Quentin, in his own words: “Being Gay for me means something special. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s more than physical characteristics like being 5’11 and 175lbs, more than liking chocolate or my dislike for cilantro. It’s similar to- but not quite the same- as being African American. It is something that is very close to me, but still not my defining characteristic. Being gay for me is not just about sexuality even though it’s related. It’s more than being apart of a community. It is something that I am proud of now, but when I was younger it was a struggle. I created Fop Magazine (a Gay-Centric Fashion & Lifestyle Magazine, fopmag.com) in part to establish a venue for gay people to share in lifestyle and fashion but to use gayness as a launch point not a limitation.
I think the biggest challenge- and triumph! – that I’ve have had with being gay are my own feelings. People can think or say whatever they want, but what is most important is how I feel. Of course I feel that I have been liked or disliked because of it, but who hasn’t felt that way. My biggest triumph is over coming self-doubt and loving myself.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a community where I felt loved so coming out wasn’t that hard. But that didn’t make it easy. I never really felt like I had to hide it, but sometimes felt like it may have been ignored. I remember feeling awkward when family members would ask me if I had a girlfriend. I would always say no and change the topic. One time my stepmother asked me if I had a girlfriend and I said no, then she asked me if I had a boyfriend and I said no. I guess that was her way of asking me if I were gay. My dad that same summer asked why I went to Dupont Circle so often, and I just said it was apart of my commute to work at Abercrombie, which was in Georgetown.
Growing up in North Carolina when I was in High School I would go to these meetings called G.L.A.S.S. (Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Support System). I would tell my mother that I was going to student council meetings. I remember having such a fear of going at first, but once I started I felt more and more like I had found my place. I remember thinking, “These people are normal and I am one of them”. I guess I was looking for a place to belong. Later in high school I met my first boyfriend at Governor’s School. I was totally in love with him. He was a year older, Filipino, and was going to be a doctor. We had big plans to go to prom together and later to attend the same college. I thought, “This is the man I am going to marry in our backyard,” like Pedro Zamora of The Real World. I was wrong. Later that year he dumped me for a girl. I was devastated. So I wore my powder blue tux with the ruffles down the front of the shirt and my Adidas with the same color stripes to the prom with my best girlfriend at the time.
I finally came out to my mother when I was a freshman in college. I drove home and told her I was gay. She said, “I know”. We both started crying. She told me she worried about my future because of it- like getting a job, HIV, and hemorrhoids. Looking back it was a pretty hilarious conversation. I never really told my dad, but never felt I had to. He knows and he sometimes asks if I have a partner, and I tell him I’m still single. He gives me advice like having separate bank accounts and to always use condoms. Dad stuff. “