My name is Jason Delgado and I’m a 22-year-old Gay male.
I recently quit my job to go back to school full time. I am studying to major in business at San Jacinto College. After high school, I immediately started working at the courthouse in downtown Houston. I was employed there for three years. This is my first year in college.
School had a HUGE impact on who I am as a person. I was able to meet all different types of people. In school, I never had a single group of friends. I have a very big personality and a bunch of different interests. So, I was able to connect to all kinds of people.
In the past, I’ve volunteered with my church to help out victims of Hurricane Harvey. We went to different houses and neighborhoods and helped tear down walls and clean out the houses.
My main interests would have to be music and acting. I love to sing and act. It has always been a passion of mine. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be on TV in a movie or singing on a stage. I feel at home in those settings. I’m very outgoing and I think that has played a big role in my personality.
In my spare time, I like to film YouTube videos. I used to have a channel where I did different challenges with my friends, and talked about my life. But after going through something, I took the channel down, which I regret. I’m in the process of starting a new channel and gaining a following.
A big life experience that led me to embrace who I am would have to be one of the reasons I actually decided to come out. A real good friend of mine, who had helped me a lot with coming to terms with being gay, passed away in a car accident. After his death, I suffered major depression because I had no one to talk to about why I was so sad with his death. And after months of being really sad, I finally decided to come clean to my friends and family and it made me realize life is too short to not live who you are. It was the best decision I think I could’ve made with my life.
I am currently single.
Becoming a part of this campaign was a complete coincidence. As I mentioned earlier, I grew up really into music and acting and one day, my stepmom texted me a screenshot of the flyer to audition for this campaign. I read into it and thought I should give it a try. Coming to the audition, I didn’t know it would be this big of a deal. I was secretly hoping to just meet more people like me. I don’t really have any gay or trans friends. But as this process has gone on and seeing what this campaign stands for, I am so glad IO took the time to come and audition.
I want to honestly be there for people who feel like they don’t have anyone to look up to. Or, who feel like no one else is like them. I want to be that voice that someone can look at and say to themselves, “being myself is OK. I am fine just the way I am.” I didn’t have that growing up. I want also to be able to educate the community on taking precautions in whatever they do. Growing up, I had NO IDEA what HIV was. I didn’t know it wasn’t curable. But I also didn’t know that there was life AFTER it. So, I would really love to be a voice and educate the community on it.
I am HIV negative and I am currently not taking PrEP. I have never taken PrEP before. But I think it is so beneficial to know what it can do for you. If you are HIV negative and in a relationship with someone who is living with HIV, taking PrEP can help you not catch the virus and vice versa. If you are positive and your partner is negative, encourage them to take PrEP.
Getting tested for HIV is important because it helps you know if you have acquired the virus or not. If you’re living with HIV and are unaware, others could, possibly, contract HIV from you. If you know you have it, you can take the proper steps into getting treated and getting help.
I am a gay male, and what’s most important to me is letting people know that it is OK to be who you are. Growing up, I was so afraid to be who I was. I was afraid to tell people what I was into. I would force myself to like more “masculine” things in the hope that people wouldn’t think I was gay. But the only thing that did for me was make me depressed. I was miserable.
Pretending to be something you’re not is exhausting. It is mentally draining. And I know people everywhere are living that way. But I also consider young kids who decided to come out in elementary or middle school and who are getting bullied. I would hope to let them know that I admire them and to stay strong and that they’re doing the right thing.
My family is the best! I wouldn’t change them for the world! I grew up in a very huge and close family. I have a total of seven siblings. Some are step-siblings and some are half-siblings. But I consider them all blood. We’re all very close in age. Growing up with that many siblings, I was introduced to different personalities very early on. When I came out to them they were all very supportive. They pretty much said “you do you, bro! Love ya!” I was more surprised with my parents’ reactions. My mom was supportive, and she just tried her best to educate me on HIV and AIDS and told me to be careful. My dad’s reaction was my favorite. I took him to dinner and when I told him, he was like, “if you ever want to invite someone over you’re more than welcome,” and that was so cool with it. I am very lucky and blessed at how supportive my family is.
“In the end, things are always going to be OK.” I live by this quote every day because, after everything I’ve been through in life, no matter how bad it got, I knew I was always going to be OK — and I was.
My goals and aspirations in life are to be successful and to be a positive light in the world. I love to sing and act and I hope to one day use my talents to be able to reach millions and millions of people and to be a voice and light for them. I want to be someone people look up to in a positive way. I also hope to be able to support my family so they won’t have to stress or worry about money anymore.
What “Live Healthy, Live Longer,” means to me is that if you take care of yourself — mentally, physically and spiritually — you can live a long, healthy life.
What “I’m here. I exist. I matter,” means to me is that I’m important. That just because I’m different doesn’t mean I’m any less than the “average” person. That what I have to say does matter. That my views and opinions are relevant.
I think what most people would be surprised to know about me is how big my personality is. And how I have many different interests. I’ve never just focused on one thing. In school, I was friends with people who liked music because I love to sing. I was friends with the theatre kids because I love to act. I hung out with the people who liked Anime and Pokémon because I’m also into that stuff. I never had just one group of friends. I was always able to branch out. I love meeting new people.
What I want and what I hope people take away from me is the journey. I think people only look at the end result and don’t see what it took to get here. But I hope that they take away the positive. And that it is possible to live this life and be happy.