Category: City: Brasilia, Brazil

Marc Antoine, Professor, Brasilia, Brazil

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
Marc Antoine, in his own words: “It is perhaps inscrutable to gauge the exact impact that being gay had on my life. If one takes into consideration the complexities inherent in coming to terms with one’s sexuality I believe there can be no doubt that “gayhood” or “gayness” means a lot in the sense that it may affect one’s perception of the world , for it , more often than not, instills a certain perspective on life, which is marked by a certain poetic melancholy, as I would have it, in addition to a capacity of analyzing the Other, for I was forced to think before acting for fear of showing more than I could and therefore would be trapped by other people’s cruelty.

My life is made up , as most people’s, of challenges. They just change but never cease to exist. My nature is very determined therefore I’ve always attempted to embrace these many challenges as stimuli rather than impediments. I feel challenged and this is motivational. Professional challenges are substantially informed by personal conflicts and now , at 45, my main challenges involve strengthening my curriculum by pursuing doctorate studies in Theory and History of Art. I see this PhD as a contribution to my old age. I tend to be too hard on myself but it would perhaps be unfair to ignore the many successes I’ve had in life, the biggest of which being my having overcome difficulties pertaining to these moments in which I reinvented myself. After teaching English for more than a decade , I decided to do an MA in Literary Theory , which provided me with the possibility of starting an intellectual move , teaching at tertiary levels. I am currently the head of a Fashion Design course , which was accredited with the highest possible credentials by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, I have also curated art exhibitions which proved immensely rewarding on a personal level. I feel better looking now than I did when I was younger but it is particularly cruel to age as a gay man in Brazil and there resides my new challenge which is inevitably coupled with my intellectual journey…

The gay community in Brasília is big, for there are many civil servants here…diplomats coming from all over the world as well as gay men who come here to earn more and live comfortably and more freely, but we live in an artificial city, which was planned and this ends up affecting people’s relationships. I find the gay community here to be far too stereotypical and homogeneous in addition to being artificially “cold” and segregational as regards class and standards of beauty.

(With regards to my coming out story) Difficult yet resolute, I do not partake of the view of living one’s life as a lie. It took me a long time to actually feel that I could live my homosexuality. I was 23 years old when I first had sex with a man and it took me another two years before I could tell my whole family in a somehow tempestuous manner, for I decided to leave home to live with my boyfriend, whom I passionately loved. I was bullied throughout my childhood and especially in my adolescence but it all contributed to making me stronger albeit a bit melancholic. I do believe that my connexion with the Arts stems from the pain of feeling threatened and belittled by the world. Therefore, my coming out is part of my victory over this past of humiliation but equally the past which shaped who I am and I mostly like it.

I think one’s life is what one can do out of it. All in all, I take pride in having done my very best to avoid becoming bitter over the problematic facets of my past. I try to take responsibility for my life. I avoid blaming whoever it is for what may have gone wrong.”

Vitor, Law Student, Brasilia, Brazil

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
Vitor, in his own words: “Ser gay me fez ser uma pessoa melhor, me ajudou a olhar para o outro com mais carinho e tolerância. Levei um tempo para aceitar a minha orientação sexual, mas hoje me sinto bem, pleno e realizado. A parte difícil é lidar com a sociedade e o preconceito. O Brasil é um país bem machista e ainda precisamos convencer uma galera de que não somos diferentes de ninguém e que merecemos o mesmo respeito e direitos das outras pessoas.

Certamente o maior desafio que a vida me deu foi o de alcançar a minha independência financeira. Nem sempre pode-se contar com o apoio das outras pessoas quando se é gay e nesse sentido ser independente foi fundamental para mim.

Já não morava com meus pais quando me assumi, mas a reação foi surpreendente. Tive muito medo, mas sentia que precisava contar. Minha mãe me disse que eu não era o primeiro e não seria o ultimo e que o amor que ela sentia por mim não mudaria jamais. Isso foi muito importante para mim. Hoje não falamos sobre esse assunto, mas não preciso mais mentir ou inventar histórias e isso é muito bom.

Acho a comunidade gay bem dispersa em Brasília. Aqui todos se conhecem pelo menos de vista, mas ainda mantemos uma certa distância uns dos outros. O engajamento é pequeno e não há um movimento LGBT consolidado. Apenas uma vez por ano é que pode-se ver muitos gays reunidos, na parada gay.

Se eu pudesse mandar um recado para mim há 10 anos seria: ouça o seu coração e faça aquilo que é certo para você. Perdi muito tempo tentando me adaptar ao que os outros diziam que era certo e sofri bastante.”

In English:

“Being gay has made me a better person, helped me to look at others with more kindness and tolerance. It took me a while to accept my sexual orientation, but today I feel good, full and fulfilled. The hard part is dealing with society and prejudice. Brazil is a very macho country and we still need to convince a galley that we are no different from anyone else and that we deserve the same respect and rights of others.

Certainly the biggest challenge that life gave me was to achieve my financial independence. One can not always count on the support of others when one is gay and in that sense being independent was key for me.

(With regards to coming out) I no longer lived with my parents when I told them, but the reaction was surprising. I was too afraid, but felt the need to tell. My mother told me I was not the first and would not be the last and that the loved me and her feelings for me would not change ever. This was very important to me. Today we do not talk about this, but I don’t need to lie or make up stories and that’s very good.

I think the gay community well dispersed in Brasilia. Here everyone knows at least each other by sight, but still maintain a certain distance from one another. The engagement is small and there is a consolidated LGBT movement. Only once a year can you can see many assembled gays in a gay parade.

If I could send a message to myself 10 years ago it would be: listen to your heart and do what is right for you. I lost a lot of time trying to fit in to what others said it was right and suffered enough.”

Anderson, Social Worker, Brasilia, Brazil

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
Anderson, in his own words: “Ser gay significa ser gente. Ser gay não pode ser maior que nada na vida de uma pessoa. Assim como sou gay, sou branco, sou gaúcho, sou brasileiro, sou estudante, sou trabalhador, sou assistente social, sou ateu. Algumas características podem se findar, outras, como ser gay, não. Mas não podemos colocar a categoria gay como algo acima de qualquer outra coisa. Hoje, eu tenho muito orgulho de ser gay, apesar de não discutir gênero e movimentos LGBT. Mas vou para as ruas quando preciso for para defender nossas causas, não pela militância gay, mas pelo entendimento e comprometimento que tenho com a luta das minorias, assim faria com qualquer outro movimento social, como os indígenas e os negros. Além disso, ser gay, significa ser especial, me sinto especial por ser gay, me sinto especial pode entender na pele o que é o preconceito, o sofrimento, e a dor por sermos aquilo que não tivemos opção de escolher. Não é uma sentimento de pena, ou mágoa, mas sim, uma razão que me faz olhar o outro diferente, com um olhar muito mais aguçado. Consigo não só compreender o gay, mas a todos que passam pela inúmeras formas de preconceito, e isso implica até ao preconceito que ocorre dentro do próprio mundo LGBT. Não tenho então qualquer sentimento ou pensando do que eu seria se não fosse gay, sou gay, e sou feliz e adoraria ser gay se felizmente outra vida existisse…quem sabe em um mundo de mais liberdade.

O primeiro desafio era sair de de casa. Como sair de casa, menor de idade e sem dinheiro? Não tive muitas opções, a alternativa foi estudar e ir morar fora devido ao ingresso no ensino superior. Acho que esse é a primeira vitória. Não escolhi o conforto e o comodismo de casa, escolhi ser independente, pagando o preço que for. Entrei no curso de Serviço Social, e isso é algo que transformou minha vida. Iniciei um processo teórico de discussão sobre política, sociedade, Estado, e que consequentemente irá perpassar por família, conservadorismo, gênero, movimentos sociais e minorias. Durante a graduação em Serviço Social ocorrem dois fatos muito importantes e que mudam minha vida. Primeiro é me aceitar e contar para minha família sobre ser gay, e segundo é começar um namoro que durou seis anos, e confesso, foram bons seis anos, apesar do término. No Serviço Social tive a nítida certeza que pertencia ao grupo de estudantes certo, e sabia que somente através do trabalho eu iria ter a liberdade tal almejada. No ano seguinte após o término do curso de graduação fui aprovado em um concurso público federal, fui trabalhar interior do centro-oeste brasileiro com comunidades de agricultura familiar e indígenas. Ser gay assumido em uma pequena cidade não é fácil, mas confesso, com o namorado assumindo isso, ficou muito mais fácil, tanto para mim quanto para ele, e ressalto, nunca passamos por problema algum quanto a isso. Em 2013 já solteiro sou transferido para Brasília, coloco isso como uma grande conquista no campo profissional, de fato, ser gay não teve implicações, como disse, é só uma característica, assim como minha cor. Nesse mesmo ano me torno coordenador de um curso de graduação em Serviço Social em uma instituição de ensino superior de Brasília, de origem neopentecostal, ou seja, ou fato de eu ser assumidamente gay, não é um problema para assumir cargo e executar meu trabalho, porém, concordo que é um grande avanço na instituição onde atuo. Em 2014 entro no Programa de Pós Graduação em Política Social da Universidade de Brasília no Distrito Federal, e esse é outro ponto que marca uma conquista importante, o ingresso em uma universidade pública e em um programa de estudos reconhecidos internacionalmente. Mais uma vez, minha discussão não entra no campo do gênero, prefiro discutir os movimentos sociais na era da internet, mas tendo ter o mínimo de acompanhamento do que anda ocorrendo nessas temáticas. Em 2014 ainda assumo a gestão do Conselho Regional de Serviço Social do Distrito Federal. E isso marca um posicionamento e a participação em um grupo crítico que trabalha na defesa dos direitos humanos, o que inclui as questões LGBT. Entendo que apesar dos meus 28 anos, já consegui muita coisa, mas o caminhada não para. Não quero o acúmulo, quero o suficiente para uma vida legal, com qualidade e com alegria quero somente ser feliz, e isso inclui a vida mental, sentimental, profissional e familiar. Continuo atrás da felicidade, e de novos desafios, sei que posso ser melhor sempre!

Eu tinha 18 anos de idade. Tinha saído de casa para estudar Serviço Social na Universidade de Passo Fundo no Rio Grande do Sul. Minha família foi me visitar, e minha irmã acabou mexendo no meu celular por curiosidade do aparelho mesmo. Enfim, viu algumas mensagens. Contei para a família que gostava de pessoas do mesmo sexo, e que não iria mudar, que não era uma questão de escolha, eu era assim e pronto. Aos 18 anos decidi que deveria ser feliz, independente da família ou de qualquer pessoa. O primeiro dia, foi horrível, mas também foi a certeza que não tinha mais que esconder nada, chorei muito, pensei que dali para frente, seria eu comigo mesmo, seria a vida longe de casa, sem ter para onde voltar. No dia seguinte, minha irmã e minha mãe me pediram desculpas, e disseram que tinha algo mais importante, que era o amor entre nós, isso foi crucial para eu entender o significava família. Dias depois recebi ligações de vários familiares para me dar apoio e dizer que nada mudava, e o que importava era eu estar bem e feliz. Foi a certeza que eu tive que poderia contar com todos. A sexualidade e a orientação sexual passaram a ser algo cotidiano dentro da minha família, sem discussões relevantes. Depois e mim, vieram outros, e hoje somos m três gays, três primos homens, e confesso que isso ajuda muito. Somos mais que primos, somos amigos todos podemos contar com uma família que nos apóia e que torce por nós. Hoje, se deixar, qualquer tia minha, me arruma um namorado, tenho que cuidar kkkkk.

Brasília é diferente em todos os sentidos, tanto para os gays quanto para os não gays. Brasília é uma cidade moderna, com boa infra-estrutura, e que atende o público gay de todas as tribos. Nunca presenciei nem um ato homofóbico em Brasília, mas é claro que isso também existe, afinal o conservadorismo esta no mundo todo. Mas Brasília vale a pena. Minha escolha por viver em Brasília deve-se muito ao fato da receptividade ao público gay, a aceitação e as possibilidades que temos aqui de andar mais livremente e expressarmos de fato o que somos. Acredito na liberdade, na livre expressão. Não sou um adepto de beijos e carícias ao ar livre, mas também não os nego e não os condeno, expressar algo de bom quando temos vontade é sempre a melhor coisa, por isso digo que é bom viver o amor, os passageiros ou os duradouros em Brasília,

Eu falaria, “guri, o mundo é maior do que você pensa, vá viver, conheça tudo e todos, aproveite e experimente tudo em todos os sentidos, viva a liberdade do ser”. Além disso, diria para o Anderson, guri do interior do Rio Grande do Sul, que ele pode e deve ser feliz. Que ele é gente, que ele pode sorrir, que não deve ser culpar por nada e nem achar desculpas, que que deve aproveitar a vida, diria para ele acreditar mais em si mesmo, ter mais autoconfiança, menos medos, viver sua adolescência como todos adolescentes.”

In English:

“Being gay means to be us. Being gay can not be greater than anything in the life of a person. As I’m gay, I’m white, I’m Gaucho, I am Brazilian, I am a student, I am working, I am a social worker, I am an atheist. Some features may be ended, others, such as being gay, not. But we can not put the gay category as something above anything else. Today, I am very proud to be gay, though not to discuss gender and LGBT movements. But to go to the streets when needed to defend our causes, not by gay militancy, but by understanding and commitment I have with the struggle of minorities, as with any other social movement, such as indigenous and black movements. Also, being gay means being special, I feel special for being gay, I feel special and that I can understand firsthand what it is to experience prejudice, suffering, and pain because of who we are. There is a feeling of pity, or hurt, but it is one reason that makes me look different than others, with a much sharper look. I can not not understand what it is to be gay but to also pass by numerous forms of prejudice, and that means the bias that occurs within the LGBT community. I cannot imagine how it would be if I was not gay, I’m gay, and I’m happy and would love to be gay, it is fortunately another life there … maybe in a world of more freedom.

The first challenge was leaving home. Like leaving home, being a minor and having no money. I did not have many options, the alternative was to study and go live out to enter higher education. I think this is the first victory. I did not choose the comfort and the home of indulgence, I chose to be independent, paying the price for that. I entered the course of Social Services, and this is something that changed my life. I started a process of theoretical discussion about politics, society, state, that consequently will pervade each family, conservatism, gender, social movements and minorities. During my graduation in Social Work occurred two very important facts changing my life. First was me telling my family about being gay, and second was to get a courtship that lasted six years, and I confess, they were a good six years, despite the end. Social Work had a distinction that belonged to a group of certain students, and I knew that only through this work I would be free as desired. The following year, after the undergraduate program was approved in a federal public contest, I went to work inside central-western Brazil with family and indigenous farming communities. Being openly gay in a small town is not easy, but I confess, with my boyfriend assuming this, it became much easier, both for me and for him, to shoulder upon, and we never went through any problem with that. In 2013 already I was single and transferred to Brasilia, I put it as a great achievement in my professional field, in fact, being gay had no implications, as I said, it’s just a characteristic, as well as my color. That same year I become coordinator of an undergraduate degree in Social Work at a higher education institution in Brasilia, of Pentecostal origin, that is, that I am openly gay, is not a problem to take charge and do my work, however, I agree that is a major advance in the institution where I work. In 2014 I entered the Graduate Program in Social Policy at the University of Brasilia in the Federal District, and this is another point which marks an important achievement, enrollment at a public university and a program of internationally recognized studies. Again, my discussion does not go on gender issues, I’d rather discuss the social movements of the Internet age, but having to have the minimum follow-up of walking occurring in these themes. In 2014 I am still assuming the management of the Regional Council of Social Service of the Federal District. And that brand positioning and participation in a critical group working to defend human rights, including LGBT issues. I understand that despite my 28 years, I have gone through a lot, but not to walk. I do not want to accumulate, want enough for a legal life, with quality and with joy I only want to be happy, and that includes mental, emotional, professional and family life. I continue after happiness, and new challenges, I know I can always be better!

(With regards to coming out) I was 18 years old. I had left home to study Social Work at the University of Passo Fundo in Rio Grande do Sul. My family came to visit me, and my sister working on my mobile device, saw some messages. I told the family that I liked persons of the same sex, and that would not change, it was not a matter of choice, and I was ready. At 18 I decided I should be happy, regardless of family or anyone. The first day was horrible, but I no longer had to hide anything, I cried a lot, I thought that from then on, I would be myself, life would be away from home, without being able to return. The next day, my sister and my mother asked me excuses, and said they had something more important, it was the love between us, it was crucial for me to understand the meaning of family. Days later I received calls from several family to support me and say that nothing changed, and what mattered was I be well and happy. I was sure that I had all I could count on. Sexuality and sexual orientation became an everyday thing in my family, without relevant discussions. After me came others, and today we are three gays, three cousins, men, and I confess that it helps a lot. We are more than cousins, we’re friends and can all have a family that supports us and roots for us. Today, if you leave any of my aunts, get me a boyfriend, I have to take care kkkkk.

Brasilia is different in every way, both gays and for those not gay. Brasilia is a modern city with good infrastructure, and serving the gay community of all the tribes. I never witnessed a homophobic act in Brasilia, but of course it also exists, after all there is conservatism worldwide. But Brasilia is worth it. My choice to live in Brasilia owes much to the fact that receptivity to the gay public acceptance and the possibilities we have here to walk more freely and express the fact that we are gay. I believe in freedom, free expression. I’m not a fan of kisses and caresses outdoors, but do not deny them and condemn them, I express something good when I feel it is always the best thing, so I say it is good to live love, passengers or lasting in Brasilia.
 
(If I could give advice to my younger self) I would say, “kid, the world is bigger than you think, go live, know everything and everyone, enjoy and experience everything in every way, live the freedom of being.” In addition, I would say to Anderson, kid in the interior of Rio Grande do Sul, you can and should be happy. You are a person, you can smile, not to be blamed for anything or find excuses, that you should enjoy life, tell yourself to believe more in yourself, have more confidence, less fears, live your adolescence as all teens.”