Xavier, Editor-in-Chief/Journalist, Paris, France

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Xavier, in his own words: “Si je n’avais pas été gay, j’aurais été un homme blanc hétérosexuel. Faire partie d’une minorité m’a donné la possibilité de voir le monde du côté de ceux qui n’ont pas forcément le pouvoir, de ceux qu’on essaie de tenir à l’écart et de ceux qui doivent apprendre à être fiers d’eux-mêmes. C’est une chance inestimable.

Contrairement à certains, je crois énormément à l’idée de communauté. Mieux: je suis heureux d’en faire partie. Ceux qui ne croient pas à cette idée ou qui la rejettent n’ont qu’à étudier l’histoire du sida, pour ne citer cet exemple là. Ils verront ce qu’une communauté peut accomplir.

Mon coming-out familial s’est déroulé on ne peut mieux. Il a même permis de libérer la parole entre parents et enfants et entres frères et sœurs. Dans ma vie de tous les jours, j’expérimente le coming-out permanent. En tant que journaliste dans un media gay, je sors du placard à chaque fois qu’on me demande mon métier. Le plus dur aura finalement été de le dire à ma grand-mère, une vieille paysanne charentaise. Il m’a fallu 10 ans pour arriver à en parler, alors que je suis out auprès de la terre entière. Tout le monde me déconseillait de le faire, assurant qu’elle ne comprendrait pas, qu’elle était trop âgée et qu’il ne fallait pas l’embêter avec ça. Tout le monde se trompait. Elle a réagi de la plus belle des manières: avec amour.

Je vis à Paris depuis 14 ans et la vie gay y est d’une grande richesse. J’aime l’idée d’avoir un quartier gay dans une ville. Hélas force est de constater que le Marais est de plus en plus envahi par les touristes et les prix délirants de l’immobilier font qu’il devient très dur désormais d’avoir de nouveaux établissements. Au delà de l’aspect urbain, c’est le tissu associatif LGBT qui est très riche à Paris. Il y a des dizaines d’associations, à peu près dans tous les domaines. Comme beaucoup de parisiens, je suis souvent tenté de quitter Paris pour aller vivre dans un environnement moins stressant. Il y a une vie gay dans d’autres villes en France, mais aucune d’aussi vivace. Et ça me me manquerait.

Si j’avais une chose à dire à une version plus jeune de moi-même: “TU ES GAY, IDIOTE!”. J’ai compris que j’étais gay à 17 ans. J’aurais aimé le comprendre avant, histoire de ne pas avoir à gâcher une partie de mon adolescence à essayer d’être quelque chose que je ne suis pas. Mais cela m’a aussi permis d’être celui que je suis aujourd’hui, donc tout est bien.”

In English:

“Had I not been gay, I would have been a straight white western male. Being gay gave me the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a minority, to feel what it’s like to be on the side of those who don’t have the power, of those who are marginalized and who have had to learn how to stand tall and proud. That is an amazing gift.

The concept of “community” always raises eyebrows in France, because we are supposed to be “universalists” (it should be “all are equal” but for most people it’s “all should be alike – straight that is). I am proud to be a part of the LGBT community. For those who don’t believe in the idea of a community, just look at the way we responded to the AIDS epidemic. You’ll see what a community can do.

Coming-out to my parents was wonderful. We have had trouble talking to each other in the family for a couple of years. It started a conversation. It’s always useful to be honest with the ones you love. In my everyday life, I have to come out every time someone asks me what my job is (I’m a journalist in a LBGT media, yagg.com. It reminds me that coming out and being proud of who you are is an ongoing process.

I’ve been living in Paris for 14 years. The LGBT community is strong here. We have a gay neighboordhood, the world famous “Marais”. But these days, it’s getting more and more packed with tourists and the rampant gentrification is turning it slowly but surely into a giant designer clothes store. As if we didn’t have enough designer clothes stores already… We have dozens of LGBT groups, from sports groups to activists groups not to mention health groups. I belong to a LGBT tennis group, member of the Gay and lesbian tennis alliance. We get to meet and play with LGBT folks all around the world. It’s like a global family. I sometimes think of moving to another sunnier, less hectic city. But I definitely would miss the gay life.

If a had anything to tell to my younger self, that would be: “YOU ARE GAY, STOOPID!”. I realized I was gay at 17. I wish I got that earlier, so that I wouldn’t have wasted my time trying to be heterosexual in high school. Anyway, that’s a part of me and it made me the person I am today, so all is well!”

6 comments

  1. doug kim-brown

    Xavier thank you for sharing your a bit of your story and your views – I very much would like to be a part of a larger gay community – i am glad you are part of something vibrant. I agree with your opinion of the Marais! doug

  2. jempeirson

    I really laughed at your concluding comments. Lol! I only realized I was gay after I was married with 3 kids! How “Stoopid” is that?! And then because of what I was involved in and where I lived and the life I had built, I was forced to remain in the closet until I just couldn’t take it any more and finally separated from my wife and came out at 64 years old. Lol! Lucky you for doing it at 17!

  3. Xavier

    Jempeirson. Kevin asks us to tell what we would say to our younger selves. Therefore, my “stoopid” comment is only adressed to myself. Just because I can call myfelf stupid doesn’t mean that I would call someone else with the same words. I would never dare to do that or judge anyone about their coming-out process. I may be a little “stoopid”, I’m not an asshole 😉

    • jempeirson

      Hey. There was no offence taken nor any intended. I thoroughly enjoyed everything you shared and was laughing only at myself at my own expense. I did not for one moment think you were being at all rude or offensive. Please forgive me for any upset I inadvertently caused. Bless you.

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