Category: City: Baltimore, Maryland

Jose, Comic Book Colorist and Chair of MICA’s Illustration Department, Baltimore

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

Jose, in his own words: “Being gay means having an opportunity to look at life from a different angle, sideways if you’d like. Being part of a minority always gives you a view with a unique perspective, and makes you examine many things that others take for granted. It also makes it easier to empathize with other minorities and unpowered people.

Being a gay man of my generation also means to me that I am part of the last to care about what has been called the “Gay Canon”: The places in art and culture where our kind has survived and have reflected their joys and longings through the ages, from Sappho to Michelangelo to Oscar Wilde to Tennessee Williams… With acceptance and tolerance LGTB people are quickly being assimilated into mainstream culture and this “secret knowledge” is getting lost..

I grew up in the turmoil of a changing Spain during the transition from dictatorship to democracy. All my adult life has been in Baltimore. Having only lived in big cities, I have not had as many problems as those living in rural areas. The biggest hurdles for me have been legal: growing up in Spain homosexuality was illegal, and when I arrived in this country it also was illegal (you could not even get a student visa if you were an out gay person). So for many years I was in constant jeopardy of being evicted, fired, arrested or deported.

The gay scene in Baltimore is small but very, very friendly and unpretentious. There are a handful of bars and clubs and everyone is always welcome. We also have a very active LGBT community center with lots of events and groups…

I came out to my friends at 16. In a way, we all came out, since we decided that “everyone was bisexual”… I was out since then to everyone but my mother. I came out to her 20 years later, at 37, after wanting to do it for many years. At first she did not take it well, but now she is part of a support group of parents of LGTB people in Madrid, and, after ten years, has become a leader and example for parents that attend the group.”

Joseph, Actor and Director, Baltimore

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Joseph, in his own words: “”For me being gay, especially in these times, needs to be political. We are in the midst of a civil rights movement based on our sexuality. My politics is art, and my art is theatre. As a gay artist I have a responsibility to give voice to my community and tell our stories. Co-founding one of the countries few queer-centered theatre companies, Iron Crow Theatre, was very important to me and a significant step both politically and in my longing for storytelling through theatre. Through working in the theatre I can explore the human experience, and it has become my passion and a responsibility. And that human experience very much includes mine as a gay man.

I also have the honor to also be an arts educator. I teach at one of the two high schools for performing arts in the Baltimore area (One could consider it the FAME of Baltimore, I feel like I am part “Mr. Farrell, part “Ms. Lydia”…watch out Debbie Allen). I am amazed and very moved by the number of out LGBT kids in my school. And I am often overwhelmed with their sense of identity, courage and joy in/for who they are. There lives today is very far from the scared teenager at an all boys Catholic high school that was my expereince in the late 80’s.

I am very lucky to have a wonderfully supportive and open family who have always accepted me for who I am, including my sexuality. I came out at 20 years old and felt like I never looked back. I spent a number of years as a professional drag artist while I lived in NYC. How many people can say that their parents came to see them perform in drag, often with their friends in tow! Now those are really great parents! Early on in my coming out process, my parents seemed to be able to leave the questions of “why” and “how” about my sexuality behind in order to celebrate my individuality. I am very grateful for that and for them.”