The Next Steps for the Gay Men Project

Kevin Truong
Kevin Truong
Hey everyone,

Kevin here, creator of the Gay Men Project, and I wanted to take a moment to send all of you a note and ask for a little advice. First off, thank you for your continual support of the Gay Men Project. Believe it or not, I started this project over six years ago, and the blog nearly four years ago. Since then, we’ve photographed over seven hundred individuals across eighty-six cities in thirty-seven countries and six continents. I think that’s quite an accomplish that we can all be proud of. And when I say ‘we,’ I mean you and me. This project is built on the support each one of you have given me, as I’ve devoted the past four years of my life to documenting the experiences of gay and queer men around the world.

You’ve all visited this website nearly a million times from two-hundred-and-twenty countries and territories around the world. You’re visiting from places like Iraq, Syria, Estonia, Brazil, Mexico, Namibia, Mongolia or Sri Lanka. This is something all of us have built together, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this project and this journey.

That said, I want to ask you what direction you want me to take the Gay Men Project. This is our project, and I think we either need to finish it and give it the proper finish it deserves, or we need to take it in a direction where it can continue to have its place and relevance in the fight to promote a kinder and more understanding world for all us.

From a very personal standpoint, dedicating myself to this endeavor for the past four years has been an amazing and life changing experience. But as you can imagine, it’s been quite exhausting. Sometimes physically, but mostly, emotionally. I can honestly say I’ve given all of myself to this work for the past four years, and there are times where I’d like to move on to a more well-rounded life.

But if you tell me you continue to see a value in this project and the work we’re doing, I’ll continue to do it. But I need to hear it. I need to explicitly ask you to tell me if this project has value in your life. Being the creative and sensitive person that I am–always full of self doubt–I’m at a point in my life where I need some affirmation that this work I’ve given my entire heart to has purpose. So that I can continue to feel that I have purpose.

So if this is the case, please let me know. I’m asking you, as a friend. kevin@kevintruong.com

12 comments

  1. zavija

    Hi Kevin, Yes continue… but, I think those who provided their own images also need credit or a note added that the subject has provided own images, as against you Kevin travelling to every place on the planet and photographing them personally. I have a long and tricate tale to put up, but am wary because of the image thing, irrespective of copyright and stuff. Keep up the good work, from a New Zealand Queer in Otago. Xavier xxx

  2. Mark McMahon

    Kevin I look forward to your posts like I used to look forward to receiving the National Geographic as a kid. Where will he be this time? What is the story to the individual or couple will have to tell. I can just imagine how exhaustive it is. You should take a break and then come back to it when your book is published.

  3. José Fernando

    My dear friend, I am following you since I read about your project in a magazine in Brazil, maybe two years ago. I can imagine how hard it is to work this way with something new , making a trial where there is no way, , travelling and meeting different people around the world. Let me tell you something – I do no know where it can takes us but it is really interesting ! I have learned a lot from different people, with different jobs, their views about being gay , their dreams and it is like a new world for me ! To know what these people think and their histories make me feel very gratefull of your dedication and good willing. Your blog makes me feel part of group that has facing prejudices and iniquities but is not hidden anymore. We exist !
    From the deep of my heart, I thank you. Hugs from Paraiba, Brazil .

    • Wagner

      Bro, encontrei aqui e amo até hoje. Troco emails e me desfaço. Adoro este site. Bom saber que há brasucas aqui também. Se cuida !

      • José Fernando

        Pòxa, que legal ! Fico também contente de aparecer alguém por aqui falando Português ! Abraço forte !

  4. jem

    I so agree with José. I look forward to seeing a new post from The Gay Men’s Project in my inbox. I am encouraged just to know that there are gay men all over the world, and so often the problems they have are not unlike my own, or there are those in countries that are free and that have the chance of a wonderful life which inspire me so much. This project has in many ways been a life-saver for me, no exaggeration. When I wanted to give up there was a story of someone who battled on and made it, so I can too. I want to thank you so deeply and profoundly for this project. It has touched me deeply. And I love and respect you so much for all the work and time you have put into it. Perhaps you can find a team to help you with the daily aspects of the project, which would relieve you of all the burden of it and give you space to live your own life. But please don’t shut it down and finish it. There are still so many stories to be told and so many people still to be encouraged and such a lot of work still to do to see equity for gay folk all over the world. Your project has contributed such a lot of valuable input to the LBGTI cause and it has been unique in presenting a personally told story and beautiful photographs to go with each story. It has been magnificent. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  5. albert8frausto

    Yes! This project has been of tremendous value in my life. As a person from “another generation (oldie)”, I have always believed that I was worthless and, therefore, abnormal before society simply because I knew I was gay. The Gay Men Project has literally changed me for the better. I now know that I am “normal”; I am worthy before society and, especially, within myself.
    Thank you for the project… I am now alive; I am normal; I am not the only one in the world; I am at peace….

    The project’s impact has been tremendous within the gay community but how about those beyond the community in colleges, in high schools, etc. Have you considered a documentary film with PBS, Netfix, etc.? A book?

    I agree with jem that “Perhaps you can find a team to help you with the daily aspect of the project…” I agree, you “have a life beyond this project” but think about it, this project has morphed beyond your initial dreams, goals.

    Basically, how can I help?

  6. mike plambeck

    I find your project interesting and very informative.I enjoy comparing my coming out experiences with that of your subjects.My partner of 40 years also enjoys reading about other relations experienced by other couples.I believe seeing how other people live a gay life in other countries,! brings us all closer together.I try to leave some advice or comment to each story.My advise to you…continue with your good work but if you are stressed,take a break !Take time to review your accomplishments and decide what is best for you.

  7. Derick

    Kevin, I cannot tell you if you should continue this journey or not, I think you need to follow your heart. Having said that, I have really enjoyed you’re blog. It gives being gay a more human face, beyond that spread by mainstream media which portrays gay culture in a rather damaging light. You’re blog has demonstrated it’s OK to be gay and not be an Adonis. You and the people who have shared their stories have given us a deeper insight of what it is to be gay men beyond what we see on the surface, and beyond those neat little boxes we try to confine ourselves, like bear, think, old Queen, etc. Regardless of your decision I want to thank you for all that you have done, and again thank those you have blogged about for sharing their very personal narratives.

  8. Manel

    I believe the comment of Derick is the one I would like to have written myself. I endorse all his words.
    What you created here has been a lighthouse for a lot of people in this world, since you brought so much hope to others who had none.
    I’m an old man now, with few surprises waiting, or situations to resolve, but what I achieved was done with a lot of work and no little distress; wish I could have this blog 40 years ago!
    I would prefer you to do what your heart tells you to, since I believe everyone is entitled to live in harmony with oneself; but whatever you chose, believe me, I thank you so very much for all you have done.

  9. David Chura

    A deep bow of gratitude for your efforts, your tenacity, and the beauty of your art. A blog like yours is a message shot out into the world: who knows where it lands? how does it touch people? or even, is anyone reading/viewing it? That has got to be hard, and might make you question your efforts. As so many have already expressed, I have valued the images that you have shared, getting to see other gay men, and seeing them through your artistic eye, and seeing the other things that catch your lens. The words that many of the men you have photographed have written are also inspirational. It is comforting to know, see, and hear that gay people are all over the world. The Gay Men Project is valuable for our community. But whether you continue it must come from your heart. The important thing is that you grow as an artist. Whatever you decide I’m sure our community will stand behind you, and cherish what you have given us.

  10. Luiz Claudio

    Dear Kevin, of course you must continue…But why don´t you add a new perspective in your comments, writing (or letting the people you interview write) about the huge steps gay people are taking into beeing recognized as civil entities by this prejudiced societymore and more, all around the world? One example? I first met my companion (that´s how we were called, long time ago!) 35 years ago, on March 08,1981, during the carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro. We did not spend that night together, but we met again the next day and have been together since then. On July 27, 2013, after same sex marrriage was approved by the Supreme Court in Brazil, we got married…Did we have problems during the 32 years we were not legally married? Not a single one, just because we never give permission to anyone to say one single word or interfere in our relationship. But we are aware of the problems faced by hundreds of gay couples around the world…I believe this is an interisting subjetc for your posts….think about it, will you? Best regards, Luiz

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