The Next Stage of The Gay Men Project

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Hey everyone!

First off, as always, I want to thank all of you for continuing to check in on The Gay Men Project. Since the launch of the blog in May of 2012, I’ve been able to travel to 89 cities, 37 countries, six continents, and photograph and document the lives of over seven hundred gay and queer men. We’ve been featured by news outlets across the world, including NBC News in the United States, OGlobo in Brazil, and Le Monde in France. That feature in Le Monde is still one of the things I’m most proud of in my life. I’m a huge Francophile, and when one of the most prestigious newspapers in France puts you in their Culture and Ideas section, you know you’re doing something right! I still don’t know who wrote the article and put me in, so if it’s you and you happen to be reading, MERCI BEAUCOUP! Send me an e-mail, I’d love to let you know how much it meant. Anyhow, I hope this body of work has been as valuable to you as it has to me. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it if not for your support, so THANK YOU!

If you’ve been following recently, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been posting content less frequently than before. And if you’re a die hard fan, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been posting photos and stories I’ve already published. To be honest, over the past year, I’ve only photographed two new subjects for The Gay Men Project. After spending the year before traveling one way around the world, and photographing hundreds of individuals across thirty-two countries, I just got a little burnt out. I’ve also recently started working a bit writing stories for NBC News, which takes a bit of time.

But maybe more importantly, I began to doubt in the relevancy of the work (for a lot of reasons that I won’t go into). But after the tragedy in Orlando, I can say wholeheartedly that I believe the project is still as relevant as ever, and their is a continued need to get these stories out there. Especially when you read stories like this in the New York Times.

That said, we need to take The Gay Men Project in a different direction, as I’m not able to give it one hundred percent of my time as I did before. So here is my suggestion.

The Gay Men Project has really turned out exactly how I had envisioned when I started it, with the exception of one thing. I had hoped for more community engagement on the website, discussions and affirmations of support for each other in the comments of each post. I had also hoped that more people who are visiting the website would submit their own stories, so that we had more stories from around the world from people I wasn’t able to personally photograph.

The audience is there, I know people are visiting, and what we’ve built with this website is a network of gay and queer men (and allies) literally from almost every country in the world, and what I want to do is activate it. So my idea is to turn The Gay Men Project into a bit of a forum. Think, a combination of an advice column and Reddit. Basically, if any of you have a question or need advice on something (anything really, but keeping within the theme of the work, questions or issues regarding your identity as a gay or queer man would be most relevant) send it to me and I’ll post it to the website.

And then hopefully, we can start a discussion and visitors can comment and offer their advice or insight in the comments section of each post. Pretty simple. For my part, I’ll continue to post pictures and when I get the inspiration, do new shoots, but mostly what I’m hoping is that we can turn the Gay Men Project into what it really has already been. A community where we can all support and help each other.

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to turn this into some new gay social network. Not only do I not have the website building expertise to do that, but I don’t have the time or desire. Really, I want to keep it simple. If you have a question, concern, issue, whatever, e-mail it to me at:

info@kevintruong.com

And then I’ll post it. And then I hope, and I really encourage all of you to do this, that others will offer whatever guidance they can to each submission in the comments section of each post. We’ll see how it goes, but I think if it catches on, not only will all of us have built an archive of stories and photographs of gay and queer men from all over the world, we will have built an archive of ideas.

Not only will it be relevant now, but I think definitely for future generations who want to learn about gay and queer men during a very specific time in our shared history. I think it is important that we document our own history, so that it can be told in our own words.

So send over your questions, issues, ideas, and please add your insight on the ones that are posted.

xoxo

Kevin

3 comments

  1. Louis Petit

    Ok then – I’ll “submit my own story”, for what it’s worth. After a rather uneventful gay man’s life in France (loving quite a few, not being loved by so many, loosing friends to AIDS over the eighties…) I finally found what seems to be real love in my late 60s. I met this Chinese guy, twenty years my junior, in a south-east Asian country, 11 years ago and it was really love at first sight. It took us two days to decide whether we should allow ourselves to take the jump and fall in love.

    We did take the jump and I can honestly say I had never had such feelings for a person. Same with him. Total trust. Total mutual fascination and desire. We do have our differences, but we “agree to disagree” on certain issues, eg he’s a converted christian and I can’t be bothered with any kind of religion whatsoever. My dearest wish is for us to get married so that he can inherit what little I have, but he staunchly refuses (being a christian).

    We see each other only 6 months a year, when I go to his place in the tropics over the autumn and winter (I live in France). So we spend the other 6 months away from each other – maybe that’s why our relationship has been so steadfast over so may years.

    I don’t think I could have found such a person here in Europe. Vive la différence !

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