Brave New World
by Corey Saucier

bnwI am black, gay, poor, and HIV-positive. In most circles these are not the most beautiful things a person can be. And if there is anything in this world that I want, it is to be beautiful.

I think we all want to be beautiful.

I went to a wonderful party the other day. It was an artsy party with fizzy golden drinks, “farm to table” organic hors d’ouervres, and a dining room full of a hundred gourmet hand-made rainbow colored cupcakes of a dozen different flavors. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. We might as well have been transported to a mystical green forest with a banquet set by tiny fluttering fairies with baby blue butterfly wings on golden plates draped with silver-shining spiderwebs cast over cutlery like pearls—with wonderful pink and purple magical deserts that tasted of snozzberries and chocolate.

The host of the event was a handsome twenty-six-year-old poet in a crisp white designer shirt, who was dating a promising political hopeful in a matching equally crisp white designer shirt; and when they stood next to each other in front of the crowd they looked liked the new young gay American dream. Anyone who thinks there is no gay mafia has never been to a really good Hollywood party.

We were told that everyone at this chic crystal clinking event was individually invited because of their talents and artistic contributions and at some point in the night (a little before midnight) the princely host in his crisp white designer shirt said a toast:

“I am blessed to know a lot of beautiful people.” He said, “You are all the most beautiful people I know; and I wanted you all to have the opportunity to get to know one another.” He then held his boyfriend’s hand, smiled warmly to the crowd, raised his glass, and took a sip of ice cold champagne.

It was like something out of a fairy tale.

And looking around they were indeed beautiful. All different types of people were there, men, women, Trans, Colored (can we still say colored?), White, old, young, and an adorable brown-eyed inventor in a wheelchair who I tried my darndest not to flirt with. They were physically and socially beautiful—spiritually and intimately beautiful—totally and completely beautiful. Everyone was kind, joy-filled, talkative, and invested in hearing each other’s stories (which is a rare thing for a fancy L.A. party.) It was a really great night and I was incredibly honored to be invited.

The next morning I woke up with stars in my eyes! I was so grateful to have been there because it reminded me that I am a beautiful and talented and made for great things.

“I am black, gay, poor, HIV-positive and made for great things.”

I think we forget sometimes.

I’ll speak for myself. I forget sometimes.

“We are made for great things.”

[pull_quote_right]I’ve deleted all the “dating” apps from my phone; because they were maddening, and frustrating…[/pull_quote_right]Thirty-nine days ago I was spiraling out of control, desperate and hungry for validation and connection—yearning for someone to love me and call me pretty, and standing just on the edge of the abyss. But that was thirty-nine days ago and a lot can change in thirty-nine days. I’ve deleted all the “dating” apps from my phone; because they were maddening, and frustrating, and terrifying, and sad. (And you’d be surprised and how few people tell you nice things on those things.) Thirty-nine days ago, I was feeling ugly and dissatisfied with my circumstances and starting to the think that perhaps everyone was awful. I was the strange ugly stepsister, infected in the corner and destined to live my life alone… .And then I was invited to a party. And we all know what happens when Cinderella is invited to the ball. And just so we’re clear: I will be playing the role of Cinderella!

I am black, gay, poor, and HIV-positive; and in certain circles those are not always seen as the most beautiful things to be. But those are not the circles I want to be a part of. I want to be with people who are able to see past the glass slipper and see me for me: Talented, creative, starry-eyed people who are just as strange, just as complex, and just as beautiful as me!

Because we all want to be beautiful.

I am not ashamed of my race; I am not shamed of my sexuality; I am not ashamed of my bank account; and I am by no means ashamed of the virus the runs through my blood. But I am so much more than these collections of attributes; I am vast and magical and made for great things. And thirty-nine days ago, just before the stroke of midnight, I was reminded that we don’t have to be invited to a party where other beautiful people tell us that we are beautiful to remember that we are beautiful.

“You are Cinderella! And no matter what you see when you look in the mirror, you are ALWAYS the belle of the ball.”

Corey Saucier is an artist and writer living in Los Angeles. He is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction and Non-Fiction and is currently penning his first novel. His musings and wanderings on Love, Life, and Nonsense can be found at