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WATCH: Kenyth Mogan on Meningitis, Making Music, PrEP, and Alexis Arquette

Kenyth Mogan

The out singer/songwriter and "wholesome homo" talks meningitis, his new single, PrEP and the death of his friend Alexis Arquette.

Almost exactly two years ago “wholesome homo” pop star Kenyth Mogan released the single to Unlock My Heart that hit nearly half a million views in days. Plus caught up with Mogan on the eve of the release of his newest single called Perfect Love.

“I actually wrote the original version of this song for my boyfriend at the time. It was a simple sweet romantic song because everything was 100 percent perfect whenever we were together. Then the day I played the demo we broke up,” Mogan says. “You have to laugh at that.”

The break up was amicable and the two are still very good friends today, but since he was recording the song the next day, “I had to change the lyrics so I wrote them about the perfect love being a person in my dream. My dream man includes Nyle DiMarco, Russell Tovey, and John Wesley Shipp. It was a very good stroke of luck that I met Curtis James Salt, who directed, produced, and edited the video, as well as coming up with the concept.” 

Mogan confessed that hearing about the recent meningitis outbreak among gay and bi men in Los Angeles was chilling and it reminded him of his battle with the disease while he was attending the University of Montana. After an initial bout that subsided, he decided to forsake his physician’s advice and finish the semester. It was a big mistake, he admits, as he relapsed “big time” and went back to the hospital. This time the nurses who were caring for him kept telling him it was just a urinary tract infection.

“I remember calling my father crying because I thought I was going to die,"  he says. He told his father that the doctors weren't treating him for it. After his father called some friends who had connections at the hospital, they began treating him for meningitis.

“It was a very scary time," he recalls, one that had permanent impact on his life. "It left me with memory issues, a seizure disorder, and frequent migraines.”

Later on, when the apartment that he and his friends had been renting was condemned by the city for mold and other issues, he says, “Several students and the university sued. I remember I was part of the lawsuit and in the letter to us, when we demanded restitution, I was referred to as the ‘gay boy’ and ‘the faggot’ by the slumlords, because I was the only one that had gotten sick. They insinuated it was because I had AIDS.”

The artist says he cherishes his health now, though he's still mourning the death of his friend Alexis Arquette.

Morgan_arquettex750Mogan and Alexis Arquette out on the town

“I met Alexis on one of my first nights out after moving to Los Angeles. It was at a bar called Numbers. I recognized her from The Surreal Life and said something like ‘your courage gives me courage’ — or something as equally corny. She thanked me, said I was adorable.”

The two then kept in contact over the years, as Mogan gained a modicum of Hollywood success himself.

“She was a very sweet and protective friend," he admits. "When I released my first EP she was one of the first people to share it, and loved my cover of Toni Basil's 'Mickey.'  The one thing Alexis could do, almost better than anyone, was get me to laugh.”

Arquette's gender fluidity was just a tiny part of who she was as a friend, he says. "Whether she identified as a male or female — sometimes both on the same day — we always had fun. The world lost a fierce and fabulous friend.”

Today, the popstar has become an advocate for PrEP, something, he says, doesn't go against his "wholesome homo" image. 

“I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive," he says. "I think everyone should protect themselves, and this drug gives me peace of mind. The "wholesome homo" moniker came from one of my very first interviews. I don't remember which one exactly, but the writer referred to me as the wholesome homo and it stuck. I guess it's better than being called the bitchy homo." 

He says it's the slut shaming that still accompanies the PrEP that made him "want to help eliminate the stigma around the drug. That alone, is worth it.”



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