Steven, Freelance Makeup Artist, Batesville, Mississippi

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
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, in his own words: “Being gay, to me means simply being; staying true to who I am; the way I was meant to be.

I really try to focus on not complicating myself, so that I have a more clear since of who I am at all times.
So I guess, being gay means being completely honest with myself.

The only challenge I can say I have encountered was my struggle with balancing religion and homosexuality. I used to lay in my bed as a child at night, every night praying to be “straight”. I just wanted to be normal; accepted both in society’s eyes and God’s. However, age taught me that I could be both gay and accepted and loved by my maker. I learned to keep my faith in God, while remaining the way He created me. His love for everyone, homosexuals included gives me a never ending peace.

There is a line from the Tony Award winning musical “RENT” that always came to mind while struggling with acceptance.

“To sodomy. It’s between God and me.” -Jonathan Larson

Being gay is mine and God’s business. It took me a while to not let other people make it their own.

Unlike most gay men, I don’t really have a coming out story. I am very fortunate to have a very “out and proud” uncle. My dad’s brother, cleared a nice big path for me to act and be who I was every step of my journey to adulthood. Not once was I ever ridiculed in my own house for playing with Barbie or dressing up and pretending to be Dorothy from “The Wizard Of OZ.”

After meeting and getting serious with the first guy I ever dated, I wanted to introduce my family to him. So to bring it up, I just started using masculine pronouns in conversation with them. “Mom, I’ve been dating someone, and HE is so amazing. You’re gonna love him!!” And, she did. She still does.

I had it easy. Thank you Uncle Jim.

Apart from 3 or 4 guys on Grindr, there is no gay community in Batesville, MS that I am aware of.

This would be my advice to my younger self:

“Don’t bother trying to figure yourself out, or letting others label you too much. You are always evolving. You always will be. Be the best at what you love doing, and love those you love wholeheartedly.”

3 comments

  1. mmarkroy53

    Kevin,

    I love the fact that you are “going outside the ghetto” and getting to the heart of the country. The guys you are interviewing are the gay men of America. I look forward to each and very post and to hear the storied from the center.

  2. Manel

    Even if you try to show us portraits through portrayed people’s eyes, there is always you in a corner, and I never cease to be amazed!
    Thank you, not only for this portrait in particular, but for all of them, and how much more sane our world becomes.

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