Ray and Steven, Teacher and Chiropractor, Cathedral City, California

photo by Kevin Truong
Ray and Steven, photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Steven and Ray, photo by Kevin Truong
Ray, in his own words: ” Live the wonderful life that is in you. Be afraid of nothing.” Richard Halliburton ( 1900 – 1939 ).

I wish I had read this quote when I was growing up as it would have been so inspirational. Richard Halliburton was the first man to swim the length of the Panama Canal. He traveled the world and wrote wonderful travel books. He was only 39 when he died. His boat was lost in a Pacific Ocean storm. Halliburton was a gay man who lived life to the fullest. He is a great role model for everyone.

I really never had any horrible experiences growing up. I did feel very lonely at times and felt that I didn’t fit at some events, but for the most part high school and college were great times for me. I knew I was gay from a very early age. I had gay relationships all through high school and college. My biggest challenge was becoming a teacher and worrying about someone outing me. I loved teaching. As a gay teacher, I tried to connect with all my students as I knew what it was like to be an outsider. Students can always tell if a teacher likes their job or is just putting in the time. So I had a great career of 39 years. I was lucky enough to receive many accolades. My favorite three were being named Teacher of the Year at David Douglas High School in 2001, the Portland Trailblazers Educator of the Year in 1987, and having the Palm Valley School ( Rancho Mirage, CA )Yearbook dedicated to me in 2009.

So my advice to all gay people coming out is to find a career that you are passionate about and that will make your life much more rewarding. I would encourage a college degree for everyone although I know it is not needed for every career. Also, I would recommend that you take care of your health. Most gay people are very social and that usually involves eating and drinking so practice moderation.

Being gay is a gift in many ways. You meet so many wonderful people through parties, clubs, dinners, events, and other social situations. Some of the most talented and creative people in the world are gay. Be happy that you were born gay and accept it as part of the plan for the universe. One last bit of wisdom about relationships. Steve and I have been together for 41 years. We are not perfect. Three phrases should be repeated in any relationship often: “ I am sorry, Thank you, and I love you.” If you say the first two phrases often, you will hear a lot more of the third one! It may sound dorky, but I like having a partner, a house, and two dogs to come home to every day. It just feels good to have a home. Last, but not least, communicate with your lover, partner, or husband. Do not assume anything about your relationship…….talk, talk, and talk some more. Most relationships fail because guys don’t sit down and express themselves. We have had many, many great highs in our 41 years, but also some tragic lows, but by having good communication with each other, we have happily survived life’s challenges. So adopt Richard Halliburton’s quote and “ Live the wonderful life that is in you. Be afraid of nothing.”

Steven, in his own words: “When I was young, being gay meant that I was different and did not fit in with my peers or the world around me. It is very different now. I feel very lucky that I was born gay. I have had a wonderful life, been able to travel widely, and excelled at my career. If I had been straight, I don’t think I would have had the money, nor the drive to do the things I have done.

Being gay as a teenager was pretty difficult in the 70’s, but as an adult I have not had any significant challenges that could be attributed to my sexual orientation. In fact I would say that I am blessed to be gay. I think it has made me a more compassionate and loving person. I am very accepting of other people. I see things like bigotry hypocrisy, and elitism in other people that I really don’t like. I don’t think those are a part of my own character and I am thankful for that.

I am a Chiropractor. I spent most of my career as a teacher. I was hired by the College to be the Director of the Outpatient Clinic right after I graduated. At the age of 34, I became the Dean of the College. Those were amazing accomplishments that I will always be proud of.

I don’t really have a “coming out” story. I just assumed that everyone knew I was gay and it was not talked about much. I met my partner at the age of 23 and we have been together for the past 41 years. I think that fact basically let everyone know I was gay and there was no reason to announce it to anyone. I never spent a lot of time feeling ashamed of the fact. Actually, most of my life I have felt very grateful for it.

We live in Cathedral City, California which is next to Palm Springs. It is a very gay friendly community and there is a large gay population here. I love living here because I no longer feel like a minority. I can be myself and don’t really care what anyone else thinks of me or my lifestyle.

I think one of the keys to happiness whether you are gay or straight is to cultivate a group of really good friends. They become your family and it is a family of choice. We have been blessed to have a lot of friends who are quality people and who truly care about our well-being.”

Rem, Theatre Company Director, Manila, Philippines

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Rem, in his own words:“(Being gay is) a label.

I put up my own theater company in 2013. It was the natural evolution after all my years in the theater. Although success has come in critical acclaim, the challenge for any local theater company that only does ‘straight’ plays (non-musical), is profit.

There was no drama or fanfare (to my coming out). There was a struggle of course, when I was younger. The coming out was something that just happened naturally. Friends and family just accepted it.

(The gay community in Manila is) Alive and kicking. Fabulous.

(Advice to my younger self) Be brave. Take more risks.”

Francisco, Journalist, Sydney, 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
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Francisco, in his own words: “I think (being gay) has the same meaning like being straight, Christian, Muslim, Colombian, Australian, rich, journalist or Latino. I mean it’s just a part which describes something small in a human being.

Being gay is a vital part of my life, I was born that way and that means my spirit is attracted to people with similar characteristics like me but it is not the only thing that I have to offer to humanity, because that part just describes a part of my feelings, my intimacy and part of my expressions and culture.

(A challenges is) finding a way to teach to society in my country that being gay is nothing wrong, negative or evil, like some religions try to show. We’re just humans and our sexual orientation is just something which belongs to our essence and diversity as humans.

One of my greatest challenges in my life was when I decided to create the first two LGBT radio stations in Colombia. It was huge, with over two hundred thousand listeners per month in my country and Latin America. It was a chance to teach people and our LGBT community the responsibility to be ourselves, it doesn’t matter what society says about us. We tried to start a revolution in growing a young generation in which only five years ago was trying to find their own expression. Thousands of people around Colombia transformed, Radio Diversia and El Eden Radio into two communicative models to express their feelings, their music, their news, their artists and their own stories about how it is living as am LGBT guy in Colombia and how to be happy and change their environment into a good place to live instead of one with discrimination and violence.

After that another great success in my life was when I started as a Director and Television Anchor in my own Television Magazine about International Showbiz through international news TV Network (NTN24) for Latin America and the Latin Community in United States. It was like a professional dream, my biggest challenge and a huge responsibility as a Journalist.

This is not exactly the way to coming out, but I was in the middle of a big argument with my mom, who found some Gay guides in my room and she started to yell at me about that, I was so angry and I just said to her “Yes, I’m Gay!” after that, it took over a year for my mom to start to understand why I’m Gay and why I was born Gay. Currently our relationship is very honest about my Gay life, my friends and my boyfriend. She understands I’m more than my sexual orientation, I’m her son.

(The gay community in Sydney is the) same thing like everywhere: having some fun, sometimes a boyfriend, depending on the moment, a long term relationship, a husband or just a summer love. I found my country (Colombia) a better place to get a stable relationship because my culture and traditions are more aligned with the fact that Latinos are more passionate, closer to each other and more communicative. In Sydney people are busy all the time, sometimes they don’t have time for close relationships or it just takes a long time to get that.

On the other hand, Sydney is a better place to express one’s feelings because it is a capital of the world. It is a place with people from everywhere, a city growing up with minorities, even gays and lesbians have here in Sydney one of the most beautiful and biggest celebrations in the world, the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras which is awesome because in Colombia we don’t have something similar, just the gay pride in June, but it is smaller, not very organized and is not visible like the Mardi Gras is in Australia and around the world.

(Advice to my younger self) Don’t be afraid about what society says about you, sometimes society represents the dumbest things of humans, just be yourself, take some risks to be happy and always think about conquering the world, because you are more than just another gay; you’re brilliant, smart, a nice guy, you can do whathever you want, just try to find the way to get it and enjoy this fantastic journey which is life because you only live once.”