Alessio and Matto, Social Media Manager/Personal Assistant and Showroom Back Office/Seller, Milan, Italy

photo by Kevin Truong, Alessio (left) and Matto (right)
photo by Kevin Truong, Alessio (left) and Matto (right)
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong, Alessio (left) and Matto (right)
Alessio, in his own words: ” Being gay means to be my self, as a free person who can have sentimental decisions without any pressure by anyone.

Sometimes it made me feel very proud of myself… A little bit lucky as a guy man I could be brave and love who I want. But sometimes I said to myself: “it is normal and easy” and at the same time I say, there are and there were many people who cannot be themselves and cannot be free to love who they want.

One day I said to my parents: “Mamma, Papà, io sono innamorato di Francesco”. And the rest was not so easy and joyful to tell you…

Sometimes it is really nice the opportunity that a huge city like Milan can offer to you but sometimes it can be really ugly and cruel in general.

For me since I came from a very little country this LGBT community is often strange.

(Advice to my younger self) Be brave.”

Matto, in his own words: ” Bein’ gay for me, it’s to be free feeling always myself, with everybody and in every situation of my life.

I don’t know exactly, but my idea of success is to basically and consciously choose to have positive feelings.

When I realized that I fell in love with my first boy-friend I needed to talk to my mom but she told me “I know”, then she cried for my secret: I was 22 years-old.

Milan’s a crossroads of many kind of gay people, so the community is numerous and well integrated to the rest of the citizens. Being the city of the fashion, it answers to the rules of the fashion-system. I am not a very worldly person, I prefer to be with the people that I love.

(Advice to my younger self) be always honest with yourself, first, and don’t be afraid to be free.”

Samuel, Actor, Zurich, Switzerland

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Samuel, in his own words: “Being gay doesn’t actually mean a lot to me, cause for me it is totally a normal thing. I’m happy to feel love for someone and it doesn’t matter if this person is a man or a woman.

A big challenge in life for me is to accept. I’m a very sensitive person and I truly love when I really love. So there is no way anything would break that love except the other one decides to go it’s own way without me. My partner for life left me last summer and I will never forget him, but I will have to get pass him. This is a very hard time for me right now, but I will also succeed and manage it one day. I’m very happy to make my money from singing and acting. I wasn’t sure about that first, but since I am able to live from that, I feel very privileged. This is the biggest energy, that keeps me going on and on and on.

I never really had to come out myself. When I was younger I was always with girls, but then I fell in love with my best male friend… everyone knew and even when my parents asked me on a Sunday brunch if I was in love with him. It was simply clear.

I’m a traveler and not really into the gay scene, so I don’t really know a lot about (the gay scene in Zurich). There are some gay clubs and bars, but I barely go there. I’m the total private party lover.

(Advice to my younger self) don’t lose yourself. Always focus on yourself first and keep on holding to that, especially when you’re in a relationship. You will always be successful if you just belief in you!”

Klay, Author, New York City

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Klay, in his own words: “(Being gay means) God. Juxtaposition. Freedom. Being. Spirit. Difference. Strength. Fluidity. Infinite. Privilege. Essence. Joy. Power. Responsibility. Royal. Love. Gratitude. Treats. Sun. Resurrection. Simply. Enough.

A general challenge is probably being a double minority—black and gay. When experiencing forms of discrimination, it’s very interesting having to figure out if my blackness or gayness is too much for some.

[Laughs]

A success? Let’s see. There is probably not too much that I could not handle as a result of the above challenge. And, with that, in the form of various disparities, it makes you feel extra special, beautiful and free, when you are simply comfortable in all that might be separating in the US, in general.

The thing that makes me, or others different is the unifying glue that educates, strengthens and calls us to live out the fullest expression of who we are.

So, everyday is a celebration of sorts.

I’m not sure I can speak for the varying communities of community within the life of gays in NYC. It’s such a vast canvas that it cannot be described in one sentence or platform, if that makes sense.

Nonetheless, in my experience, I would say that the community in New York City is selective and separate in a lot of ways, in terms of race, class, and socioeconomic status. Then, on the other hand, you have communities where everyone is completely different from each other—race, class and the like is not of importance.

Either way, there’s no judgment. I think we instinctively gravitate towards who we are comfortable with.

I do not really have a (coming out) story—more so, thoughts:
(An excerpt from my book, There Is Only Plan A—A Journey Towards Self-Discovery and Renewed Purpose, Chapter 9)

Dear God,

I have a secret.

Shhh…conceal it inside.
Shhh…inhalation from within….
Shhh…don’t release the wind…the wind of destruction, separation, and pain…the dressing that covers the bruise of disclosure…the asylum that protects it…your secret.

You’ve moved violently through your limited days, resisting the beast that dwells in your soul…the monstrous fiend of biblical times that hounds the streets of Corinth.

Rock hard feeling…sentiment and sensation pursues the visual physique of the mortal that provides nourishment to your palate of fascination.

Heartbreaking discretion and dutiful murmurs of rejection irk the creature that usher screams inside your body of containment.

Never-ending bliss, lifelong nurturing, sexual aggression, and soundless pain bequeath your heart of embarrassment.

Whispers. Stares. Judgment. Confusion and hate remain in the swagger of your damaged stride. But you gently whisper….

Shhh…conceal it inside.
Shhh…inhalation from within….
Shhh…don’t release the wind…the wind of destruction, separation, and pain…the dressing that covers the bruise of disclosure…the asylum that protects it…your secret.

Mind warp. Twilight Zone. Panic. Protection is found only in the respite of solitude and spiritual regulation from the universe of hallucination. Tender prayers and heartfelt tears of freedom hide the beauty of your shadowed silhouette.

The end. Help. Smother. Your restless nights add maturity to your adolescent body of past perfection and crumpled linen to your hills of collapsed smiles.

Beg. Kaput. Future. The walls of Jericho have finally tumbled down. Armageddon has inaudibly pierced the small crevice between your lips.

Furtive. Hush-hush. Covert. It’s finally out. Ancient times are no more. Contemporary art hangs from the gray wall. Picturesque visions of Black and White surface. Immortal quietness no longer dwells within your clandestine spirit.

Numbness. Fear. Hope.

Shhh…conceal it inside.
Shhh…inhalation from within….
Shhh…don’t release the wind…the wind of destruction, separation, and pain…the dressing that covers the bruise of disclosure…the asylum that protects it…your secret.

(Advice I’d give to my younger self) You are—and have always been—and will forever be, enough.”

Beau, Administrative Assistant, Brisbane, Australia

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Beau, in his own words: ” Being gay to me means that I’m a dude who likes dudes. To me it’s a small part of who I am. Its like having brown eyes or red hair – it can help define you – but in reality it’s just a small part of who you are as a person. When someone asks me if I’m gay I will always ask them why. Why do people need to know such an intimate detail as in its more a question about who I sleep with rather then who I am as a person. But I always say after I answer “know you know just a little bit more of who I am.”

I regard three points in my life as my success stories: the first being when I won student of the week in grade 2. After a really bad week at school me and mum had a talk and she told me if I was really good at school she would get me a suprise. So that week I convinced myself that my vitamin C tablets would make me concentrate and make me be good and I took one every morning and snuck one in the afternoon so I could do my homework and on Friday after morning tea my teacher gave me the award and I was able to put my name up on the board with all the other kids. The second time was on Australia Day when I won my award for “the betterment of the region” and listed all of my achievements over the past 12 months and I was so pleased with myself and even more pleased that my grandfather was telling everyone that’s my grandson and all of the older people came to shake my hand and afterwards mum let me hang the award in the hallway so as soon as you came into the house from the backdoor you would see my award hanging there. The third time I felt successful was when I took my partner to my brothers partners parents house for Christmas to meet all of my family – it was the first time my parents had met a boyfriend and I just felt so proud because I was so scared of what they would think of him and me but my dad shook his hand and my mum gave him a hug and it was just like all the times my sister brought her boyfriends home. It felt great.

Like most teenagers I was bullied horribly. I was concussed three times in grade 7 and pushed down a stairwell because I was “a faggot” but after primary school it got better and I have moved on from caring what most of them thought of me because I know now that it’s up to me if I let their words hurt me and sometimes they do but mostly they don’t which is good.

My coming out story begins in grade 8 when my teacher gave us an assignment on two weeks with the queen – a novel – and we had to write letters from one character to another describing what is happening and how they felt and when I handed in my first draft he said to me why don’t you change who is writing to who. Why don’t you try the gay couple in the book and write about them. The gay couple are in their thirties and one is dying of AIDS. I told him I didn’t know anything about gay people and he told me to google coming out stories and start from there. That weekend the family was out and I googled coming out stories and reading every story was like looking into my own mind and connecting the dots as to why I was different. It made no sense to me before that and now I had a word to describe my feelings and I felt so grown up but I had no one to tell. A few weeks later I went to my local youth group camp and met a wonderful girl who was a few years older and she was the first person I told. We would email each other ever day and it was nice to have someone to talk to. My mum got worried and thought this older girl was taking advantage of me and asked my youth group leader to talk to me about it because I wouldn’t talk to them. And then I told him the truth and it was awkward and I asked him not to tell my parents and that I would so that afternoon I told my mum because dad was at work and what I remember most was I was standing at the sink and I drunk a cup of water after each sentence I said. And then she sent me to my room and her and dad talked when he got home and all I heard from their conversation was as long as he is happy. That made me smile.

The gay community in Brisbane is small but very diverse. It’s well represented of all the different colours of the rainbow but everyone knows everyone and most won’t let you forget if you slept with their ex. In the six years I have been in Brisbane now things have changed a lot but the people stay the same and I find that comforting as you will always get a hello down at the pub.

What would I tell my younger self? I would tell me not worry. The people who make your life hell now will not always be around and you will get to choose if and when you speak to them when your older and when they request your friendship on Facebook you will smile and accept knowing that it was them who wanted your acceptance and not the other way around. The second thing I would tell myself is it gets better and you will make so many new friends you won’t remember all of their names but all you have to do is say hi first.”

Jose, Journalist, Madrid, Spain

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Jose, in his own words: “Being gay should not be anything special. For me being gay does not mean anything. I’m just simply. It is not a value in itself, nor a curse or blessing. It is another feature, such as red hair or as being tall or short. However, I understand and am glad that many people who felt persecuted by their sex lives celebrate their homosexuality with pride, and I like to see people who have not felt persecuted celebrate their sexuality against the intolerance of others.

My greatest success is being happy and being able to create a bubble in which the pettiness and pessimism is out. That is my greatest success over any professional achievements. Apart from that, as a professional, I am proud to have published in the largest newspaper in my country, having written a book, having shot a short film that defined my way of seeing the world.

I did not leave the closet because I’ve never been inside. I have been lucky to have always been who I am. I remember the first time I felt excitement seeing a man was watching Kurt Russell in Big Trouble in Little China.

The gay community in Madrid, and very much the protest and street fighting for the rights of all, is very funny and open to people of all communities. The gay who comes to Madrid, after only a few days, feels born in Madrid. Madrid is a place where anyone who feels persecuted in his small town or village can come and be happy.

(Advice to my younger self) Be patient and work hard.”

Jens and Hans, Retired, Langeland, Denmark

photo by Kevin Truong, Jens (left) and Hans (right)
photo by Kevin Truong, Jens (left) and Hans (right)
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong, Hans (left) and Jens (right)
photo by Kevin Truong, Hans (left) and Jens (right)
Hans, in his own words: “To me being gay means that I am different then the majority of people in the world around me. As a young man I have had a lot of trouble accepting that, as I have a strong tendency to conform to spoken and unspoken demands. But when I was 25 I fell head over heels and quite undeniably in love with my best friend. He was straight and the situation led to the kind of drama I guess a lot of us have been through. But there was no way back for me.

I guess coming out to myself was the hardest part. Coming out to parents, brothers and sisters and friends was easy in comparison. I experienced hardly any negative reactions. The worst were the comments of some of my so called progressive friends. They said I shouldn’t label myself in such an old fashioned way and that we should transcend the dichotomy of straight and gay. Just the kind of rationalisation I had been using to deny my own sexuality. But the large majority was very positive and accepting, my mother said that she always had known….

The struggle between the wish to conform and the inability to do so because I also need to respect my own individuality, is one of my life’s themes. My coming out has helped me to become a much more free and nonconformist person then I would have been without this experience.

Sometimes I can still surprise myself by finding traces of homophobia in me. Jens and I have been living together for over 30 years now, and we have been married for more then 8. But I still find it difficult to call him my husband, especially when talking to people who don’t know me. I guess that in a way my coming out process will never stop. But then nobody is perfect. Not even perfectly gay!”

Jens, in his own words: “I’m 59 years old, Danish and married to Hans, who is Dutch, we have been together for 33 years in September.

I came out when I was 19, just before I turned 20, on Feb. 9th, 1976. I had been very depressed for a long time, felt wrong, didn’t know what was the matter. But from the moment I came out, it has been great, I have never had a negative experience being gay, never heard anything negative about being gay. I think Im very lucky being gay. The only issue has been the fact, that we didn’t have any kids. We really wanted to, we tried several things, like I tried for 2 years to have a baby with a woman, she got pregnant but lost the child. So that was not what life had for us, unfortunately, but now with what I have now, I feel Im very blessed with ‘my boys,’ the young gay guys I’m close to now are my children and I love them very much.

Hans and I met at a conference in Copenhagen in August 1982, on Friday the 13th. We spend 3 days and 4 nights together before he went back to Amsterdam. It felt so right, like coming home. Two days after he left, I called him and suggested to him that I came to Amsterdam, moved in with him. He liked the idea very much. But we agreed to talk again a couple of days later to see if we still liked the idea. We did!!! So I packed my stuff and three weeks later I left Denmark and moved to Amsterdam, one of my favourite places in the world.

That was one of my biggest successes in my life, getting out of Denmark and moving down to Hans in The Netherlands. It was hard in the beginning, very hard. I didn’t have my friends, didn’t speak the language and I was used to fucking around a lot and now I was living with Hans and had to behave, which was very hard. I didn’t have much money, had just finished my bachelor in Psychology and didn’t have a job. But I managed to earn a bit of money and later got a scholarship to start my masters in The Netherlands. Now it sounds crazy, move to another country, give up everything and start all over again, but it was great. I loved living in Amsterdam and even we had a lot of fights, it was so right, it felt so right and Im very happy and proud that we did it.

We are soulmates, from day one and still are. We don’t fight much any more, we have learned how to cope with our life together. Actually we we are together 24/7 and have been like that for 7 years, because we both stopped working early. By respecting each others differences and different wishes on what to do, we are able to have a good time. We kinda split the house in two, Hans spends his day mostly downstairs and I’m mostly upstairs all afternoon. We eat breakfast and dinner together, but not lunch. It turned out that that works better for us. We meet in the afternoon at 4 PM for an hour together, to talk and be together, share how we feel, talk about whats going on and if something is wrong we try to repair it then. On Sunday afternoon we have a relationship afternoon, do something together in the garden or the house. Afterwards we drink a beer together. It’s always very nice.

Being gay and later being with Hans has been a very important part of my life. Maybe the most important. I didn’t finish my studies, instead I started my own company, but being a business man was not very important for me and I didn’t become a psychologist, so I’m just me, a gay guy.

But I made a lot of money with my company which I sold 12 years ago, so we are able to live off our money and don’t have to work, another huge success in my life. I can do what I want to and have done so for the last 12 years.

Two years ago I started a blog on tumblr, a blog where I wanted to help young gay guys. I had found out that young gay guys are having as many problems as I did when I was young, are feeling as lousy as I did when I was young especially before I came out. I always thought, that now with internet that it was easy to be gay today, but it’s not, its very hard especially for young guys and especially for guys who live outside Northwestern Europe where I have spend most of my life. So I try to support those guys I talk with, help them with whatever they are struggling with. Mostly it’s about being gay, many are lonely, many don’t get the support from their families or friends they deserve. They can’t tell that they are gay, so they can’t share their life with anyone, the good or the bad stuff that happens, which is very tough, so they do that with me. Some guys have become very close friends, we talk a couple of hours a week. Others I speak once in a while, some I talk with only a few times. Whatever a guy needs, I try to give it to him. It can be talking about sex or often about the wish to get a boyfriend, but also about studying or finding a job or a place to live. Some are very, very lonely, so its not important what we talk about but that we talk. That they have someone who cares for them, accept and respects them as they are (gay) and who want to hear their story.

I feel that I have had a very good (gay) life. When I was young, I had a lot of boy friends, fucked around a lot, partied, having fun. Then I met Hans and kinda settled down even it was still a bit wild in our first years together. Then we became a couple of boring, hard working guys. Now being gay is not important for me, in my own life, only in my talks with ‘my boys’. Personally it’s about being with Hans, having a good life together.

I always wanted a life of good quality, thats what I fought to get and I feel I got it. I’m still enjoying myself very much and hope that Hans and I will get many more good years together. When we were together for 30 years, we agreed to go for another round of 30 years together.

To my younger self or to all my young gay friends I want to say, that it is gonna be ok. So many worry about if they will find a boyfriend, be happy as a gay guy. Well, you will. If you go for sex in your (gay) life, you can have a lot of that, but not necessarily love, but if you really want love and thats what you go for, you will find it. Of all my friends, gay guys my age, who wanted a boyfriedn, they all found one. Just focus on that, go for it and you will find it. Its possible to be happy and gay, and you can find a boy friend. The problem is that you never meet or see older gay couples, so you think its impossible, but thats not true, we are there and we are a lot, but you just never see it. But look at Hans and me, you can have the same if you want to.”

Me and Tijs
Me and Tijs
Personal note from me (Kevin): Having traveled literally around the world, people keep asking me what my favorite part of the trip has been, and I’m always quick to answer.
 “Denmark. I went to a tiny island in Denmark, and it was by far my favorite part of the trip.”
 “Why?” They ask.
 I think about it. “You know, to be honest, by the time I got to Denmark, I was done. Mentally, I was done with the project and the trip. To be honest, I was done when I went to India. And that was in April, right? End or March, beginning of April? And I got to Denmark at the end of April. I think India just took something out of me. Maybe it was exhaustion, maybe it was because I got really sick.”
 “You got really sick in India?” they ask.
 “Yeah. Oh my god, I thought I was going to die.”
 “What happened?”
 I think about it and laugh. “Well, I spent a week in India eating only the street food, whatever I could find, I ate, and was totally fine. Then I get to this town called Jaipur, and I was craving a pizza, and so I went to a Pizza Hut, or like a Dominos, ate a pizza and that night got violently ill.”
 “Kevin, you’re an idiot.”
 “Yeah, I know,” I admit. “But, whatever. I’m sitting in this shit-hole hotel in Jaipur, fucking, India, vomiting all night. Like the worse type of vomiting, and then to make things worse I start spitting up blood.”
 “Oh my gosh, you were spitting up blood?” they ask. “Did you go to the hospital?”
 “No, I was too scared, and it was in the middle of the night. And I was in India. I didn’t know where the hospital was or how to get there. So I did the most logical thing.”
 “What was that?”
 “I curled up in a ball on my bed and started to cry.” I laughed. “Like, seriously, I’m a drama queen and I started to cry. In my head I was like, great, I’m going to die in this shit-hole hotel in India and all my friends and family are going to read about it in the newspaper. Headline,’American dies mysteriously in hotel in India.”
 “Oh my, Kevin, you are a drama queen,” they say.
 I laugh. “Whatever, the point is,” I continue, “India took something out of me. I remember the last day in India, in Mumbai, I was like literally counting down the days I could leave and then I get an e-mail from my airline carrier. I was flying to Paris, and the e-mail is like, ‘there’s an air traffic controllers strike in Paris, your flight may get cancelled.’ And I was like, What the FUCK! I’m going to be stuck in India forever! And Mumbai was not cheap.”
 “So what happened?”
 “I got out. I remember I had a layover in like Qatar or something, and I was thinking, I don’t care if I get stuck in Qatar, I just have to get out of India!”
 “Ha, Kevin, people dream of their whole lives of going to India!”
 “Yeah I know,” I say. I think about it. “Look, I think India would have been great, had I done it alone. But to add it to an around the world trip, it was just too much. India in itself is exhausting, but when I arrived I was already exhausted.”
 “So you regret going?”
 I’m quick to answer. “No, it was probably one of the best things I could have done for the project. And of course, I survived, so it’s a great story to tell. AND, I photographed a gay prince in India. Did you see that?”
 They smile. “Yeah I saw that. Well, I’m sorry you had such a horrible time in India.”
 I think about it. “Look, my last night in India, minus the anxiety of my flight getting cancelled, was absolutely amazing. I photographed this kid in his dorm room, in this university in Mumbai, and I’m taking like a tuk tuk back to my hotel later that night. And we get stuck in traffic, so I tell the driver to let me out, I give him the rest of my Indian money and I start walking back to my hotel. And of course I’m a bit lost, and I’m walking, trying to navigate my way back to the hotel with my GPS on my phone. And I turn down this road, and I end up at this street market.”
 “And you had never been there before?”
 “No, that’s the thing,” I continue. “I had. But at night it was totally different. The street was shut down to any cars and it was lined with booths on each side. People selling fruit, or juices, or whatever. And I remember just walking down this street trying to find bananas or some shit, and I was literally the only non-Indian around, and it was a Muslim area so I remember hearing the evening prayer, or that sound, that chant, you know what I’m talking about? That happens at night? And I just remember thinking, ‘I’ve finally found a moment of peace.’ It just felt nice, like I had finally made peace with India after having been so miserable the entire time I was there.”
 “Well, that’s nice,” they say.
 “Yeah,” I continue. “But here’s the thing. I remember thinking, ‘This is nice. This is the India people love.’ Just walking down that street market. And then less than twelve hours later, or maybe like fifteen, I don’t know because of the time difference, but no more than a day later I was in Paris eating crepes with my friends in some fancy Parisian restaurant. Like one night I’m walking down some street market in Mumbai and the next night I’m chilling in Paris eating crepes. My mind couldn’t process it. Like literally, it was too much to process.”
 They laugh.
 I think about it some more. “There have been a lot of moments like that in this trip. Where I can’t process what’s happening, and then in a sudden moment of awareness I get confused. For example, I’ve been waking up a lot in the middle of the night and not having a clue where I’m at. It’s fucking scary.”
 “Well you’re always on the move. How many countries have you been to so far?” They ask.
 “Now? Thirty-two countries. Cities? I don’t know, close to fifty? That’s the point. I’m exhausted, I was exhausted. And by the time I got to Denmark, I was done.”
 “So then why did you like Denmark so much?”
 I think about it. “I don’t know, it was just special.” I give it some more thought. “Well first things first, my hosts, Jens and Hans, I didn’t know before I arrive. I had met Jens a couple years back through my blog, and they supported the Kickstarter, but I had never known them in real life. But Jens kept telling me if I came to Denmark I was welcome to stay with them, so when I made it to that part of the world I gave him a holler. But I remember, he kept telling me him and Hans lived on a rural island in Denmark, and I remember when Jens picked me up from the train station, we’re in his car, driving past like the birth place of Hans Christian Anderson, and then we’re driving through rural Denmark. And then I had this moment, and this has happened before, because Jens and Hans weren’t the first strangers I stayed with on this trip, but I get this slight moment of panic. This moment where I’m thinking ‘Kevin, you’re in a car with a random stranger in a foreign country. This is how horror movies start.’”
 They laugh.
 I continue. “But as we’re driving, this island in Denmark was literally one of the prettiest places I’ve been. Like its full of rolling hills and cottages. It’s like Anne of Green Gables. Do you remember that movie? I never read the book but I saw the movie, and this island is just like in that movie. And the sea. At times the water seems to be at the same level as the land, like if there’s just a slight rise in the sea the island will cease to exist. Of course that’s not the case, but it just seems like that.”
 “And so Jens didn’t murder you on the drive to the house?”
 “Nope. And then we arrive to the house, and they have this labrador retriever, and of course murderers don’t have labrador retrievers, and so all was well. And then I meet Hans, and they were both great.”
 “Well, I’m glad Jens and Hans were nice.”
 “Yeah.” I think about it, “But it was more than that. Of course that was a big part of it. Jens and Hans were perfect, they’ve been together almost exactly the same amount of time that I’ve been alive. I was born in August of 1982, and they met in August of 1982. So there’s something special in that. And they took absolutely amazing care of me. They fed me, took care of me, they had this amazing dog, I had my own room. It was great. But what made my time there special was this. It was one of the few times on this trip where I really could just exist.”
 “What do you mean?” They ask.
 I think about it. “When you’re on a rural island in the middle of Denmark and there’s nothing to do, that’s what you do. Nothing. And it was absolutely amazing.”

Tiago, Geographer, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Tiago, in his own words: “Se me perguntassem “o que ser brasileiro significa para você” ou “o que ter irmãos significa para você”, eu responderia que essas são condições essenciais da minha vida. Claro que são classificações e como qualquer classificação são carregadas de significados e relações de poder, mas o fato de eu ser gay é também uma condição da minha vida. Certamente, como membro de um grupo social marginal, eu estou sujeito a situações de preconceito e violência, tanto física quanto verbal, mas eu não consigo pensar numa resposta mais simples e, ao mesmo tempo, mais certa para essa pergunta que não seja “significa ser eu mesmo”. Escrevendo essa resposta fiquei pensando que a pergunta ideal seria ao contrário: “o que ser você significa para ser gay?”. Assim a condição de sujeito viria antes da sexualidade, mas acho que esse é um caminho longo de desconstrução de categorias que acabam criando padrões e gerando preconceito com tudo o que está fora do padrão.

Eu não consigo ver sucessos associados diretamente ao fato de eu ser gay. Já desafios, eu acho que o maior deles foi o meu próprio reconhecimento enquanto sujeito, o que tem a ver com um movimento de enfrentamento em relação a vários valores sociais, familiares e religiosos.

Eu não costumo frequentar lugares especificamente gays no Rio de Janeiro. Nunca gostei muito de guetos e prefiro os espaços menos direcionados a um grupo particular, onde circulam todos os tipos de pessoa. Mas eu acho o Rio de Janeiro, pelo menos as partes da cidade por onde circulo, amistoso em relação aos gays. Talvez isso tenha a ver com a vida na cidade grande. Eu venho de uma cidade bem menor que o Rio, onde raramente você é anônimo nos lugares que frequenta, o que acaba favorecendo a criação de guetos. De forma bem geral, eu acho que os gays circulam bastante entre os diferentes grupos aqui no Rio, e isso parece gerar uma melhor aceitação por parte da sociedade.

Eu nunca me considerei muito dentro do armário, eu sempre soube que era gay. Ainda criança, mesmo que não tivesse consciência da sexualidade, eu sabia que não correspondia a muitas das posturas e gostos que se esperam de uma criança do sexo masculino. A partir de uma certa idade, fui me dando conta de que essas diferenças passavam pela sexualidade, uma sexualidade que eu reconhecia como minha e que eu nunca quis contrariar. De qualquer modo, eu não cresci despreocupado dessa definição, sentia que precisava me afirmar enquanto gay, o que eu acho um problema, já que essa não é uma preocupação explícita de um adolescente heterossexual que corresponde ao padrão socialmente aceitável. A minha saída oficial do armário foi aos 17 anos. Até então, por mais que eu soubesse que era gay, nunca tinha me relacionado com homens. Eu esperei que isso acontecesse para que eu pudesse me abrir para as pessoas. E com exceção de alguns amigos mais próximos, as primeiras pessoas a quem eu contei foram meus pais. Eu sentia profunda necessidade de mostrar a eles quem de fato e eu era, e isso foi fundamental para minha formação enquanto sujeito. De início, alguns conflitos surgiram, mas eu sempre mantive uma postura que chamo de “enfrentamento”. Nunca recuei e nem abri mão da minha sexualidade por conta da minha família. Hoje, eu acredito que essa postura influenciou na construção de uma relação de muito respeito entre nós, e cada vez mais eu acho que esse respeito está para além do fato de eu ser gay.

Como eu falei na primeira pergunta, eu acho que o melhor conselho seria “não se preocupe em se definir dentro de uma categoria, apenas viva de acordo com suas ideias, emoções e valores”. Mas eu acho que essa situação ainda é bastante utópica, então eu diria “não deixe de se afirmar da maneira como você é, respeitando a si mesmo dentro da sua diferença”.

in English:

“If someone asks me “what being Brazilian means to you” or “what having brothers means to you”, I’ll reply that those are essential conditions of my life. Of course they’re classifications full of meanings and relations of power, but the fact that I’m gay is also a condition of my life. Certainly, as any member of a marginal social group, I’m susceptible to situations of prejudice and physically and verbally violence, but I can’t think in a simple and at the same time right answer to this question than “means to be myself”. Writing this response I thought the ideal question would be: “what being you means to be gay?”. Thus the condition of the subject would come before sexuality, but I think it’s a long way of deconstruction of categories that create patterns and cause prejudice to everything defined nonstandard.

I can’t see successes directly associated with the fact I’m gay. One big challenge though it was my own recognition as a subject, which has to do with face up various social, family and religious values.

I don’t usually attend specifically gay places in Rio de Janeiro. I don’t really like ghettos instead I prefer spaces much less aimed to a particular group, where you can find every sort of people. But I think Rio, at least the places I’ve been, is friendly toward the gay public; maybe it has to do with life in a big city. I came from a smaller town where you’re rarely anonymous in places you go out, which favors the creation of ghettos. In Rio I think gay people circulate well among different groups and it seems to generate greater acceptance by society.

I never considered myself in the closet because I always knew I was gay. As a little child, even if I hadn’t be aware of sexuality, I knew that I didn’t correspond to many of the attitudes and tastes expected of a male child. As the years gone by, I realized that those differences were about the sexuality, which soon I recognized as mine without fighting against it. However I wasn’t that far of this definition, I needed to affirm myself, which was a problem because normally it wasn’t a preoccupation of a heterosexual guy, which socially fits in the acceptable patterns. I officially came out when I was 17. By then even if I knew I was gay, I’ve never had experienced a homosexual relationship. I’ve waited till then to let others to know it, and besides some close friends my parents were the first. I needed so much to let them kwon who I was and this was fundamental to my formation as a subject. At first there were some conflicts, but I’ve always been in a certain position that I call “enfrentamento” (In literally translation: to confront). I’ve never turned myself down and never gave up my sexuality for my family. Nowadays I believe this “enfrentamento” position have influenced me in the construction of a very respectful relationship between us, and day after day I think this respect is far beyond the fact I’m gay.

As I said in the first question, I think the best advice would be “don’t worry to define yourself within a category, just live according your ideas, emotions and values”. But I think this situation is still quite utopic, instead I would say, “Affirm and respect yourself the way you are within your difference”.

André, Administrative Assistant, Lima, Peru

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
André, in his own words:“Pies, ¿para qué los quiero si tengo alas para volar?” – Frida Kahlo.

“No me gusta nombrarme como gay, prefiero ser marica, maricón, cabro o rosquete, porque esos términos me colocan en una posición marginal, no blanca, no masculina, sin dinero e irrespetuosa con la sociedad, y desde ahí empiezo a construir mi discurso y activismo.

Para mi fue bastante fácil salir del closet, lo hice a los 14 años cuando mi mamá me preguntó “¿Hay algo que me quieras contar?” y respondí “Sí, me gustan los hombres”. En ese momento me sentí libre y podría decir que empecé a ser completamente yo. Luego entendí que todo esto sucedió después de la muerte de mi padre, porque él era muy machista y homofóbico, esas eran unas de las razones por las que yo seguía en el closet.

Tengo desafíos todos los días al transitar por las calles de Lima, esperando no ser insultado o violentado por vestirme y comportarme como se me antoja, pero le agradezco a las maricas que lucharon para que yo pueda transitar, ahora nos toca a nosotras seguir construyendo un país donde se respeten nuestras vidas y garanticen nuestros derechos.”

In English:

“Feet, why do I want them when I have wings to fly?” – Frida Kahlo

“I hate to identify myself as gay, I’d rather be a fag, fagot, queer, goat, because those terms placed me in a marginal position, not white, not male, penniless and disrespectful to society, and from there I began to build my discourse and activism.

For me it was quite easy coming out, I did it at age 14 when my mom asked me “Is there anything you want to tell me?” And I said “Yes, I like men.” At that moment I felt free and I could say that I became full. Then I realized that all this happened after the death of my father, because he was very macho and homophobic, those were some of the reasons why I was still in the closet.

I’m challenged every day to walk the streets of Lima, hoping not to be insulted or violated by dressing and acting in the way that I want, but I thank the fags who fought for me to move, now it is up to us to continue building a country where our lives are respected and our rights ensured.”

Dirk and Christian, Nurse and Waiter, Zurich, Switzerland

photo by Kevin Truong
Dirk (left) and Christian (right)photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Christian (left) and Dirk (right) photo by Kevin Truong
Christian (left) and Dirk (right) photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Dirk, in his own words: “(Being gay) is nothing special. I am what I am.

Ich habe mich schon vielen Herausforderungen in meinem Leben stellen müssen, und auch schon einige Erfolge erzielt. Aber keine davon hat etwas mit meiner Sexualität zu tun.
Ich stehe zu meiner Sexualität, aber sie steht in meinem Leben nicht im Vordergrund!

(My coming out story) Auch die ist sehr langweilig und unspektakulär. Da ich schon im Alter von 17 Jahren zuhause ausgezogen bin, und mir erst mit 21 klar wurde, dass ich schwul bin, war es für mich nicht sehr schwer, meinen Eltern zu sagen, dass ich schwul bin. Was sollte schon passieren??
Ich hatte schon mein eigenes unabhängiges Leben in einer Stadt 60 km von meinen Eltern entfernt. Meine Mutter war erst sehr geschockt und traurig, aber mein Vater sagte nur: “Aber du bleibst trotzdem mein Sohn”.

Die gay Community in Zürich ist sehr klein. Es gibt leider nicht sehr viele Bars, Discotheken oder dergleichen. Ich empfinde es oft sehr oberflächlich. Einer möchte schöner sein als der andere. Ich mag so etwas nicht, von daher gehe ich nur selten schwul aus. Außerdem glauben alle Veranstalter von schwulen Events, dass wir Schwulen eh viel Geld haben und alles bezahlen. Darum verlangen sie unverschämt teure Preise für Eintritt und Getränke. Es nervt, nur weil es eine schwule Veranstaltung ist, fast das doppelte an Preisen zu bezahlen!!!

(Advice to my younger self) Mach alles genau so wie ich es schon gemacht habe. Sei du selbst, lebe und genieße dein Leben!Akzeptiere deine Sexualität, aber stelle sie nicht in den Vordergrund deines Lebens!!Sei einfach du selbst!!!!”

In English:

“(Being gay is) nothing special. I am what I am.

I have already had to face many challenges in my life, and already achieved some success. But none of them has anything to do with my sexuality.
I stand by my sexuality, but it is not the most important thing in my life!

(My coming out story) is very boring and unexciting. Since I moved away from home at the age of 17, it was only until I was 21 that realized that I was gay. It was for me not very hard. I had moved out on my own in a town 60km from my parents. My mother was just very shocked and sad, but my father just said, “But still, you remain my son”.

The gay community in Zurich is very small. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of bars, discos and the like. I find it often very superficial. One wants to be more beautiful than the other. I do not like such a thing, so I’m rarely out. In addition, all organizers of gay events believe that we have a lot of money and that gays can pay for everything. That’s why they charge outrageously expensive prices for admission and drinks. It sucks, just because it’s a gay event, we have to pay almost twice the price!!!

(Advice to my younger self) Do everything exactly the way I’ve done it. Be yourself, and enjoy your life! Accept your sexuality, but do not put it in the forefront of your life!! Just be yourself !!!!”

Christian, in his own words: “Ich würde sicherlich nicht behaupten stolz zu sein, dass ich schwul bin. Aber ich bin es gern und hatte auch nie den Gedanken es nicht sein zu wollen. Allerdings hatte ich auch das grosse Glück, in diesem Zusammenhang die beste Familie der Welt zu haben! Mein Coming Out verlief von daher relativ unspektakulär……

Zwar war ich schon 20 und bin mir die Jahre davor langsam bewusst geworden, dass ich auf Männer stehe, aber in der Kleinstadt fehlten mir dann doch die Bezugspunkte zur Schwulenszene. Ein halbes Jahr vorher, ich war mit meiner besten Freundin Shirley nach einem Spaziergang voller Schweigen auf dem Friedhof gelandet, fragte sie mich die alles entscheidende Frage: “Bist du schwul, oder was??” Das nächste halbe Jahr sollte sie die einzige bleiben, die es wusste….. (so dachte ich).

Es war 1995 und Pfingsten stand vor der Tür. Ich las im Schädelspalter, einem Veranstaltungsblatt für Hannover, vom “Tummelplatz der Lüste”, dem schwullesbischen Pfingstwochenende. Von da an nahm es seinen Lauf….. Ich nahm meinen ganzen Mut zusammen und fuhr nach Hannover zum Strassenfest am Steintor. Es war schon ziemlich aufregend, fehlte mir bis dahin doch jeglicher Kontakt zu anderen Schwulen. Um dieses “Überangebot” erstmal zu verdauen, fuhr ich am Nachmittag wieder heim (Ich wohnte noch bei meinen Eltern, eine halbe Stunde von Hannover entfernt), um dann schon unterwegs im Zug zu beschliessen, am Abend wieder in “die grosse Stadt” zu fahren, um abends auf die Party auf dem Pelikanareal, einem alten Werksgelände, zu gehen. Meinen Eltern erzählte ich, mit Kollegen auszugehen und über Nacht dort zu bleiben. Von da an nahm alles seinen Lauf…. Mein erster Pride, meine erste Gayparty, mein erster Kuss, mein erstes Mal und meine erste Beziehung…… all dieses sollte ich in dieser Nacht erleben, bzw. sollte in dieser Nacht beginnen. Die Beziehung hielt 17 Monate und es war eine wirklich sehr schöne Zeit…..

Eine Woche später war ich schon wieder “mit Kollegen unterwegs”. Zumindest war es das, was ich meinen Eltern erzählte. Komisch nur, dass ich vorher noch nie etwas mit meinen Kollegen unternommen hatte ;0))

Nach diesem Wochenende sagte ich zu meinem Freund, dass ich mich am Montag bei meiner Familie outen würde. Er hat es mir nicht geglaubt.

Aber gesagt – getan! Ich kam am Montag Abend von der Arbeit nach Hause, rief bei meinem Bruder und seiner Freundin an, dass sie doch bitte vorbei kommen sollen, da ich was zu verkünden hätte und sie gern dabei hätte. Meine (inzwischen) Schwägerin war sehr ungeduldig und hakte alsbald nach, was denn nun wichtiges sei? Und da fielen sie auch schon, die berüchtigten drei Worte:

“Ich bin schwul!”

Mein Bruder, an die Wand gelehnt, rutschte zu Boden. Er dachte, ich würde Vater werden . Von meinem Vater kam wie aus der Kanone geschossen: “Das wusste ich schon vor zwei Jahren!” Ich dachte nur: “wie schön – ich nicht…..”

Der Rest ging von ganz allein. Meine Mutter hat es dem Rest der Familie verkündet, am nächsten Wochenende hat Sven mich bei meinen Eltern abgeholt und das Wochenende darauf hat er das erste Mal bei mir geschlafen. Zu Silvester war eine Party im Hotel, in dem ich damals meine Ausbildung machte. Ich nahm ihn mit dorthin und habe ihn um Mitternacht einfach vor versammelter Mannschaft geküsst. Somit war das dann auch erledigt ;0))

Wie schon erwähnt hatte ich grosses Glück in der Familie und im Freundeskreis und weiss durchaus, dass es viele nicht so einfach hatten oder haben. Dafür möchte ich mich ganz herzlich Bedanken!

Mit Dirk bin ich jetzt seit 16 Jahren zusammen und fast 13 Jahre glücklich verheiratet ❤️.

2010 sind wir in die Schweiz ausgewandert und leben seitdem sehr glücklich in Zürich. Die Szene ist hier überschaubar, aber unsere Sturm – und Drangzeit haben wir eh hinter uns gelassen. Gerade sitze ich im Bus von Zürich nach München. Dieses Wochenende ist dort Christopher Street Day und wir werden bei der Parade mitlaufen. In der Hoffnung, dass es auch in Deutschland und der Schweiz bald die Ehe für alle geben wird – mit allen Rechten und Pflichten!”

In English:

“I certainly would not claim to be proud that I’m gay. But I like it and have never thought about not wanting to be gay. However, I also had the good fortune to have in this context the best family in the world! My coming out was therefore relatively unspectacular ……

Although I was 20 and slowly became aware that I was attracted to men, in the small town I lived there were no reference points for the gay community. A year later, I was with my best friend Shirley and after a walk of full silence in the cemetery, she asked the crucial question: “Are you gay, or what ??” The next six months she would be the only one who knew it ….. (so I thought).

It was 1995 and Pentecost was approaching. I read in Skullsplitter, an event journal for Hannover, the “playground of Earthly Delights”, the gay and lesbian Whitsun weekend. From then on it took its course. I took all my courage and went to Hannover for the street party at Stone Gate. It was pretty exciting, until then I had not had any contact with other gays. In order to digest this “glut” at first, I went in the afternoon back home (I was still living with my parents, a half hour from Hanover), and then to decided on the train, in the evening in “the big city” to go to the evening party at the Pelican area, an old factory premise. My parents told me to go out with colleagues and stay there overnight. From then on, everything took its course. My first Pride, my first gay party, my first kiss, my first time and my first relationship, all this I experienced on that night. The relationship held 17 months and it was a really lovely time.

A week later I was back “with colleagues on the go.” At least it was what I told my parents. Just funny that I had never done anything with my colleagues; 0))

After this weekend, I said to my friend that I would come out with my family on Monday. He did not believe me.

But said and – done! I arrived on Monday evening from work to home, phoned my brother and his girlfriend that they should please come over because I had something to announce and she would have liked it. My (now) sister was very impatient and probed immediately what was so important? And then came the infamous three words:

“I am gay!”

My brother, leaning against the wall, slid to the ground. He thought I’d be a father . From my father came as if shot from a cannon, “I already knew two years ago!” I just thought, “How beautiful – I did not …..”

The rest went of their own accord. My mother had announced to the rest of the family, next weekend Sven picked me up at my parents and the weekend after that he slept with me for the first time. New Year’s Eve was a party at the hotel where at the time I was training. I took him there and kissed him at midnight just before the assembled troops. Thus, it was then completed; 0))

As already mentioned I was very lucky with regards to my family and friends and am well aware that there are many who have not had not so simple an experience. I would like to express my sincere thanks!

With Dirk, I am now 16 years together and happily married almost 13 years ❤️. In 2010 we have emigrated to Switzerland and now are very happy in Zurich. The scene here is manageable, but our storm – und Drang period, we have always left behind. Right now I’m sitting on a bus from Zurich to Munich. This weekend there runs along Christopher Street Day and we are at the parade. In the hope that there will be marriage for all soon in Germany and Switzerland – with all the rights and obligations!”

Sepi, Social Worker, Jakarta, Indonesia

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Sepi, in his own words: “For me being gay is a destiny in my life, a feeling that is directly given by God, many people said that being gay is a choice but I totally disagree, because God never asked and gave me a chance to choose my sexual orientation.

Lots of people don’t know much about being gay and there are haters that strongly disagree about legalized same-sex relationships, but whether they know it or not true love begins with a feeling of the heart to another heart and doesn’t begin with sex to the other sex.

The challenge of my life as being gay was when I was 7 years old, and realizing I was a man who loved men, my struggling is how to love myself, trying to accept my sexual orientation because I live in a religious family environment, and when I was student in elementary school, I heard a phrase that “God loved His people,” since then I believe that God also loved me because I was created as a gay child.

I have a very unique story when I came out to my mom, when I was 20, I made a picture and I wrote the word in that picture “I’m sorry mom, I’m gay,” and I shared these images on my account on Facebook, and then my mom saw it. My mom left a comment on the picture and she said, “I’m feeling sad right now, maybe God has punished me for the sins I’ve done.” But I convinced my mom that no one is to blame on this case, “I said this is given from God.” And I’m very lucky because until now our relationship is very good and we became much closer, my mom just told me please be a good gay, and I’ll never forget the moment of that and I still keep the picture on my Facebook.

I was born and raised in Cianjur, West Java, which is a village and very homey. I had to walk about 20 minutes when I went to school, there is a conservative culture, so I only knew a little bit about the gay lifestyle. I tried to find information about being gay via social media, and at the end when I was 15 I began to knew about Top and Bottom terms, and after I finished my studies in high school when I was 17, I moved to the city of Jakarta, and here I knew what is the meaning of life, I can meet with many people who like me, in the city there are a lot of places for the gay community to gather like gay organizations, bars, parks, cafes, malls etc. Jakarta gives me with a lot of friends who helped me become a confident and modern gay.

(Advice to my younger self) Life as a gay man would not be easy, you will struggle to accept yourself, when you feel different, my advice is just to love yourself, follow your heart, because your heart will lead you to happiness, don’t listen to a bad word about your sexual orientation, but just listen if someone comments about your personality as a human, be friendly, stay humble, respect one another, because being a good gay is someone who has a good heart, and don’t forget to do the best with your attitude, because I love to set everything by attitude, enjoy your life and believe everyone can easily accept you as being gay.”