“And I remember saying ‘I Don’t Want to Be Like You’”
Photographer Luna Luis Ortiz is known in the New York City ballroom and voguing scene as the legendary father of the House of Khan (as depicted on the FX series Pose). Diagnosed with HIV as the result of a rape in the mid-80s when he was just 14, he was told he only had two years to live. Despite a lack of family support, Luna became a spokesperson for living with HIV at a time when the virus was tearing through gay communities all over the world with no treatment or cure in sight.
Now almost fifty, Luna defied his prognosis and has spent his life so far being the mentor to young queer people of color that he wished he’d had.
On this Pride-themed episode of Tell Me About Your Father, Luna talks with Matthew about the relationship he had with his Dad, an immigrant from Puerto Rico who effectively disowned him upon hearing of his son’s diagnosis, and describes the way in which he discovered an alternate family and “gay father” within the houses of the ballrooms, the bittersweet reunion he had with his dad just before his death, and the important way in which his father helped him find his voice despite their decades-long estrangement.