Hadar, Photographer, 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
Hadar, in his own words: “Honestly I have never really thought about what being gay meant to me, overall I find being gay to be my sexual preference.

The challenges facing me has been more the stereotypes presented against me and also coming out was a huge challenge.

The gay community in New York City is really like a plethora of all different kinds of gay people, it is refreshing how much exists here.

My coming out story pretty much was actually fairly simple, I found that my family was mostly accepting, I think the hardest person to really accept it all was myself. I felt all my life being called gay was a negative thing and treated as a negative thing, so I was afraid to be this thing if it was negative.

If I could go back I would give my younger self the strength to come out earlier, be bolder and be braver. The fact is it held me back from growing into myself and accepting myself fully.

I think one thing about being gay that I want to put out there, is being gay has not been something that needs to be emphasized about my life or my art. Has it contributed to both of course, but I find for me that I want to see the world fully and not exist hidden inside a gay created environment solely. I do go to gay orientated places much more, but at the same time I fear that whenever you put the gay label on something it deters people from being a part of it. I at the same time think being gay can be a rebellion of sorts, not having the same pressures and pathways that straight people get pressured upon them. For me being gay is a part of me but not the only thing so I think that is always what I try to communicate.”

Giancarlo, Historian, Lima, Peru

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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
Giancarlo, in his own words: “Ser gay para mí es buscar lo que realmente me hace feliz. En Lima creo es un desafío constante, sabes que te vas a enfrentar con grandes retos, pero hasta hoy creo que es la mejor decisión que he tomado. Tienes que entender que amar a una persona no depende de su género, ni es una elección. Lo único que puedes elegir actualmente, es la forma como lo vives, en mi caso, decidí no esconderme porque siempre he buscado ser honesto conmigo mismo.

No puedo negar que el camino es difícil, tuve la suerte de encontrar personas que me quieren por como soy, pero reconozco que algunas personas antes de conocerme juzgaron mi forma de vivir mi homosexualidad. A pesar de eso debo valorar a las que se quedaron y me conocieron, que vieron más allá de la diferencia, reconociendo que era un amigos más. Por esto, creo que una de las labores que hacemos los chicos abiertamente homosexuales hoy, es que los demás entiendan que no somos extraños o enfermos, que no somos menos que ellos.

Sabemos que todo está cambiando, la gente habla de la homosexualidad, así sea en contra porque esto hace que la gente no tenga miedo a decir existen personas gay. También es notable que el activismo en Lima ha crecido, se nota que hay un esfuerzo por visualizar nuestros problemas y buscar soluciones. Aunque aún no tenemos todos nuestros derechos podemos decir que se discute los derechos gay, cosa que diez años atrás se veía como un imposible.

Salir del closet es un acto de madurez y de valentía, sobre todo con tus familiares por las expectativas que tienen de ti. Cuando tome conciencia de mi homosexualidad, rápidamente supe que para lo único que quería mi closet era para mi ropa. Poco a poco fui abriéndome con mis amigos; la experiencia fue liberadora, a pesar de las dudas y el miedo. Contarle a mi mamá fue una experiencia muy fuerte, en un primer momento no lo tomó tan bien, pero después entendió que soy feliz así y a pesar de no entenderlo, me respeta.
Viendo en retrospectiva sigo pensando que ha sido una de las mejores decisiones que he tomado. Sé que hay muchas personas que tienen temor, pero lo que puedo decir, a pesar de todas las dificultades que supone, lo vale. Sé que puede sonar muy cliché decir que todo mejora, es mas podría decir que a veces parece todo lo contrario. Lo que puedo decir es que mejora cuando entiendes que el error esta en las demás personas por juzgarte y que si no pueden vivir con ello, pues es su problema no el tuyo.”

In English:

“Being gay for me means finding what really makes me happy. In Lima I think it is a constant challenge, you know you’re going to face major challenges, but so far I think it is the best decision I ever made. You have to understand that loving a person does not depend on gender, nor is it a choice. All you can choose now, is the way to live, in my case, I decided not to hide because I always wanted to be honest with myself.

I can not deny that the road is hard, I was lucky to find people who want me as I am, but I recognize that some people judged me before meeting because of my way of living and homosexuality. Despite that I value those who stayed and who saw beyond the difference, recognizing that I was a friend. Therefore, I believe that one of the tasks we do today is to live openly as gay guys to show to others that we are not strangers or ill, that we are no less than them.

We know that everything is changing, people speak of homosexuality, and it makes it so people are not afraid to say there are gay people. It is also notable that activism has grown in Lima, and that there is an effort to display our problems and seek solutions. Although we still do not have all our rights we can say that we have gay rights that ten years ago were seen as impossible.

Coming out is an act of maturity and courage, especially with your family by the expectations that they have of you. When they were aware of my homosexuality, I quickly learned that all I wanted in my closet was my clothes. Little by little I was coming out with my friends; the experience was liberating, despite the doubts and fear. Telling my mom was a very powerful experience, at first she did not take it so well, but then realized that I am happy and despite not understanding, respects me.

Looking back I still think it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I know there are many people who are afraid, but I can say, despite all the difficulties, it is worth it. I know that may sound very cliché to say that every improvement is more I could say that sometimes seems quite the opposite. What I can say is that it improves when you understand that the error is in other people judgements and if they can not live with it, it is their problem not yours.”

Gabriel, Explorer, Lima, Peru

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
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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
Gabriel, in his own words: To be gay/lesbian/bi/transgender in Lima is a challenge. A challenge with your family, with your friends, and with yourself. Here it is very dificult to be free.

My first challenge in my life was tell my mom that I’m gay. The successes was her approval.

(With regards to coming out) The last year I put in scene the play “P.A.T.R.I.A”, in that play we talked about, what does it mean to be a Peruvian? And I talked about to be a gay man in Peru. A few years ago I was talking to friends and mom about my sexual orientation, but never felt free to talk about it in this way with everybody.

The gay comunnity in Lima is like Peru: Diverse and fragmented

My advice (to my younger self): Feel free to be yourself and don’t be afraid.”

Carlos Bruce, Congressman, Lima, Peru

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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
Carlos Bruce, in his own words: What’s the condition like for LGBT individuals in Peru?

Bruce: It’s difficult, but changing. It used to be more difficult in the past, but still Lima and Peru is a very conservative country and a conservative society, but things are starting to change. The effort to put the issue of LGBT rights on the national agenda has stepped forward. I’m the first openly gay politician, which is also showing that things are starting to change. Maybe it’s late, but it’s starting anyway.

How did you get to that decision to come out and has it been difficult?

Bruce: I presented this bill for civil unions for LGBT people and there were a lot of stupid arguments being said and I thought it was useful to see that one can be a minister, one can be a Congressman, and your sexual orientation has nothing to do with it, so I think it was a good moment, and it was a good cause to do it and so I did it, and I’m still alive (laughs).

What was the response when you came out?

Bruce: In the internet there were all types of insults, but I have to say that in the streets, in person, I haven’t received one expression against me because I’ve said publicly my sexual orientation. Not even one. It’s very strange because we Congressman are not very popular here in Peru, you’re used to receiving some types of not so good comments, but since I made public my sexual orientation (there has been) not even one expression against me and I think that’s a way of people saying ‘Ok, I respect what you have done.’”

And what is your hope for LGBT individuals in the future?

Bruce: What everybody wants as human beings, just to be treated equally, and I hope that Peru is going to be in that position soon. I think we have to put the issue on the national agenda, I don’t know if my bill is going to be approved or not with this Congress, but I’m sure in the next presidential campaign the issue is going to be on the table and all the presidential candidates will have to have a position on this issue and I’m sure that the next Congress will probably be a Congress that will be more sympathetic to pass some legislation to assure rights for the LGBT couples.

If you could give advice to a young kid around the world who is gay, what would you say?

Bruce: Don’t lose hope. It’s very difficult, we all have to pass through this process when you discover you are different from your mates, and you try to fix it so that you can be the same as them and you discover that it cannot be fixed. What I’m trying to tell these young people is that there’s nothing to be fixed. We all tried to fix it but there’s nothing to be fixed because there’s nothing wrong. There’s a future for you, you can be a Minister, you can be a Congressman, and who knows, you can be a President.

Alonso, Economist, Lima, Peru

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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
Alonso, in his own words: “Ser gay para mi significa ser consecuente conmigo mismo, es decir, pensar, sentir y actuar de la misma forma. Sin duda es lo mas difícil, pero si lo logras te liberas de cargas muy pesadas. Ser gay para mi también significa ser libre e implica una realización personal en todos los aspectos de mi vida.

Mis mayores logros en la vida tienen que ver por un lado con mi vida personal y por el otro con mi vida profesional: Por el lado personal, el hecho de tener una familia unida desde niño junto a mis padres y mis hermanos y el hecho de que me acepten como soy tiene mucho valor para mi. Por el lado profesional, el hecho de haber obtenido el titulo profesional de economista, a pesar de tener una discapacidad física, no muy notoria por cierto, haber concluido la maestría en Bélgica.

Vivi en Bélgica un poco mas de dos años en la universidad de Lovaina lo que permitió conocer a personas de muchos países y una sociedad completamente distinta a la peruana, especialmente en materia de los derechos LGTB. Una sociedad donde todos tienen los mismos derechos. Esta experiencia me ayudó mucho a aceptarme cuando regresé al Perú.

La comunidad Gay en Lima es grande, pero la gran mayoría se encuentra dentro del closet (a veces la mitad a fuera y la mitad adentro), especialmente por miedo al rechazo a la familia o creencias religiosas. (la iglesia tiene mucha influencia en la educación y las decisiones políticas en el Perú). La comunidad esta conformada por mucho grupo y organizaciones con diversos fine y objetivos. No es una comunidad unida, existe mucha discriminación al interior de la mima, lo que no permite dar un mensaje común que represente a todos y todas cuando se hace incidencia política por la lucha de nuestros derechos. Sin embargo, debo señalar que que a pesar de las diferentes opiniones y formas de hacer activismo, la comunidad LGBT la comunidad se muestra unida cuando hay que defender nuestros derechos. Eso es lo mas importante después de todo.

Mi historia para “salir del closet” no tiene nada de espectacular porque mi familia nunca me atacó por ser como soy. Fui yo quien tenia un miedo exagerado de hablar. Decidí hablar con mi madre luego de terminar una relación hace mas de cuatro años. Mis padres sabían que tenía una relación “especial” con un chico y fue cuando mi madre me vio casi llorando que decidí hablar. Fue muy simple, mi madre solo me dijo: Siempre lo supe, ya conocerás alguien especial”. Desde ese día mi madre apoya la lucha por la igualdad de derechos y está muy al tanto de mi trabajo como activista.

El consejo que le daría a los mas jóvenes es que no tengan miedo de lo que sientan. Toda persona pasa por un proceso de aceptación, el cual mucha veces es duro, especialmente cuando hay rechazo por parte de nuestro entorno inmediato, es decir, la familia, la escuela, etc. Creo que es muy importante hablar con alguien, ya sea con un amigo o alguien de confianza en la familia. Ahora existen mucho grupos y organizaciones que brindan apoyo donde uno puede conocer amigos. Lo importante es una persona no se quede callado o no se aisle.”

In English:

“Being gay to me means to be consistent with myself, that is, to think, feel and act the same way. It’s definitely the hardest, but if you succeed you free yourself of heavy loads. Being gay to me also means being free and involves a personal achievement in all aspects of my life.

My greatest achievements in life has to do on one side with my personal life and on the other with my professional life: On the personal side, having a close family as a child with my parents and my brothers and the fact that they accept me as I am is very valuable for me. On the professional side, the fact of having obtained a professional degree in economics, despite having a physical disability, not very visible indeed, and having completed a masters in Belgium.

Living in Belgium a little over two years at the University of Leuven which allowed me to meet people from many countries and experience a completely different society than Peru, especially in the area of ​​LGBT rights. A society where everyone has equal rights. This experience helped me to accept myself when I returned to Peru.

The Gay community in Lima is great, but the vast majority are in the closet (sometimes half outside and half inside), many especially fear rejection by family or religious beliefs. (the church is very influential in education and policy making in Peru). The community is made up of very diverse groups and organizations with fine objectives. It is not a united community, there is a lot of discrimination within the spoils, which does not allow us to represent a common message to everyone when advocacy is the struggle of our rights. However, I must point out that despite the different opinions and ways of doing activism, the LGBT community stands together when we have to defend our rights. That’s the most important thing after all.

My story for “coming out” has nothing spectacular because my family never attacked me for being me. It was I who had an exaggerated fear of speaking. I decided to talk to my mother after ending a relationship over four years ago. My parents knew I had a “special” relationship with a guy and when my mother saw me almost crying I decided to talk. It was very simple, my mom just told me, I always knew, you know someone special From that day my mother supported the struggle for equal rights and is well aware of my work as an activist..

The advice I would give my younger self is not to be afraid of what you feel. Everyone goes through a process of acceptance, which many times is hard, especially when rejection from our immediate environment is a possibility, i.e., family, school, etc. I think it’s very important to talk with someone, either a friend or someone you trust in the family. Now there are a lot of groups and support organizations where you can make friends. The important thing is a person does not remain silent or isolated.”

Eduardo, Social Media/Educational Projects, Lima, Peru

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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
Eduardo, in his own words: “Ser gay para mí significa entender que todos somos diferentes y que el mundo no es como te lo pintan las convenciones sociales. Es muchísimo más. Es algo que sabemos todos los gays desde que somos niños. Y es una gran lección.

Uno de mis principales obstáculos ha sido enfrentarme a una sociedad tan represiva como la peruana. Pero es lo que me toca y le doy la pelea todos los días siendo yo mismo.

Sigue siendo muy difícil ser LGBTIQ en el Perú pero hay progresos. Creo que la coyuntura de la Unión Civil contribuyó con la visibilidad de nuestro colectivo y además colaboró con la apertura gradual de la sociedad civil en general. Hay grandes desafíos hacia adelante pero las transformaciones sociales toman su tiempo.

Les dije a mis papás que era gay apenas terminé el colegio pero al igual que yo, siempre supieron. Ellos están bien. Solo quieren que sea feliz. Es la misma apuesta que tengo yo en la vida: ser feliz.

¿Qué consejo me daría a mí mismo? Pasa más tiempo con tu familia. La voy a cagar muchas veces y está bien que sea así, pero tengo que aprender de cada error. Se que suena difícil y que el mundo parece un gran problema cuando eres más joven pero me diría que todo va a mejorar. El mundo se ve mejor a los 33. Disfruta de tu vida sin responsabilidades, mientras puedas. Sé una buena persona. Relájate. Dile a ese chico que te gusta. Se feliz.”

In English:

“Being gay to me means understanding that everyone is different and that the world is not only as you paint it in social conventions. It is much more. Being gay is something that we all know since we were children. And it’s a great lesson.

One of my biggest obstacles has been to confront such a repressive society like Peru. But it is what touches me and I have to fight every day just to be myself.

It remains very difficult to be LGBTIQ in Peru but there is progress. I think the situation of the Civil Union contributed to the visibility of our collective and also assisted with the gradual opening of the civil society in general. There are great challenges ahead but social changes take time.

I told my parents I was gay just as I finished school, but I always knew. They are fine. They just want me to be happy. It’s the same desire that I have in life: to be happy.

What advice would I give my younger myself? Spend more time with your family. I’m going to mess up often and rightly so, but I have to learn from every mistake. I know it sounds difficult and the world seems like a big problem when you’re younger, but I would say that everything will improve. The world looks better at 33. Enjoy your life without responsibilities, while you can. Be a good person. Relax. Tell that guy that you like. Be happy.”

Hans, Doctor, 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
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Hans, in his own words: “Being gay means to me being able to enjoy my sexuality in all aspects. I like to have interests, points of view and a sense of life that is different than other people, BUT it doesn´t mean that i deserve less human and civil rights than straight people. It´s unfair. What I do in my bed doesn’t define me, I´m more than that: I´m A PERSON.

The challenges I have had in my life was to be openly gay among my family, some friends and at work (at first instance it was difficult, but you have to show that you deserve respect like any other person) and the fight to get equal civil rights in my country …we´re still fighting….

The gay community in Lima is so varied and different between their members, from gays who are openly gay and support LGTBI rights, to those who think and fight against their own rights (many of them are politicians and members of the catholic clergy who have strong religious beliefs ). Fortunately the young LGTBI generation and some straight people support equality and fight against homophobia, but we have a lot to do.

(With regards to coming out) I was studying medicine at university and liked to go to gay clubs. When I was 22 years old my mother asked my about my sexual preferences, and I lied: I said ” I like both men and women”. My mother was confused. The next year I decided to come out. I invited her to dinner out and while we were eating I told her : ” Do you remember when you asked me about my sexual preferences? Well, I like men, I have always liked them.” My mother’s first reaction was to say: :You have to study in a foreign country, I don´t want people to hurt you.” We came back home and didn’t talk about the issue for about two months. By that time I usually liked (and still like) “Will and Grace.” One night I was studying in my bedroom and she yelled: “Hans, come to dinner with me, Will and Grace is going to start”… and since then I knew she was changing her mind. That sitcom helped me so much, showing a positive image of gay people to my mother and all audience….

The advice I´d give to my younger self would be: “Don´t give up on what you think you deserve, always study and be nice with people who need your help.”

Diego and Ivan, Designer and Fashion Designer, Lima, Peru

Ivan and Diego, photo by Kevin Truong
Ivan and Diego, photo by Kevin Truong
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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
Ivan and Diego, photo by Kevin Truong
Ivan and Diego, photo by Kevin Truong

Ivan, in his own words: “Ser gay para mi es y ha sido un constante desafío. Vivir en un país donde no es “normal” ser gay en ciertas partes, te hace mucho más fuerte, hace que te valores más y que estés preparado para los desafíos que vengan. Por otro lado, ser gay también para mi ha sido una alegría, alegría de saber que conozco personas que de verdad me aman, como mi pareja, mi familia y mis amigos, lo cuales me quieren por lo que verdaderamente soy. En verdad si me preguntan cómo me siento siendo gay, no podría responder con una palabra u oración, es extraño, tengo muchos adjetivos para eso; pero al final de cuentas son una combinación de esas dos: Alegre y desafiante.

Siendo gay he tenido muchos más desafíos que éxitos, claro si solo nos referimos a ser gay. Sin embargo, uno de los mejores éxitos que he tenido, siendo como soy, es armar eso a lo que yo llamo “familia”, esta familia no engloba solamente a mi familia genérica, sino que también entran mis amigos y, principalmente, mi pareja. Armar ese circulo que me rodea ha sido una de las cosas más difíciles que me he propuesto hacer y ahora, después de casi 5 años, me siento feliz de decir que he encontrado un equilibrio y, finalmente, llegar a tener una familia que me quiere como soy, unos amigos que me apoyan incondicionalmente y una pareja con la que poco a poco estoy armando una vida.

Si me preguntas como es la comunidad gay en el Perú, yo te diría que es extrañamente plural, puedes encontrar de todo; pero algo que nos une es que queremos igualdad para todos. Eso, aunque tengamos diferencias, problemas de por medio o simplemente no haya un lazo de amistad, nos une, y eso nos lleva a otra característica de la comunidad gay en el Perú, que al final de cuentas somos una familia, y nosotros luchamos para preservarla y defenderla ante todo.

(With regards to coming out) Bueno, comencé a decirle a mis amigos del colegio, fue extraño, algunos no me creían. Tiempo después, “salí del closet” de modo general cuando me enamoré de mi actual pareja, y le dije a mi madre… Esto ocasionó fuertes peleas, peleas que parecían que nunca iban a terminar y que causaron el alejamiento de mi familia; sin embargo, después de tiempo estas fueron cambiando y con ellas mi relación con mi madre y mi familia nuclear. Posteriormente, las cosas fueron viniendo como tuvieron que venir y la verdad es que del 100% de personas que conocía el 90% siguió siendo parte de mi hasta la actualidad. Salir del “closet” es algo bien complicado; pero que a lo largo del tiempo te causa alegrías y tranquilidad.

(if I could give my younger self advice) Iván no importa lo fuerte, triste o complicado que se pongan las cosas, sigue luchando y conseguirás todo lo que te propongas.”

In English:

‘Being gay to me means being constantly challenged. Living in a country where it is not “normal” to be gay in certain parts, it makes you much stronger, makes you value things more and makes you ready for the challenges to come. On the other hand, being too gay for me has been a joy, joy of knowing that I know people who really love me, as my partner, my family and my friends, who love me for what I truly am. Indeed if you ask me how I feel about being gay, I could not answer with a word or sentence, it’s strange, I have many adjectives for that; but in the end it’s a combination of the two: Alegre and challenging.

Being gay I have had many more challenges than successes, of course if we refer only to being gay. However, one of the best success I’ve had, being as I am, is that to build what I call “family”, this family includes not only my generic family, but also my friends and my partner . And that circle around me has been one of the hardest things I’ve have to build and now, after almost 5 years, I am happy to say I’ve found a balance and finally get to have a family that loves me as I am, a few friends who support me unconditionally, and a couple that I’m slowly putting together a life with.

If you ask me about the gay community in Peru, I’d say it’s strangely plural, you can find everything; but something that unites us is that we want equality for all. That, although we have differences, a bond of friendship unites us, and that brings us to another feature of the gay community in Peru, which in the end is that we are a family and we strive to preserve and defend first.

(With regards to coming out) well, I started to tell my friends at school, it was strange, some did not believe me. Later, “I came out” in general when I fell in love with my boyfriend, and I told my mother … This brought heavy fights, fights that seemed would never end and that caused the estrangement from my family; however, after time these were changing and with them my relationship with my mother and my nuclear family. Afterwards, things were going as they had come to be, and the truth is that of the 100% of people I knew 90% remained part of me until today. Escaping the “closet” is something very complicated; but that over time will cause joy and peace.

(if I could give my younger self advice) Ivan it does not matter how strong, sad or complicated things get, keep fighting and get everything you propose.”

Diego, in his own words: “(What does being gay mean to you?) No estoy muy seguro, a decir verdad nunca me había puesto a pensar en eso. Creo, que más que un significado es un sentimiento, porque saber que soy gay y quererme, saber que mi familia y amigos saben que lo soy y que no tengan ningún prejuicio (por lo menos los que yo amo) se siente bien, se siente correcto, es una parte de mi libertad, de poder decidir a quien amo sin que nadie tenga el derecho de reclamarme nada.

(With regards to challenges) Amor. Aprender a quererme como soy, a no dejar que nadie me haga sentir mal sólo porque no me gusta lo mismo que a ellos. El encontrar a alguien que quiero mucho, y que apesar de los problemas que aparecieron, saber como superarlos.

Aprender de que todos somos diferentes por lo tanto pensamos diferente, que tu familia al principio puede que no lo entienda y reaccionen mal, pero que todo toma tiempo, porque al fin y al cabo ellos sólo están preocupados porque estés bien y que el mundo en donde vives te trate bien.

(The gay community in Lima) Tiene un poco de todo, pero si algo tiene en común es de que todos quieren que Lima sea un lugar donde puedas vivir tranquilo y es por eso que siempre están apoyando las marchas y las inicitivas para que paren los abusos contra los gays.

Me di cuenta de que era gay en secundaria, cuando mi mejor amigo en ese entonces me dijo que estaba enamorado de mi, y pensé “Por qué no intentarlo?” Y ahí fue cuando sentí que por fin todo era como debía de ser y sentirse.

A las primeras personas que les dije fue a mis amigos, luego a mi tía. Pero toda mi familia se enteró el día en que llevé a mi novio a la casa, estábamos en mi cuarto y estábamos a punto de besarnos cuando mi mamá entró, nos vio y enloqueció. En realidad, a mi mamá le tomó una buena cantidad de tiempo aceptar la noticia, sobretodo si se enteró de esa manera, pero ahora todo está tranquilo entre los dos porque sabe que soy feliz con mi decisión.

Me diría que debo ser fuerte y que todo mejora con el tiempo.”

In English:

“(What does being gay mean to yuo?) I’m not sure, actually I’ve never thought about it. I think that more than one meaning is that it is a feeling, because knowing I’m gay and loved, knowing that my family and friends know that I am and do not have any bias (at least the ones I love) feels good, feels correct, it is a part of my freedom, to decide who I love, no one has the right to claim me anything.

(With regards to challenges) Love. Learning to love myself as I am, to not let anyone make me feel bad just because I do not like the same thing as them. Finding someone I love very much, and that despite the problems encountered, to know how to overcome them.

Learning that we are all different so we think differently, your family may initially not understanding and react badly, but everything takes time, because after all they are only concerned that you’re ok and that the world treats you well.

(The gay community in Lima) It has a bit of everything, but if it has something in common it is that everyone wants Lima to be a place where you can live in peace and that is why they are always supporting inicitivas marches to stop abuses against gays.

(With regards to coming out) I realized I was gay in high school, when my best friend at the time told me that he loved me, and I thought “Why not try?” And that’s when I finally felt that all was as it should be and feel.

At first the people I told were my friends, then my aunt. But all my family found out the day I took my boyfriend to the house, we were in my room and were about to kiss when my mom came in, saw us and went mad. Actually, my mom took a good amount of time to accept the news, especially considering she found out that way, but now all is quiet between us because she knows that I am happy with my decision.

(Advice I would give my younger self) I would say stay strong and that everything gets better with time.”

Alejandro, Professor, 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
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
Alejandro, in his own words: “Somos personas como cualquier otra, ni más ni menos, nos nombramos políticamente como homsexuales, como gays porque reivindicamos nuestra orientación homosexual, nuestra capacidad de amar, de desear a personas de nuestro mismo “sexo.”

El principal desafío: luchar contra el prejucio propio, de mi entorno y de la sociedad, desafío en el que sigo, porque nuestra sociedad sigue siendo muy TLGBfóbica. Las normas son necesarias pero es indispensable luchar contra el prejuicio cotidiano, contra el prejuciio que se da al interior de las familias y de las escuelas, en el trabajo y en la calle. Ese es el desafío más grande. Las normas sancionarán los actos de discriminación, pero es indispensable generar la condena social contra el prejuicio y las fobias.

Es complicado hablar de “comunidad” gay, mejor si hablamos de ambiente gay, éste es muy diverso en Lima. Oculto y soterrado en muchos espacios, con mucho closet y muy explícito en otros- Mucha violencia entremezclada con la etnia, la clase social y la identidad de género. Las nuevas generaciones son mucho menos prejuiciosas en cuanto a la orientaciòn sexual pero tambien hay mucho conservadurismo y las religiones contribuyen con ello.

En mis años de adolescencia y hasta los veintitantos viví en el closet, cuando conocií a Carlos mi parej fue mi primera salida personal del closet, asumirme y reinvindicando mi diferencia en mi encuentro con el activismo, luego salí del closet con mi familia cuando les comenté que al día siguiente (hace por lo menos 12 años atrás) iba a salir en televisión hablando sobre el matrimonio entre presonas dle mismo sexo y confirmarles lo que ya sabían o intuían que Carlos era mi pareja. Posteriormente las marchas, en el trabajo, con lxs amigxs, etc.

Consejo parafraseando a la Agrado de “Todo sobre mi madre” de Almodòvar: Porque serás más auténticx cuanto más te parezcas a lo que has soñado de tí mismx.

besos y felicitaciones por el proyecto que està fabuldivinregio (fabuloso, divino y regio).”

In English:

“We are people like any other, no more no less, politically called homosexual, because we claim gay as our sexual orientation, our capacity to love, our wish to be with people of the same “sex.”

The main challenge: combating prejudice, my environment and society, challenges that I follow, because our society is still very homophobic. Regulation and policy is necessary but it is essential to combat the everyday prejudices that occur within families and schools, at work and on the street. That’s the biggest challenge. The rules penalize acts of discrimination, but it is essential to generate social condemnation against prejudice and phobias.

It is difficult to talk about the gay “community”, it is very diverse in Lima. Hidden and buried in many areas, with many in the closet others experience much violence interspersed with ethnicity, social class and gender identity. The new generations are much less judgmental about the sexual exposure but there is much conservatism as a result of religions.

In my teens and even twenties I lived in the closet when I met Carlos which was when I first came out of the closet, I assumed and reinvented my difference in my meeting with activism, then I came out with my family when I mentioned the next day (at least 12 years ago) I was going to be on television talking about marriage between same sex persons and that confirmed what they already knew or sensed, that Carlos was my partner. Subsequently marches, at work, with Anarchist amigxs, etc.

If I could give my younger self advice, I’d paraphrase “All About My Mother” by Almodovar: Because you will be more authentic the more you look like what you’ve dreamed of mismx.”