The Rachofskys make Poz magazine’s 100 list

The December issue of Poz reveals the Poz 100 list featuring those who have made a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Dallas made the list through the work of Cindy and Howard Rachofsky and their Two X Two for AIDS and Art benefit. From Poz.com.

The key to how we do this is, in part, the POZ 100. This year’s list celebrates 100 people, things and ideas that reinvent—and improve—how we tackle HIV.

We would need tens of thousands of pages to celebrate all the wonderful people and organizations bravely and effectively fighting the virus. The purpose of the POZ 100 is to highlight some of those who are making big splashes right now. This year’s list is a little top heavy. By that we mean there are a lot of big names in government and global AIDS on it. But the reality of today’s pinched economy means that all AIDS funding is under heavy artillery fire. And the folks on this list have been taking the hits while defending the perimeter. They have gone to bat for our community when others would like us just to go away. And without leadership on global and domestic AIDS at the highest levels, the money expires—and so could we.

79. The Rachofskys 
Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, superstars in the world of AIDS fund-raising, bring fresh dollars to the mix. To date, their annual “TWO X TWO for AIDS and Art” event has raised more than $29 million jointly benefiting amfAR (of which Cindy is a trustee) and the Dallas Museum of Art. They get art donated to save people from AIDS. Each year, Dallas’s high society scrambles to secure tickets to this event.

—  Rich Lopez

Mason Wyler declares his porn career dead

Former Dallasite says HIV-positive status led to cancellation of contract

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

QUIETER LIFE | Wyler figures life out as he’s lost his healthy salary from making adult films and tending to his HIV poz status. (Courtesty WylerNation.com)

Mason Wyler can be a hard man to figure out. He could be smarter than people give him credit for. After causing a frenzy last year coming out as HIV-positive, he’s received both criticism for irresponsibility in the industry but also reassuring feedback from his fans.

As he sees his career options dwindle, Wyler now has to figure what his next role will be — not in film, but in life.

“I would say my career as a porn performer is dead. I’m calling it. Mason Wyler as a porn performer is dead,” he declares.

Porn stars work in an industry that doesn’t garner them a lot of sympathy from society, but Wyler likes to remind people that he’s a human with real-life issues. Stating his career is dead lends itself to the same worries other people losing their job would feel. Following disclosure of his HIV status, his studio, Next Door, fizzled out his contract; his last “job” was the end of May. All as a result of his status.

“Because of my work, I’ve been able to not give a thought about money or bills or savings,” he admits. “But it’s been unreal. I’m sad and it is worrisome.”

During his contract for the past four years, Wyler says he was earning between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, but since coming out, he has been relegated to just webcam shows, clocking time until his contract was met. And as he saw it, the other studios were done with him.

“I worked with every major studio under the sun,” the former Dallasite says. “Now it’s a different story. But also, the industry is struggling due to the Internet.”

So maybe ending his career, by choice or not, is a smart move. Wyler considered his options and finds himself approaching an entirely new career path. Part of that includes moving back to the Dallas area away from his Houston suburban home with his partner.

“I’m sort of an idiot,” he laughs. “I had one semester left at UNT to graduate so it looks like in the near future I’ll be trekking my ass back up to DFW area and finishing my degree at UNT. Thankfully I left in good standing and able to be readmitted. For some reason I thought I had two years left and it turns out I only have 15 hours.”

He was working his way toward a teaching certificate initially, but now plans to finish his schooling and receive a bachelor’s degree in history. His goal: To work in a museum.

As for his health, he says he’s fine.

“I had a massive infection after just getting my wisdom teeth out but that had nothing to do with the HIV,” he says. “I go to my doc once a month to get my blood screened. People ask me what meds I’m on but my doc says as long as I feel healthy, my immune system is working, my T-cells are high and my viral load is down, I don’t need to be on any right now.”

Although a public person of sorts, Wyler has yet to resolve his position as any kind of spokesman for HIV prevention. He’s aware of the likely societal impression a former porn star would make, but he’s also conflicted about the messages already out there.

“There are two message the community wants to put out there: Know your status, play safe, etcetera. And then, from the poz side, the message is to stay healthy, live your life, what not,” he says. “If I’m trying to get rid of any stigma, I think it cancels out the ‘safe sex message.’ Then it doesn’t show how devastating it can be. As a positive person, when I hear those reassuring messages about feeling fine, I think it lends to actually making people feel worse about the situation. It’s very difficult for me to resolve it all.”

There is a certain earnest and conflict in his voice with an added confusion. This is why he hasn’t attempted to be any sort of activist. Additionally, his decision not to be on medication may be controversial for others. He’s still figuring it out.

“In terms of any kind of platform, I still write on my site, but I don’t think I’m the person to turn to for any sort of legitimate advice,” he acknowledges. “Hopefully I can just tell people that everybody should know the risks and act accordingly. I think it’s a personal responsibility.”

So what does the future hold for “Mason Wyler” now that he’s been publicly announced as dead by his creator.

“Maybe one of the Caven clubs can host a funeral for him,” he laughs. “I’d attend that for sure. That could be fun as I return to Dallas!”

For more on Wyler, visit his blog WylerNation.com.

—  Rich Lopez

10th Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS comes to a successful conclusion … even if I didn’t

David Taffet’s knee was bandaged up on Monday after his wipeout on Sunday during the Lone Star Ride. To view some much prettier photos from the ride, go here.

On Saturday morning, Lone Star Riders were on their bikes about to take off when the event was postponed for three hours because of rain. The rain didn’t let up and the first day’s ride of the 10th annual Lone Star Ride was eventually canceled completely.

Some thought it was the best thing that could have happened because it gave riders and crew plenty of time to get to know one another.

Day 2 was perfect riding weather. Cool, overcast in the morning and sunny for closing ceremonies.

Two ride options were available for the 200 riders on Sunday. Some opted for the shorter 45-mile ride from the American Airlines Training Center just south of DFW Airport. The ride meandered mostly through Grand Prairie to a turning point south of I-20. The 75-mile ride, which most Lone Star Riders opted for, continued to Ovilla and back.

I wiped out at mile 18.

This was my fifth or sixth ride. I’ve never fallen on a ride. I haven’t fallen since I first took up biking for the old Tanqueray rides from Houston.

Coincidentally, I was about to have the bike techs in the next pit stop check my brakes. The back brake didn’t seem to be holding right. Maybe it was from all the rain. I was, after all, stubborn and went out riding in the rain by myself on Saturday. Anyhow, some riders in front of me stopped short. My front brake worked fine. I swerved to miss the others, and I went over the handlebars using my face to break the fall.

I sagged back to camp with another two riders who collided after a pothole encounter. My bike made it back just before closing ceremonies, repaired by bike techs at the pit. Thanks guys! Even though I was in pain and mortified, I got to ride in with everyone for the closing ceremonies.

Closing ceremonies were moving as always. Valerie Holloway Skinner read her traditional ride poem. Jonathan Palant conducted the Turtle Creek Chorale. As the riderless bike was wheeled to the stage, Chorale member and Poz Pedaler Jim Frederick read a tribute to remember friends and family lost to AIDS.

Tooting own horn:

Team Dallas Voice did great! We had the most team members (57) and raised the most money.

Among Team Dallas Voice members, Gary Karwacki was the #2 crew fundraiser. Greg Hoover was the #1 crew findraiser (for the second year in a row). Among riders, Team Dallas Voice member Brady Allen was the #3 fundraiser.

As of Monday morning, Team Dallas Voice had raised $54,883.80. But we’re not done yet. You can donate online by going to the Lone Star Ride home page and clicking on any participant or team. Plus, Dallas Voice is still selling raffle tickets to benefit this year’s event.

Drawing for two domestic American Airlines tickets will take place Thursday, Sept. 30 at noon. Raffle tickets are $20 and 100 percent of the proceeds goes to Lone Star Ride. And 100 percent of the money Lone Star Riders raise goes to the three beneficiaries: AIDS Services Dallas, Resource Center Dallas and AIDS Outreach Center.

If you would like a raffle ticket, stop by Dallas Voice offices, 4145 Travis St., third floor. Jesse has them at the front desk. Or call a Team Dallas Voice member to get a ticket to you. We can take cash or checks for the raffle.

Proceeds for Lone Star Ride will be distributed at Salum on Oct. 24.

And despite having left part of my face on South Robinson Road in Grand Prairie, I was the first rider to “recycle” (to sign up for next year’s ride). I’ll do the century day then.

—  David Taffet