with their kids, it's about listening, hearing their experiences. There's a whole discipline in psychology called Freudian, where you just get the person talking, and they resolve their own things and become the best version of themselves, right? The happiest version of themselves, the most effective version of themselves, because they have a sounding board that will kind of keep them focused but just keep them talking, right? 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: Yeah, it was great practice. You know, I am a father of a 19-year-old, so like, you know, I do not want anyone, you know, in trainings or when I work with other parents, you know, I'm really transparent that you know, I'm still trying to figure this out, right? Yeah, right when I think I figured it out, I think you know, I discovered that I have something else to learn, right? 

So I think that even in doing the kikis, I relearned and learned over and over again how to just listen, without having to let me save you or let me try to make you feel better, right? It's like I'm just here helping to facilitate a safer space for you to exist and be yourself, and the people that you are telling your stories with, y'all can guide each other, but this is going to be possible in part because of the space that I get to play a small part in, and I get to do that with my son. It's not always easy.

Jeff Galvin: Especially with something you feel emotional about, right? Like you love your son, and that raises the stakes.

Jeff Galvin: Anyway, so then you've got another site. This is another one I recommend, right? This is not a beginner site, like kikis is for everyone. That one, I'm telling you, like if you're watching this video, just go and watch that. It really does something, you know, it's wonderfully uplifting, and if you are open to the idea that other people's experiences are interesting and you don't, you know, you're not there to judge, you're going to get something really positive out of that. So get in there and see that stuff. 

But then there's this website, Gran Varones, and that one, you know, goes for a little deeper dive, and what I'd suggest is anybody that's feeling alone in this community, check out that site. You know, there's blogs and advice, and it's really a community in a box there that you can learn a lot from. Gran Varones does a great job of doing that. So how'd that start? 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: You know, it started, I think we just turned eight. It is definitely, you know, one of the loves of my life. It is a passion project started out in Philadelphia, and just wanting to just, you know, amplify the stories of Latino and Afro-Latino LGBTQ folks, right? Again, same thing with kikis. We weren't necessarily seeing anything out there representative of that, and it was like, okay, like we can continue and we will continue to say that we need that representation, but like we're actually just going to create it right now, like. 

And, you know, Instagram and social media was reaching, it was going into its, you know, because, you know, first we have Facebook and then Instagram was coming, so it's weird how social media has changed even in the last eight years. But it was like, well, let's, you know, we're going to just document people who look and sound like us, and we're just going to get their stories, if it's coming out, their first love, what brings them joy, their favorite song, but one the foundation of it was that we were going to take people's portraits as proof that they existed. 

Again, I'm a Gen Xer. I grew up with a mother who had a whole bunch of queer friends, who passed away from AIDS, right? And even in my neighborhood, I would hear like older women or older adults who pulled me to the side because I was always a very expressive young kid, and they would say, "Okay, you remind me of my uncle or you remind me of my friend who is no longer here." And the inference, I got what the inference was, and they never had pictures of them. 

Jeff Galvin: So they were actually talking to you in a sort of a loving way about their lost relative. 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: Yeah.

Jeff Galvin: And then you realize like, hey, why didn't they get, you know, with all this feeling, why didn't they document it so that person would live forever, essentially.

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: And I get it, you know, because back then you had to take pictures, get them developed, right? 

Jeff Galvin: You couldn't just whip out your cell phone, have a chat with Uncle Bob, right? Yeah, that's so funny. 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: And then not have friends or family say, "Oh my god, I remember this person", then steal the photo from you. Some people would never know what the challenges are of even archiving at the community level. it was. So when we started Gran Varones, it was like we're just going to get whatever stories people want to share, fine, but you know, they can do it on video, but everyone has to get a portrait taken, and that was intentional so that there was physical proof, a visual proof, that they existed. 

Jeff Galvin: Yeah, and then the story fleshes that out further too, you know, you start to see some of the dimensionality of their personality and their journey while, you know, hey, yeah, associating it with a really well-photographed person too. Yeah, there's beauty in everyone, and the artist can capture that. They can bring out the things that other people might not see. 

So anyway, people that get a chance to get their portrait up on that, it's lucky, but it's just a good idea in general. 

And that's cool. Yeah, you're right. You're Gen X, and so you're used to all of these things, right? You really have an easy time embracing new technology that's a little bit harder for people that are in their 60s, right? But this is kind of natural for you, and guess what? It's natural for everybody that's your age and younger, which means that this is a great medium through which to communicate with the people that are going to shape the world in the future. 

And you know what? A great way to ease into a virtuous arc, right? Where people stop pointing fingers and fighting with each other and start working together just making a better world for all humankind, right? I mean, I'd love that idea.

Jeff Galvin: Well, look, let's talk about you. Tell me about the really significant things in your journey through life that shaped you, that influenced you. It could be in a really positive way or even in a negative situation. Do you have any things that come to mind when I ask you something like that?

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: I get asked a similar question and I always figure like how can I go into this without all the trauma? You know, I grew up as one of seven children. I was the second oldest. My mother struggled with addiction, you know, with crack in the 80s and 90s so that had a profound impact on how I see and move through the world.

As the older child, I had responsibilities that my peers just didn't have. But also, I had to deal with how adults saw my mother and how they saw us as her children. A lot of that was painful, that goes without saying. But in addition to that, I think it gave me a kind of will that I don't think that anything that I would have had had I not experienced that.

Because I was extremely effeminate. I loved Diana Ross, I loved Janet Jackson. I was that child. I loved Miss Piggy. I love anything gaudy. In the 1980s you can't… look at my shirt, I am still perpetually in the 80s. So, I think that it was kind of like I can fold or I can go into the shadows, I can stand and stay in a corner, but I didn't have that, it just wasn't in me. So, it's like I'm still going to be me so I had to figure out a way to discern what pain I should pay attention to. Like those words are hurtful, what they're saying is hurtful versus actually that's your projection of whatever you're going through.

Because of that, I dropped out of school in middle school. So I stayed home to take care of my brothers and again, that's how I consumed so much music videos, music. So, that's where I found safety and I knew that growing up, even as a kid, I knew that I was going to be something. I didn't know how I was going to get there, but I knew innately it was like all I have to do is just wait. Like I just have to look for this opportunity, it's going to come. But I know that despite what everything people are directly and indirectly telling me, I know that I'm going to be something.

Jeff Galvin: This is one of the things that you were saying. All of that pain, all of that incoming, you know, gave you will and I was like well what if it hadn't given you will, what if it had just broken you, right? Do you have any secrets of how to turn that into will to become that great person that you were always meant to be versus to start to internalize that stuff and to end up broken by it and giving up on your future or even worse, giving up on working towards your future, trying to control your life and move forward?

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: I think that I also had great adults in my life. They may not have all been in the same room with me at the same time or were doing or supporting me at the same time, but it is like Donkey Kong, right? Not that I play that game.

Jeff Galvin: Because of the barrels being thrown down? 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: Yeah, but like, you know, like when he swings from rope to rope, sometimes a support system is like that. Like a support system carries you to your next rope or carries you to where you need to be next.

Jeff Galvin: So one of the tips that you're saying is to have a support system. Identify the people in your life that you know care about you, don't judge you, and can help you through these things, like can have a kiki with you. 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: It can be someone you only meet once. I remember one time me and my best friend Robert cut class because we were always teased and we both loved Janet Jackson. We cut class and we had like maybe two dollars. This is like 1990, maybe, and two dollars went a long way. I remember we bought a big bag of chips and a couple of Camp Sodas and we went to a playground. 

There was a young girl there around our age. We were like 13, 14, and she was there cutting class. I still think about it because we had such an amazing day on the swings just talking. She made us feel safe. We spent the entire day with each other. I can't remember her name, but…

Jeff Galvin: It sounds like a Ferris Bueller day. You know that it really was like a connection and drama…

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: Until the next thing that I needed. So, I think it's those kinds of experiences that helped me get that, that still drives the direction of my life, still drives me working with young people, which still drives me working with adults who even may be hard-headed or who may be resistant because sometimes we don't know how important we are in someone's life. This world makes us all feel so small, and we don't know the impact that we have. I always try to tell adults and other parents that. 

You know, I'm not asking anyone to be a magical fairy 24 hours a day because we're human, we're flawed. But we can be that support system for someone for an hour. We can be that for a day. We can be there for a weekend. And we can do that. We continue to do that until we can extend that time. But we have to be intentional and be aware of when the universe is calling for us to show up that way.

Jeff Galvin: Keeping a positive attitude takes work. It takes a leap of faith that you can have a positive attitude and that you can have a good outcome. You know, it gets you out of that negative orientation and back into the positive one. 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: I think part of it is because as a young person, I experienced great pain and great loss. You know, I'm still unpacking a lot of that. I think when I recall some things, I'm like, "Oh, that's what I unconsciously learned about my mother, that despite her addiction, she kept all of us in the same house. Or you know, I always had a radio, or I always had cable. As a teen, I don't know if I made that connection as like that was an expression of love from her. But now as a parent, I'm like, "Oh."

Jeff Galvin: You said there were some privileges associated with taking care of everybody. Good for you.

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: She never watched cable. She wasn't a TV watcher. So now I get that all the cable was for me to have my MTV. I got money to buy CDs because she knew that kept me out of trouble. And it's again, it's those little things that feed into your dreams.  I'm gonna entertain people. I want to dance for Paula Abdul, I want to dance for Janet Jackson. And then you hear it from other adults who are like, "Oh my God, you are so funny. You need to be on TV one day." Things that were like in passing, right? 

But you know, looking back, I'm like, "Oh, that was, you know, the water on my seed, the water on my leaves." 

Jeff Galvin: Hindsight's always 20/20. And you know, sometimes you have to get way past something before you can look back at it and see the mountain that you just crossed, you know, the shape of it. You got to be a distance past it, right? It's hard to tell what's going on when you're climbing up the side. But I think that is interesting because I think about your mom, right? Because she could have spent that money on drugs, and she didn't. And so something motivated her to do that. And what you said is that she cared about you enough to limit her drugs to the point where she could still pay for cable in a two-bedroom apartment. Like, she had self-discipline, even though she was facing challenges and she was actually climbing her own mountain without abandoning you. That’s really interesting.

We have that kind of framework now, right? But that wasn't so much back then, right? It was like looking at the other side of that, right? Like, why is she doing drugs, right? Yeah, I think that's the only thing I heard. So again, I share those stories on Gran Varones. I share what it was like to be a young person with a troubled adult in the household or who was only given what they could, right?

And I try to, in building the world that we all deserve, in building a new world, like, I don't have any gripes with my mother, right? Because I'm a parent now, right? But, you know, understanding how those things impact my work, my work with young people, right? And like, what is my pain, so that I'm not projecting on other people, but also knowing that there's something beautiful on the other side? 

And sometimes we just need to hear that, right? That doesn't mean not to feel the pain, not to feel the disappointment, not to like be raging over the struggle, right? Whatever that may be in our personal lives. But knowing that there's something beautiful on the other side, just as beautiful on the other side, right? So like we can pause, so I think that's why all those things shaped my life and they continue to shape my life. And I hope that in my work, I'm reminding people that it's okay that it shaped their life. It's not something that I'm gonna deny that happened. It's in the back seat of the car, it's in the passenger seat of the car, it's just no longer in the driver's seat. 

Jeff Galvin: Huh. Oh, that's an, uh, interesting metaphor. Yeah, I get it. Yeah, I like accepting that and seeing it from a different perspective and seeing, you know, well, I think in some ways, if you're happy with yourself right now, whatever happened in your past shaped you that way, so you can give it a little bit of credit, uh, and you can find at least some of the good stuff in there.

This is really amazing to hear you kind of pull out the threads of how that built you into what you are, and now you have a totally, you know, you have some appreciation being a parent now, right? But still, it must be a little bit ironic to you when your son is mad at you, and you're just like, "You're mad at me? It's like, really? Let me tell you about my childhood."

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: That does cross my mind, which is so funny because I would see that, like, throwing things growing up, and I would think, like, I would always side with the child, of course, because that's who I related to as a teen, and now I'm like, "Oh my gosh, when did I become the dad of the situation, right?"

But it definitely gives me a different perspective on what it takes to be a parent in this world, what it takes to be a parent of a young Black person in this world, a young queer person in this world, what it takes to be a parent whose former partner is succumbing to HIV. All those things that I just did not, because my mother was my mother, I never connected her to being her own human, right?

Jeff Galvin: Yeah, well, that seems natural when you're dependent on somebody and you know, we're born so small and dependent and people, you know, the big people around us look so powerful, right, omnipotent really, and uh, it is hard to remember that yeah, they were just older human beings, still human, still imperfect, still facing challenges, and we had to grow into that, right, we're standing on our own two feet. 

Yeah, I mean that's really interesting to humanize other people. This is not just about our parents, but other people in our lives no matter who they are to see their human side. To me that's empathy, right? I think that's one of the human qualities that's really unique in the animal kingdom that I think is a powerful thing about human beings that is uplifting to sort of human collaboration or human communities, but also on these one-on-one basis, so listening to you, it kind of reminds me about that, I think that's so important.

Jeff Galvin: Okay, so you’ve given me some perspective on your childhood and parenting, and what else can you tell us about what makes you, what drives you, and what inspires you?

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: What continues to drive me is working with young people, right? Five years ago at Advocates, you know, when I started Advocates, one of my dreams was to have a cohort of young people living with HIV. Advocates for Youth has several, up to eight youth organizing groups, right? And I think it would be great if we had an organizing group of just young people living with HIV. I would have loved that as a young um teen living with HIV, right? And it happened in an afternoon, right, like the stars and I'm not even exaggerating.

Jeff Galvin: Wow. 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: It was like, "Okay, well let's see if this works," and you know, Deb was like, "Well, I'm gonna try to find funding for this, so just give me. I'll let you know what happens." And you know, she was like at the end of the day, like "I found something. We can get it started. I'm going to continue looking to keep it going."

We're five years later and every year we work with up to 10 young people from all over the country. As a person living with HIV, I love that I get to do that. Again, I get to create that space for other young people to do the same work as when adults in my life created the space for me.

I was a young person again who was a middle school dropout. I did wind up going back and getting my master's degree, but that was also because of you know, I was a dropout. I was hanging out at the club. That sounded like a lifetime 90s movie, right?

Jeff Galvin: I think your story sounds very interesting and yeah, it could make a good Lifetime movie. 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: And I met this guy named Steve, another young person who I was working at an AIDS org in 1995. So this is like the first generation of HIV prevention for young people. This is at the very beginning of that. And he was going away to San Francisco for an internship. And we met, I met his boyfriend, and we were hanging out at the club. He says, "Well, here, call me. Let's hang out again this weekend," and he gave me his job number and his home number, because back then no one had cell phones. 

Jeff Galvin: I remember those old days. 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: Yeah, not everyone was Zack Morris. And I called him at work one Friday just to like, "Hey, do you want to go out and hang out this weekend?" And at the same time, his director was getting on his case about not having found a replacement for him as a peer educator while he would be away for his internship. And he was like, "What are you talking about? I have someone on the call right now." And literally, that car changed the trajectory of my life.

I went into the interview Monday. I got the part-time gig as a peer youth educator where we would go to summer programs and go, "What does the H stand for?" And this is before the breakthrough in treatment, right? 

Jeff Galvin: Yeah, that's like '94 was the first time that they had any effective treatments like the protease inhibitors and even right away it wasn't 100% back then, but up until '94, it was almost a 100% death sentence.

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: So in the summer of '95 I'm doing this job and telling them that this is, you know, like, "Yeah, you know, just doing it." And, you know, they wind up keeping me on. They, you know, the director said, "If you go back to school, I'll find funding for you to stay on board." And I went back to school. So again, like, I had adults who were not just invested in me right then and there, because some people can invest in you and support you in the moment and some people are like, "What's your dream? Because I want to support your dream."

Again, so like that, it was kind of like that, you know, coincidence, I call it, you know, like um, the universe is doing what um, what she does, and as a young person again, just by that, it again, just getting that meeting with Steve, getting in their previous educated position, being told that my voice mattered, being told that I can contribute to the fight against HIV, changed, again, provided me a different road that my peers that I grew up with and dropped out of school with did not have. 

Right, so I never take that for granted, and I'm humbled, amazed, grateful that I'm still here, that I have been the "Steve" for other people, and that, and now I'm the "David" for other people, supporting them and their organizing the work, and then cheering them on as they continue their education. So like that is what continues to drive me, because I hope that when I'm stepping away from the work to open my diner, which will be looking just like this, that the young people that I work with will now step into the elder role to be the David to cheer on a new generation of young people. Because I know that the cure is coming, right? 

Jeff Galvin: You have faith in that too?

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: Yes, and the work that we are doing is to prepare ourselves for that world.

Jeff Galvin: Yeah, it'll be important, because sometimes people can't even accept a good future, but you're the exact opposite of that, aren't you? Like you're right time, right place, and you know, an opportunity gets presented, and you take it. 

But you know, it's really interesting because you're touching a lot on a lot of themes that I believe in. And tell me if my takeaway is like totally wrong here, but I'm like look, this guy who hired you, that wasn't a charity, he didn't just come to you and like, oh, I care about you like a parent or whatever and I'm going to take care of you, no, it was lucky that you know you're on the phone with the guy while he's being lambasted for not hiring somebody and you're like he's like, I got the right person for you, right here, right? But you did the work, you were the right person, and you did the work, right? You didn't go there going, oh, okay, now this person will take care of me, no, you went there, and you went, wow, this is an opportunity, and you did it, and the performance was really good. He's like, you know, we like you here, and if you could stick with it, you know you could, and you want to go back to school, we'll find a way to do that too, right? We don't want to lose you, because you were making your own future, you were giving value, you were working on something that you kind of cared about, and I think that that's a big part of taking control of your future is to be willing to give value. 

And then the other theme that I heard in here was gratitude. Without gratitude, you can't experience joy, so if you take everything for granted, then the only thing that can happen in your life is that it can fall short of expectations, right? When you look at what you have that wouldn't necessarily be part of your life if you hadn't had the journey that you had, or you hadn't had the people that you had, or the opportunities that you had, you can actually take joy away from that. Joy builds confidence. Joy builds faith. Joy builds a positive attitude, and gratitude feeds that joy. 

And lastly, it was about looking into yourself, and we touched on this a little bit earlier in the interview. Looking into yourself and seeing what was there, right, and gravitating towards that stuff. So you're like, "I was out telling people about HIV," not just because you were good at it but because you wanted to do it. And so there's another thing which is, to the extent possible, and I don't think that you can just go, "Well, I want to be a horse breeder," or, "I want to be an astronaut." That doesn't automatically happen because you're like, "That's what I dream of, that's what I'm passionate about." But if you're passionate about something and you head that direction, a lot of the stuff that you encounter along the way, even if you never get to walk on the moon, even if you end up sweeping floors at NASA, you might still come away with a lot of joy because you're around something that you're actually interested in.

And I hear that as well, whereas like, you knew you, and they offered this thing, and you were like, "Yeah, that sounds like me. I'll take that, I'll give it a try," and then you're brave enough to just jump in with both feet, and bring that passion and bring that energy, and voila, they're like, "Hey, don't leave us Louie. We'll pay for your Master's." [Laughter] Now you got a Master's also, so that's really cool. I think there's a lot of really important life lessons in the stories that you're telling us. I guess this is something that happens all the time on Kiki's. Maybe you, as an interviewer, probably don't have to conclude anything because you're just like, "Let them tell their stories, and let everybody conclude their stuff."

Okay, so there I am, hopefully I didn't pollute this interview by interjecting kind of my impression of what I heard. So if anybody's listening to this and you got other lessons out of it, kudos to you. Go with it, don't let me hold you back, but I really find what you're saying very interesting and very inspiring, and like I said, I love what you're doing with it. I love the artistic angle, I love the accessibility, I love the color, I love the celebratory feel of the Kikis with Movie series, but also your website. I think that it is also a celebration of life, and it gives people an opportunity to find lessons and find joy and find gratitude, and all these things that I think are so important in life.

Jeff Galvin: So, is there anything you'd like to close on, any other things that you'd like to talk about? Any advice you have for our audience that's trying to understand LGBTQ, trying to live as LGBTQ, trying to deal with HIV diagnosis, whatever, you know, like you've seen it all. Is there anything that you'd like to share with folks that are out there in that situation? 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: You know, without sounding too cliche-ish, you know they're this, I have good days and bad days, like we all do, right? And in this current climate, it can sometimes feel like bad days are more ever-present, right? 

I heard one time and I can't remember who said it, but the quote is that hope is a discipline. The world wants us to give up so much, we give up pieces of ourselves depending on the spaces that we're in, who we're talking to. We give up pieces of ourselves to get through the day, to like not argue with our partners, ourselves, or the person at the cashier, right? 

Jeff Galvin: Right. 

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: But I hope that, you know, it is my wish, my prayer that we don't give up hope. 

Jeff Galvin: Here here to that, I mean, you know, absolutely. And I'll tell you, things become cliche because they're true. And so, thank you for laying that on us, and that's a great thing to close on. And I really appreciate this interview. It was so much fun talking to you. You are a good talker. Let's do this again sometime.

Louie Fonseca-Ortiz: I told you.

Jeff Galvin: Yeah, you told me, you warned me right up front. Let's do this again sometime. Hopefully, I'll tell you, I have a lot of hope in our future, and I get what you're saying about hope being a discipline and also sort of renewing that from time to time, looking at your own life with a good perspective so that you can see that there are these positive threads in it and that we are heading to something better. We're certainly trying to do that here at AGT. That's what drives us. 

So, thank you for joining us today on the Cure Chronicles. And I think this really helps support everything that, as a community, we're all collectively trying to do, which is just to improve each other's lives. And thank you for being a great advocate in that space. All right, take care.

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