Mauricio, Film Maker, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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
Mauricio, in his own words: “I remember being just 11 or 12 years old and one night going to bed crying; I had spent the afternoon at one of my closest Friends house hanging out with him and some others Friends from school, at one point (I don’t remember why) one of them said I was weird and different because I liked boys, my other friends agreed but none of us really understood what that meant, all I knew was I was being set apart from the rest of my friends and it hurt. That night my mom asked what was wrong and called my dad into my room, I told them what had happened and how I did not understand why being different was wrong, I was so sad…

Without hesitating my dad said that there was nothing wrong with me and that of course I was different from everyone else, that that’s something we all have in common, differences. Then my mom asked me if I knew exactly what those kids were talking about, I said “I think they were saying I’m gay” and she said no one had the right to tell me what I am, and that if I actually was it was only a part of me to be proud of, like my brown eyes and my large ears. I slept like a baby that night.

I never came out, I just never felt like I had to tell anyone that I’m into guys and not girls, my friends and family know I’m gay because they asked and I said yes; at first I think I avoided confrontation fearing rejection, but happily that didn’t last long, the thing is I grew up surrounded by loving people, I know I’m extremely lucky because of this, and thanks to that I’m a proud young man, kind and confident and in the search of true happiness.

I’m not really in touch with the gay community in Buenos Aires, I try to be aware of what’s happening all the time but I keep my distance, because I respect it so much, I’m still trying to understand myself and when I feel ready I know I want to take an active part in it; years ago I decided I wouldn’t let my sexuality define who I am and I know that people fighting for our rights have been responsible for this being possible and I’m so thankful, but I guess the truth was, until a few years ago, I didn’t want to belong to anything, I just wanted to be free. When the night the marriage equality bill passed I decided I wanted to be there to see it, so I stayed up all night waiting for the results in la Plaza del Congresso, happy, knowing that history was about to happen and that many people were closer to equality in the country I decided to call home. That night I discovered that in order to be happily different everybody has to have chances in life.

I think the only thing I would advise my younger self would be to trust more in people, it took me a while to do it and when it happened I started living life at it’s fullest, closer to happiness surrounded by people whom I love and who love me.”

Adrián, Psychologist, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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

Adrián, in his own words: “Being gay means to me to be who I am and not someone different, like a “Faked Me” or a “Multiple Me”. Before fully coming out of the closet, and depending upon the circumstances and social environments I was into.

Being gay also made me a better person and has brought to me a better quality of life, since I feel psychologically and physically healthier. I can say that once I came out as a gay man, respecting my own personal timing and those of the loved ones around me, I had the chance to integrate my life in such a positive way that I couldn’t imagine before.

During my childhood and teenage years at times I didn’t understand why I was different from others, I felt attracted to girls and also to…boys! Boys finally won the battle! I love women and they are close to me in my personal life but I choose boys to move forward ;-)

Now I try to live my life in peace, since I feel this is the only life I have to live and I fully live it as a gay man.

As most of people, I could say that I faced many challenges in my life. I have succeeded in some of them and I couldn’t make it in some others.

To come out of the closet was among the most important challenges and successes in my life. To be self confident and to remain optimistic about what could come next in life were very important to me. To be honest to myself and to my beloved ones also contributed a lot to being a better person.

To reach a good and safe balance between my personal life, my social life, my work life and my public life has not been less important.

Although I was able to smoothly walk through my coming out process in my personal world, by realizing that I have been a second class citizen for most my life, as most of the LGBT folks around the world, I left my comfort zone and used the streets for something different than walking around. I joined the LGBT pride parades in the cities where I have lived and I live.

Also, I decided to make my contribution to the LGBT community by joining the most important LGBT organization in Argentina: the Argentinean LGBT Federation.

Finally, the fact of being conscious that I want to have my own family, my own LGBT family, makes facing the most challenging and pending “issue” in my life….Hope I can make it someday soon!

I came out in 1994, at the age of 26. Of course, I was aware about a non-strictly-straight sexual orientation before that. At least, I was aware I felt attracted to both men and women. As a kid, I had dreams in which a TV show hero protected me and I felt something more than protection in an affectionate and non-sexual way. But I had a girlfriend with whom I played girly games at the school. Apart from that, I loved and I love cars! As a teenager, things were different…wet dreams came together with “disturbing” images of myself kissing one of my male friends (the cutest one, of course! ;-) ).

Real life wasn’t easy. My confusion left my sexual life stuck until I took the bull by the horns. I met a beautiful girl at the University, felt in love with her and before moving into the sex part, I told her about my not-clearly-defined sexual orientation. That was the first stage of my coming out process. She was OK with it and we had a two-year relationship, with sex and all the stuff included…But the men-oriented-part of me was still there pushing to move further and come out!…So my girlfriend and I broke up, we stayed close and, in a possible way, together. We still love each other and we’re currently friends and family in a way. We stay in contact on a weekly basis since those early years.

Then, coming back to those funny years, one day I met a handsome thirteen-year-older-than-me and openly gay man, in a work-related situation. I had such a crush on him that I couldn’t calm my heart and soul (and my body!) until we had our first date. After that date, my coming out was fully complete! Tested and double checked: I was gay! He was the second man I loved in my life (the first was my dad!). We were into a sort of relationship for seven years.

Regarding my parents, since I had had a quite transparent life for them, I managed the situation to introduce my boyfriend to them when they began asking about “my new older friend” that they have never ever heard a word about before…Once they met him, I could make clear to them that I stayed at his place every weekend and some nights during the week. After my mom passed away, my family and I started to spend Christmas with my boyfriend’s friends and family.

In between, these two important relationships, a back and forth moment took place in my life and I started dating a new girl…Can you believe it?? What was I thinking?? And my ex-girl friend discovered the situation: the three of us hazardously met at the entrance of the building I live in with my parents…. My ex-girlfriend was visiting my family and my-then-new girlfriend was walking me home…They both began yelling at me and I thought to my self: how did I end up here?? I’m gay!! Stop this! But these thoughts stayed in my mind and I just managed the situation to calm everybody down.

This is my coming out story.

The gay community in Buenos Aires is very active and quite visible. Buenos Aires, the city where I was born and raised, was always cosmopolitan and open to different ways of life. Historically, it has been a city of cultural reference in arts and culture in South America. And this is a reflection of how people are.

Life here is quite similar to some other big cosmopolitan cities, at least from the western world, based on my experience. I had the chance to live New York, in Manhattan, in Madrid, in Barcelona and traveled quite a lot, particularly around Europe. Differences come out regarding cultural believes and practices, countries’ economical development and equal legislation for LGBT people.

Argentina has made a tremendous advance in terms of LGBT human rights after year 2010, with the fully-equal marriage law, and the 2012 gender identity law, among others. However, the equal legislation is just the starting point to enjoy a full citizenship status, here and everywhere. We still need to eliminate not few discriminatory barriers and practices in Buenos Aires and Argentina. We need both the equality in the law and the equality in the real life to be fully integrated as a society.

Before these changes in the law took place, being gay in Buenos Aires was a very good experience to me. This city has been traditionally open to diversity, although not free from discrimination or acts of violence. In my personal life I did not face any harmful situation because of being gay. I have freedom to express myself, to openly go to gay bars or discos, meet other guys, and to integrate my social circles when it was possible or convenient. However, it is important to say that being gay is different depending upon where in Argentina one lives or is raised. It is not the same Buenos Aires than the suburbs, or the countryside or the small cities along Argentina. Likewise, it is not the same being gay than being lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Opportunities, chances, discrimination, visibility, among others, are not the same.

I would say to my younger self: no matter how you are, who you feel attracted to or the way you express yourself, I love you just the way you are, the way you were and the way you will be. To be a better person and to love and accept the other persons you have to firstly love and accept yourself. And never lose your self-confidence: you are your best ally to allay your soul, your mind and your heart!”

Daniel, Journalist, Brasilia, 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
Daniel, in his own words: “Na minha vida, ser assumidamente gay significa muito mais do que ser atraído por outros rapazes. É o primeiro passo de uma longa jornada rumo à liberdade. Um caminho cheio de descobertas, possibilidades e experiências incríveis. Mas nem sempre foi fácil.

Tive que lidar desde muito cedo com o preconceito, principalmente dentro de casa. Ao contrário da maior parte dos meninos, eu andava mais com as garotas; preferia ginástica olímpica ao invés de futebol. Era muito criticado por gostar de dançar, de cantar… acabei abrindo mão de muita coisa na tentativa de agradar meus pais. Lembro bem de como me sentia pressionado a ser mais “homem”.

Eu ficava muito triste e confuso com as cobranças. Não conhecia ninguém que fosse abertamente gay. Tampouco me reconhecia com o modelo caricato de homossexual que era mostrado na televisão. Parecia que não havia espaço no mundo para mim.

Com o passar dos anos, comecei a entrar em contato com ideias feministas por meio de artistas como Alanis Morissette, Shirley Manson e Gwen Stefani. Mas foi só no ensino médio que fiz amigos que compartilhavam dos mesmos interesses. Foi a primeira vez que me senti confortável para aceitar a minha gayzisse.

Nessa época, descobri que não estava sozinho; ao contrário – havia muita gente com os mesmos dilemas que eu. Descobri que era OK ser gay. Foi nessa época que passei a ter menos vergonha de quem sou.

Meus pais demoraram um pouco para aceitar essa condição, mas depois ficou tudo bem. Agora podemos conversamos abertamente sobre o assunto. Hoje, posso dizer que sinto orgulho de mim mesmo.

Se eu pudesse dizer alguma coisa para o Daniel criança, eu provavelmente diria para ele ter menos medo. Ser gay não é tão assustador ou “anormal” quanto parece. Diria para ele se divertir mais; ligar menos para o que os outros dizem. Para buscar a liberdade dentro dele, não nos outros ao redor.”

In English:

“In my life, being openly gay means more than being attracted to other boys. It is the first step in a long journey towards freedom. A path full of discoveries, possibilities and amazing experiences. But it was not always easy.

I had to deal with very early prejudice, mainly indoors. Unlike most boys, I walked over to the girls; preferred gymnastics instead of football. Was widely criticized for liking dancing, singing … I was just opening up a lot in trying to please my parents. I remember well how I felt pressured to be more of a “man”.

I was very sad and confused. I did not know anyone who was openly gay. Nor did I identify with the homosexual caricature model that was shown on television. It seemed that there was no room in the world for me.

Over the years, I began to become familiar with feminist ideas through artists such as Alanis Morissette, Shirley Manson and Gwen Stefani. But it was only in high school that I made friends who shared the same interests. It was the first time I felt comfortable accepting my gayness.

At that time, I discovered I was not alone; on the contrary – there were many people with the same dilemma as me. I found it was OK to be gay. It was then that I began to be less ashamed of who I am.

My parents took a while to accept this condition, but afterwards it was all right. Now we can openly talk about it. Today, I can say that I am proud of myself.

If I could say something to the child Daniel, I’d probably tell him to be less afraid. Being gay is not as scary or “abnormal” as it seems. I would tell him to have more fun; care less about what others say. To seek freedom within it, not the other around.”

Christian and Gustavo, Front Desk Agent and Graphic Designer, Lima, Peru

photo by Kevin Truong
Christian and Gustavo, 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
Christian and Gustavo, photo by Kevin Truong
Christian, in his own words: “Para mi ser gay significa ser sincero conmigo mismo, permitirme expresar lo que siento por la persona a quien amo sin importar las condiciones sociales que presionan para que esto tenga que ser algo oculto e incluso visto como algo malo.

Siempre he considerado que una persona gay no es un ser débil, por el contrario, una persona gay que vive abiertamente su homosexualidad tiene mucho valor, ya que no es fácil luchar contra una sociedad machista y de mentalidad cerrada.

Yo me di cuenta que era gay entre los 17 y 18 años, y debo confesar que fue algo extraño, ya que no era algo que en algún momento hubiera considerado como opción. En un principio se lo conté a mis primos, quienes son como mis hermanos y, luego de terminar mi primera relación, se los conté a mis padres. Hasta el día de hoy considero que fue la peor decisión que tomé en el momento, ya que lo hice bajo efectos del alcohol, y creo que tuvo consecuencias que pude haber evitado si lo hubiera hecho de otra manera. Mis padres no lo tomaron de la mejor manera, ya que son personas muy conservadoras, además me educaron bajo la religión católica desde niño.

Luego de confesarles que era gay, mi papá tuvo un ataque cardíaco y mi mamá se echaba la culpa de la situación. Busqué la forma de alejarme de ellos, ya que pensaba que era la solución en ese momento, y busqué la forma de trabajar en el extranjero para poder escapar de la situación.

Considero que eso me ayudó mucho, ya que permitió que la relación que tengo con mis padres en la actualidad haya madurado de tal forma que mi novio ahora sea bienvenido en mi hogar. El hecho de que mis padres lo acepten y acepten la idea de que es mi pareja y sea tratado con el mismo respeto que a la novia de mi hermano, me hace muy feliz.

Considero que la comunidad gay en Lima no es muy grande, pero algo que me alegra e inspira es saber que hay muchas personas que buscan un futuro de igualdad, en donde uno pueda ser feliz con su respectiva pareja. Sé de muchas personas que han tenido que irse a otro país para llevar una vida “normal” sin presiones de ningún tipo, e incluso puedo decir que yo he considerado esa idea ya que hace un par de años atrás era más complicado ser abiertamente gay.

Si pudiera decirle algo a mi yo de hace ocho años, creo que sería: “Tranquilo, todo va a mejorar por imposible que parezca.”

In English:

“For me being gay means being honest with myself, allowing myself to express what I feel for the person whom I love regardless of social conditions that push for this to be something hidden and even seen as wrong.

I have always thought that a gay person is not a weakling, however, a gay person openly living homosexuality is valuable because it is not easy to fight a sexist and closed-minded society.

I realized I was gay between 17 and 18 years, and I must confess that it was strange as it was not something that at the time had been considered as an option. At first I told my cousins, who are like my brothers and after finishing my first relationship, I told my parents. To this day I believe that was the worst decision I made at the time, as I did it under the influence of alcohol, and I think it had consequences that could have been avoided if I had done it otherwise. My parents did not take it in the best way, because they are very conservative people, plus I was raised in the Catholic religion as a child.

After I confessed that I was gay, my dad had a heart attack and my mother blamed me for the situation. I looked for a way to get away from them because they thought it was the solution at the time, and looked for a way to work abroad to escape the situation.

I think that helped me a lot, and that allowed the relationship I have with my parents now to mature so that my boyfriend is now welcome to my home. The fact that my parents accept it and accept my partner and treats him with the same respect as my brother’s girlfriend, makes me very happy.

I think the gay community in Lima is not great, but something that makes me happy and inspiring is to know that there are many people who seek a future of equality, where one can be happy with their respective partners. I know of many people who have had to go to another country to live a “normal” life without pressure of any kind, and I can even say that I have considered the idea since a couple of years ago was more difficult to be openly gay.

If I could say something to my younger self, I think it would be: “Quiet, everything will get better as impossible as it may seem.”

Gustavo, in his own words: “No considero que ser gay sea algo raro, porque yo no me siento raro, no me siento diferente a los demás; sin embargo, considero que ser gay y vivir feliz con eso es la valentía más grande que una persona puede llegar a tener en medio de una situación constante de juicio, desagrado y desprecio que tiene la sociedad ante las personas homosexuales.

Se necesita demasiado valor y una autoestima muy fuerte para poder vivir feliz, ya que la sociedad va a ocuparse de convencerte de que la forma en la que vives es abominable, y van a tratar de cambiarte a lo que ellos consideran que está bien solo por la idea egoísta de que a ellos no les agrada tu forma de vivir, entonces van a tratar de cambiarte a algo que a ellos les agrade. Creo que la gente y la sociedad en general le tiene miedo a lo “diferente”, a lo que no piensa como ellos, entonces por instinto, buscan moldearlo a lo que a ellos les agrade para sentir que todo está en orden.

Realmente nunca me puse a pensar en qué momento me di cuenta que era gay, ya que llegaba a enamorarme fuertemente de la esencia de las personas, sin importarme si eran hombre o mujer, eventualmente desarrollé un gusto mayor por el sexo masculino. Sinceramente no recuerdo cuándo ocurrió exactamente, pero si tuviera que ponerle una edad, sería entre los 20 y 21 años.

Mis padres se enteraron cuando mi madre tomó mi celular y vio una conversación mía con un amigo a quien le contaba que yo ya tenía dos meses con mi pareja y que era muy feliz con él. Inmediatamente me llamó a su cuarto y me preguntó qué significaba toda esa conversación, y le expliqué la situación, se echó a su cama a llorar y a preguntarme desde cuándo era gay, y recuerdo que en mi mente pensaba “no lo sé”, ya que realmente nunca lo había pensado. Luego mi padre escuchó la conversación, entró a la habitación, se echó en la cama al lado de mi madre y con calma me hizo una serie de preguntas más pensadas sin dejarse llevar por la desesperación; sin embargo, no podía dejar de pensar que les había hecho demasiado daño en ese momento.
El sentimiento de culpa es otro factor con el que se tiene que lidiar, porque una persona no decide ser gay, solo es como es y listo. Si se pudiera elegir entre ser gay y no serlo, creo que nadie elegiría este camino tan complicado y lleno de juicios malintencionados, ¿no creen?. Y para hacer mucho más complicada la situación, el mismo día que mis papás se enteran, yo decido cortar con mi pareja llevado por un sentimiento de culpa, ya que pensaba que si seguía con la relación, les iba a hacer más daño a mis padres.

Luego de un tiempo retomé mi relación, y hasta la actualidad no me arrepiento de haber cortado con él en ese momento ya que ese tiempo que estuve solo lo dediqué a pensar si es que es justo que por otras personas yo tenga que sacrificar mi felicidad. Ese es otro factor importante en la vida de una persona, sea gay o no, ya que a veces hay que ser egoístas con los sentimientos de tus seres queridos a quienes ves sufrir, en este caso por tu opción sexual, si es que en verdad quieres ser feliz tú. Con el tiempo se van a dar cuenta de que eres feliz, y si realmente te quieren, ellos también lo serán.

Para terminar, si pudiera decirle algo a mi yo del pasado, le diría que para llegar a ser feliz, primero tiene que costarte unas cuantas tristezas de las cuales siempre tienes que rescatar lo mejor, y aprender de eso. Por otro lado, ser feliz solo va a depender de ti mismo y de la actitud que tengas frente a la situación, ya que si sabes vivir como eres y te aceptas a ti mismo, los demás van a tomar la misma actitud contigo.”

In English:

“I do not think that being gay is something wrong, because I do not feel weird, I do not feel different from others; However, I believe that being gay and living happily with that is the greatest courage that a person can have in the middle of a constant state of judgment, disgust and contempt that society has with gay people.

It takes much value and a strong self-esteem to live happy, and society will take care to convince you that the way you live is abominable, and will try to change you into what they think is right just because of the selfish idea that they do not like the way you live, then they will try to change you into something that pleases them. I think people and society in general are afraid of things that are “different” to what is like them, and instinctively seeks to mold that difference to what pleases them to feel that everything is in order.

I never really got to thinking about at what time I realized I was gay, because falling in love came strongly with the essence of people, whether they were male or female, eventually I developed a greater taste for men. Honestly I do not remember exactly when it happened, but if I had to pick an age, it would be between 20 and 21 years.

My parents found out when my mother took my phone and saw a conversation with a friend of mine who told him that I already had two months with my partner and was very happy with it. Immediately she called me to her room and asked me what all this talk was about, and I explained the situation, she took to her bed to mourn and wonder why I was gay, and I remember that in my mind I thought “I do not know” as I had never really thought about. Then my father heard the conversation, entered the room, sat on the bed next to my mother and calmly asked me a series of questions designed more unencumbered by despair; however, I could not help thinking that there was too much damage done to them at the time.

Guilt is another factor which I have had to deal with, because a person does not choose to be gay, it just is as it is. If you could choose between being gay and not, I don’t think anyone would choose this path so complicated and full of malicious lawsuits, right? And to make things more complicated, the same day my parents found out, I decide to cut out my partner led by a sense of guilt, because I thought that if I kept the relationship, it would do more damage to my parents.

After a while I resumed my relationship, and even now I do not regret having cut him at that time because that time I was just so devoted to wondering if it was fair that I had to sacrifice my happiness for other people. This is another important step in life, whether gay or not, because sometimes you have to be selfish with the feelings of your loved ones who you see are suffering, in this case by your sexual preference, if you really you want to be happy. Eventually they will realize that you are happy, and if they really want to, they will be happy also.

Finally, if I could say something to my younger self, I would say that in order to be happy, you first have to experience a few sorrows of which always you will always be rescued and learn from. On the other hand, being happy is going to depend on yourself and the attitude you have to deal with the situation, because if you know how to live as you are and you accept yourself, others will take the same attitude with you.”

Nico, Filmmaker, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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
Nico, in his own words: “(Being gay) Es parte de mi vida pero no mi vida, también fue un problema en un momento hasta que logre aceptarme y entender que era la única forma que tenia de ser feliz . Es parte de mi personalidad y me hace ser quien soy. No me imagino mi vida de otra manera y me gusta que sea así.

Un gran desafió fue contarlo cuando era mas chico y no estaba del todo contento, sentía que había perdido una batalla contra quienes en mi infancia me discriminaban, finalmente era lo que todos mis compañeros de colegio me decían para burlarse de mi. También animarme a contar historias sobre amores homosexuales en mis trabajos fue un desafió. En mi primera película (Últimas vacaciones en familia ) narro una historia de coming out y era muy fuerte para mi mostrarla en la ciudad donde nací y donde fui discriminado en la escuela por ejemplo, pero creo que hoy llevando estas historias por el interior del país pongo mi granito de arena para que otros chicos y chicas puedan ser mas felices allá. Ahora estoy muy reconciliado con la ciudad donde crecí y cada vez que voy me siento muy bien.

Siempre que recuerdo cuando comencé a contarlo pienso que es bueno ya haberlo hecho. Primero le conté a amigas y amigos a los 18 años, a mis padres recién a las 21 cuando sentí que era el momento. Al principio fue difícil pero luego lo aceptaron y me apoyan mucho, tengo mucha suerte de tenerlos. Es increíble como cambia tu relación cuando la gente ya lo sabe y te acepta, se logran armar relaciones mas verdaderas, amigos de verdad, familiares de verdad. No esta bueno tener que ocultarlo.

Vivir en Buenos Aires hace fácil las cosas, para mi que nací en el interior del país fue un gran cambio, nunca sentí discriminación acá. Lo bueno es que lentamente esta cambiando en todo el país la vida para nosotros y en parte es por el gran trabajo de distintos miembros de la comunidad. Vivir en Buenos Aires me ayudo a aceptarme.

Hay que ser fiel a los sentimientos de uno y en lo posible no alejarse de la familia que es muy importante en la vida.”

Últimas vacaciones en familia

In English:

(Being gay) It’s part of my life but not my entire life, it was also a problem at a time until I came to accept and understand that it was the only way I had of being happy. It’s part of my personality and makes me who I am . I can not imagine my life any other way and I like it that way .

A great challenge was when I was younger and I was not entirely happy , I felt I had lost a battle against those who would discriminate in my childhood because I finally was what all my classmates told me when they mocked me. Telling stories about gay love in my work was a challenge too. In my first film (The Last Family Holidays ) I narrate a story of coming out and it was very hard for me to show it in the city where I was born and where I was discriminated against at school, but I think today bringing these stories to the hinterland I put in my two cents for other boys and girls so that they may be happier there. I have now reconciled myself to the city where I grew up and every time I go I feel great.

Whenever I remember I started to tell (people I was gay) and I think it’s good I did. First I told my friends at age 18 , my parents recently at 21 when I felt it was time . At first it was hard but then they accepted and supported me a lot, I am lucky to have them. It’s amazing how it changes your relationship and when people already know it and accept you, you are able to put together more real relationships, real friends, real family . It’s not good to have to hide it.

Living in Buenos Aires makes things easier for me since I was born into the country with a big change, I’ve never felt discrimination here. The good thing is things are slowly changing across the country life for us and partly by the great work of various members of the community. I live in Buenos Aires which has helped me to accept myself.

(Advice I’d give my younger self) You have to be true to one’s feelings and possibly not get away from the family which is very important in life.”

The Last Family Holidays

Gustavo, Writer/Journalist, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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
Gustavo, in his own words: “Significa la forma de pararme en el mundo.
(Being gay) Es mi identidad y mi orientación sexual, pero es también mi forma de hacer activismo político. Por que mi visibilidad es política y eso va más allá de mi deseo. Amo y deseo de la misma forma que cualquier otra persona, sin embargo creo que en un mundo donde la homolesbotransfobia impera en muchos países, mi orientación sexual, mi SER GAY, es un campo de lucha.

Soy una persona con algunos privilegios de clase, pero también con ciertos privilegios que tiene que ver con mi profesión. Comunicar también es un privilegio. Sin embargo tengo retos en mi vida, cosas que no manejo voluntariamente que tienen que ver con mi salud y eso es lo que centra mis mayores preocupaciones. Por eso, a veces los privilegios que ostenta que devienen en éxitos no son sólo lo importante. Las dificultades del vivir día a día también hacen que mida muy bien mis acciones.

Indudablemente ((the LGBTI community in Buenos Aires)) es una comunidad en efervescencia sobre todo en los últimos años.
La construcción de esta comunidad se remonta a casi 50 años donde el Grupo Nuestro Mundo comenzaba una especie de organización que luego continuó el Frente de Liberación Homosexual. Después la dictadura del 76-83 borró todo tipo de resistencia hasta 1984 en que se funda la CHA. Después del 2001 la comunidad LGBTI argentina creció y también se diversificó en ideas, ideales, formas de construcción y métodos de activismo. Es muy importante el nacimiento de un activismo nuevo, con la fuerza puesta en el futuro. Pero también fue importante quienes plantaron los cimientos. Hay que saber combinar ambas praxis para seguir pensando el futuro, que sin dudas, estará en manos de las nuevas generaciones.

Salí naturalmente. Seguí mi instinto y casi sin contención lo hice. Siempre estuvo ligado a la lucha, al activismo, y eso lo hizo menos dificil. La gran duda eran mis padres, pero fue tirarles la pelota y que ellos lo digirieran. Hablé con ellos muy joven y fue sacarme una inmensa mochila de encima.
El clóset nunca fue un problema para mi.

(With regards to advice to young people) Qué le recomendarías a la juventud? No me gusta dar recomendaciones. Pero si tuviera que compartir un pensamiento sería: sean libres, felices, aprendan de los errores del pasado y nutranse de los logros que conquistamos en otros momentos donde eran mucho más duros.”

In English:

“(Being gay) Means how to stand in the world.

Is my identity and sexual orientation, but it is also my way of doing political activism. Because my visibility is political and that goes beyond my desire. I love and desire in the same way as anyone else, but I believe that in a world where homolesbotransfobia prevails in many countries, my sexual orientation, my BEING GAY is a battlefield.

I am a person with some class privilege, but also with certain privileges that have to do with my profession. Communicating well is a privilege. However I have challenges in my life, things that do not have voluntarily and that have to do with my health and that’s what I focused my biggest concerns.

So sometimes I have privileges and successes are important. The difficulties of living day to day also make great measures on my actions.

Undoubtedly (the LGBTI community in Buenos Aires) is a community in turmoil especially in recent years. Building this community dates back almost 50 years where the Our World Group began a kind of organization which then continued the Gay Liberation Front. Afterwards the dictatorship of 76-83 obliterated all resistance until 1984 that the CHA is based. After 2001 the Argentina LGBTI community grew and diversified into ideas, ideals, forms of construction and methods of activism.
It is very important to the birth of a new activism, with the force on the future.

But also important was those who planted the foundations. One must know how to combine both praxis to keep thinking about the future, which will undoubtedly be in the hands of the younger generation.

I came out naturally. I followed my instinct. It was always linked to the struggle, activism, and that made it less difficult. The big question were my parents, but that was throwing the ball and they digirieran. I talked to them was very young and take my huge backpack off. The closet was never a problem for me.

(With regards to advice to young people) I do not like to give recommendations. But if I had to share a thought it would be, to be free, happy, learn from past mistakes and Nurture of the achievements that we won at other times when it was much harder.”

Juan, Creative Director, Santiago, Chile

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

Juan, in his own words: “I think being gay to me has been something normal in my life. As I work with Images and Social Media strategy, I think been gay helped me to be more sensitive for my work, have a different feeling about aesthetic and graphic arts.

One of my challenges is to build a latin american social media company with presence in most of the countries of the region. I am so passionate about human behavior and consumers and I think that in latin america there is a lack of this kind of business, so I work everyday trying to understand brands and connect them with their consumers.

Well as I am not a resident in Santiago, I don’t have much to say (with regards to the gay community in Santiago), but the gay people that I know here, they are very kind and very opened to new ideas, new people and new things. Also the gay community in Santiago is very creative and like to mix with other people, they are just not closed to gay people only.

Well, as I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia is a very closed minded society. At the first time I told my mom, she just started crying and asked herself some questions about my education at school and home. A month later my mom was still crying but she was more opened to understand my life. I introduced her all my friends with the purpose that they were the same as me. In Colombia certain kind of people think that we as gay people use hills and lipstick. After that everything goes normal, I really have an open relation with my mom, she knows my boyfriend, I talk to her about me and its all okay.

My advice is to be yourself. Being you, is the only way you can achieve objectives, be happy and be a better person!”

Paul, Photographer, 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
Paul, in his own words: “What does being gay mean to you?

No estoy muy seguro de esto, ósea sé que soy gay porque es la palabra que define mi atracción por los chicos pero más allá de eso me identifico como un ser humano en busca de la igualdad para todos

Uno de los problemas con el que lidio continuamente es la desaprobación de la sociedad que me rodea, vivo en un país represivo y con miedo al cambio que prefiere repetir una historia mil veces antes que intentar hacer algo distinto.
Podría decir que el desafío más fuerte que tengo ahora mismo es conmigo. 
He dejado que muchxs hagan la lucha por mí, lucha por mis derechos, lucha por mi reconocimiento como persona. El año pasado sufrí un ataque de homofobia, fui golpeado solo por defenderme de una burla por usar pantalones apretados, en su momento lo deje pasar pensé que era algo que tenía que suceder de todas maneras solo por mostrarme como quiero. 
Luego me di cuenta que es el pensamiento más tonto que pude haber tenido ¿cómo pensar que ser golpeado es natural, solo por ser homosexual? Cuando vi lo absurdo que era creer esto, decidí hacer un cambio. 
Ahora cada vez que puedo trato de ayudar en algo con esta lucha, cuando alguien suelta un comentario tonto sobre la homosexualidad o hace algún chiste sobre ello, trato de hacer que entienda que no es un tema que se puede tomar a la ligera, la homosexualidad es parte importante de alguien más.

La comunidad gay es muy diversa como todo grupo, hay gente que es más activista, gente que lucha solo cuando les afecta de manera personal y gente que no se identifica con la comunidad. Imagino que todo eso está bien ya es muy personal como uno decide compartir con los demás. Lo que si aún me parece mala onda es cuando algunos homosexuales dan la espalda a otros solo por no compartir un mismo status o por no tener un parecido físico a ellos sean marrones o blancos. 
 ¿Si todos en el fondo sabemos que somos lo mismo porque no ayudarnos?

Siempre he sabido que soy homosexual, hasta cuando no sabía que existía una palabra con la que me pueda definir, sabía que soy gay. 
Desde niño las personas han asociado mi feminidad con mi orientación sexual, por lo tanto nunca tuve que salir oficialmente del closet, hasta los 16 que fue cuando termine el colegio y se lo dije a mi mama, por que sentí que era algo que necesitaba decirlo con todas sus palabras. Fue algo complicado porque ella ya me había preguntado sobre mis gustos cuando tenía 14, yo conteste de manera muy general sin una afirmación o una negación. Mi papa no toca mucho el tema por temor a decir algo que me incomode pero cada vez que yo tengo la oportunidad de compartir algo con él lo hago, porque quiero enseñarle que no tener miedo de lo que su hijo es.
Igual aun a veces se me complica cuando tengo que aclarar mi orientación sexual con ciertas personas, sobre todo con las mayores porque están cerrados en una sola idea del homosexualismo, entonces hacerles comprender algo nuevo es medio difícil pero ahí voy, haciendo lo que está en mis manos para ayudar con la causa.

El consejo que me daría a mí mismo, es que no existe una manera correcta de hacer las cosas, solo tú puedes hacer que el camino que estas tomando sea el mejor para ti. Que disfrute el momento porque no todos los años tendrá 22 para hacer las cosas que solo puedes hacer a los 22.”

In English:

“What does being gay mean to you?

I’m not sure about this, I know I’m gay bone because it is the word that defines my attraction to guys but beyond that I identify myself as a human being in search of equality for all.

One of the problems with continually feeling the disapproval of the society around me, I live in a repressive country that is afraid of change and prefers to repeat a story a thousand times rather than trying to do something different.
I would say that the strongest challenge I have right now is me. I let many thing make me fight, fight for my rights and my struggle for recognition as a person. Last year I suffered a bout of homophobia, I was beaten and mocked and made to defend myself simply for wearing tight pants, at the time I thought it was something that would have had to happen anyway. Then I realized that’s the dumbest thing I could have been thinking, how could they be beaten naturally, just for being gay? When I saw how absurd it was to believe this, I decided to make a change. Now whenever I try to help in this fight, when someone drops a silly comment about homosexuality or makes a joke about it, I try to understand that it is not an issue that can be taken lightly, homosexuality is an important part of somebody else.

The gay community (in Lima) is as diverse as any group, there are people who are more activist, people who struggle only when it affects them personally and people who do not identify with the community. I guess being gay is very personal and one can decide whether or not to it share with others. What I think is not cool is when some gay individuals criticize other just for not sharing the same status or not having a physical resemblance to them, for being brown or white. Everyone deep down knows we are the same.

I’ve always knew I was gay, even before I knew there was a word that could define me I knew that I am gay. Since childhood people have associated my femininity with my sexual orientation, so I never had to officially coming out until around 16 when I finished school and I told my mom that I felt it was something I needed to say. It was tricky because she had asked me about my interests when I was 14, I answered very generally without an affirmation or denial. My dad does not play much with the issue for fear of saying something that bothers me but whenever I have the opportunity I share something with him about what I do, because I want to teach him not to be afraid of what his child is. Sometimes it troubles me when I have to clear my sexual orientation with certain people, especially the elderly because they are stuck on one idea of homosexuality, I hope to make them understand something new is kind of hard but there I go, doing what is in my hands to help with the cause.

The advice I would give myself is that there is no right way to do things, only you can make the path you’re taking, and decide what is best for you. Enjoy the moment because not everyone has 22 years to do things you can only do 22.”

Agustín, Writer, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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
Agustin, in his own words: “Ser gay significa SER. No hay demasiada vuelta que darle. Uno nace con un corazón. Y ese corazón tiene vida propia y habla por sí sólo. Actúa y se enamora de otro corazón, independientemente del sexo. Ser gay es SER.

Mi primer reto fue aceptarme y mi primer éxito es haberlo logrado. Pero el mayor reto en mi vida fue habérselo contado a mis amigos y a mi familia; y mi mayor éxito es saber que todos me apoyan, me quieren y respetan.

(With regards to the gay community in Buenos Aires) No estoy muy enterado de lo que hacen o comunican. Sé que existe, nada más.

(With regards to coming out) Confirmé lo que hacía años sospechaba y me predispuse a ser feliz con lo que soy. Lo afrenté (esa es quizás la clave), lo comuniqué, me acepté, me aceptaron y soy feliz.

(Advice I’d give my younger self) Que sean fieles a lo que de verdad sienten. Que entendamos (todos) que hay cuestiones en la vida que sí se pueden controlar y que la felicidad, la tranquilidad espiritual y la alegría dependen de cómo actuemos nosotros con lo que nos pasa y lo que somos.”

In English:

“Being gay means being. Not much way around it . One is born with a heart. And that heart has its own life and speaks for itself . Acts and falls for another heart , regardless of gender . Being gay is being.

My first challenge was to take myself and have my first successes achieved. But the biggest challenge in my life was to tell my friends and family; and my greatest success is knowing all the support I had, I have love and respect .

(With regards to the gay community in Buenos Aires) I’m not aware of what they do or communicate . I know there is nothing else.

(With regards to coming out) I confirmed what I suspected for years and I decided to be happy with who I am . I affronted ( this is perhaps the key), I communicated, and accepted myself, accepted myself and I am happy.

(Advice I’d give to my younger self) Be true to what they really feel . Understand (all) that there are issues in life that itself can be controlled and happiness, peace of mind and happiness, depends on how we act with what happens to us and what we are.”

Wilfred, Teacher, Cusco, 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
Wilfred, in his own words: “I think that being gay should not be considered something extra special. A gay man for me is another human being with a different object of affection. I don’t believe in ghettos since all that just brings isolation and more suffering.

When I look back in my life I feel amazed how I passed through some shitty situations and survived, for example some issues regarding family, loneliness and relationships. I guess, I did it right since I am still here and I don’t have hard feelings for anybody in my life. Now I’m more focus on the bright side of life like my boyfriend and our common life.

I don’t understand very much the term of “coming out”. Maybe it implies that my duty as a gay man is to declare to society that I’m a special type of man (gay) or do a stand or propaganda for being what I am? I don’t think so. Every human being has the right to live their life as they want so it doesn’t matter if they are gay or straight of if they are vegetarian or vegan or anything.

Anyway, since my childhood I felt attracted by men so, I didn’t pay much attention to girls. I thought it was kind of natural. Of course, I felt the pressure of the latin macho society as I was growing and I had my short crisis period. But in general I tried to live my life ignoring the traditional female or male roles of the latin society and follow my instincts. I don’t like the idea of putting labels on anybody’s life and I don’t want my life to spin around the idea of just being gay. That’s a waste of time and energy. Life is more than that.

I would say (the gay community in Cusco) is growing and new generations of gay men are less and less afraid of showing what they are which I consider very positive. But still the influence of religion and traditional values is a hard burden for many gay people.

(Advice I’d give my younger self) Keep doing what you are doing. Don’t give up. And live one day at a time and smile, fucker.”