Category: City: Brasilia, Brazil

Octávio, Painter, 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
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Octávio, in his own words: “Being gay means allowing myself to be who I am; it means not to worry about following some patterns or standards that are ruled and dictated by a homophobic society. Homosexuality is just one of so many characteristics that I have, just a part of me. Honestly, I’m more disturbed by my tendency to get a bit sweaty than being gay, talk about sweating the small stuff!

When I was thirteen, I discovered that I might be gay. At first I became really worried about that and tried to deny the possibility. At that time, I was living abroad and had no friends. So I decided to keep myself quiet and save this secret with me. When I came back to Brazil, I was enrolled in a military high school. By then I already knew that I was gay, but to blend – to be accepted and to preserve my “identity” – I started following and adopting straight customs. In this struggling environment, I joined my school’s glee club. It represented for me a place where I could strip off that behavior designed to fit in, and started being myself. There I met a girl who became my best friend. For the first time, with her, I opened myself and shared my secret about my sexuality. Her reception was the best I could expect, and I started feeling lighter from that day on. A few months later, I decided to talk about things with my parents. I was expecting a violent reception, perhaps even being kicked out of my home. To my surprise, I was accepted and embraced. At the beginning, they sent me to a neurologist, because they believed that I was mentally ill and that homosexuality was a disease. For one year, I had psychological counseling. Over time we discovered together that I’ve always been gay and that homosexuality is not a disease and nothing has changed in my behavior since I came out. Actually, I’ve became happier and more buoyant. Nowadays, my parents treat me with the same respect that they treat my two sisters that are straight. In our family we can speak openly about any subject now.

I was a very sensitive and creative kid, but during my oppressive and repressive adolescence, I left my creative side behind. After I came out, I started not to care anymore about the opinions of others about my choices. Like, I didn’t care if they thought choosing an artistic career could look like a ‘gay’ thing. So I started to chase my dreams. For two years, I studied Architecture and Urbanism at university, but I found my true calling and personal fulfillment in the visual and fine arts. I’ve discovered myself as a painter, and studied Art History during an exchange year at the University of Florence in Italy. I continually expose my art all over the world (and online using my website, www.octaviorold.com). In the beginning, I was afraid that my sexuality could impact on my audience; perhaps people would decide not to go to my exhibitions just because I’m gay. But I have found that art touches people, and our deepest essence as human beings doesn’t have prejudice.

Despite being comfortable with my sexuality, I’m generally not into dance clubs. I know that there is a really good gay environment in Brasilia and it has a lot of good options for those that want to have some fun. I think that Brasilia is a gay-friendly city, and I’ve never suffered explicit homophobic aggression in the form of verbal or physical abuse.

If I could give Tavinho (‘Little Tavio’) advice, I would tell him to try to be more confident and not to worry so much about following standards. I would tell him to live fully and let the universe be in charge of the rest.”

Luiz, Psychologist, 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
Luiz, in his own words: “Ser gay é um dos aspectos da minha vida, não o principal, tampouco o menos importante. Faz parte do que sou, mas não me define, pois a minha vida é muito mais ampla que isso. Mas em um país como o Brasil, com tantos casos de homofobia e violência a ela relacionada, também significa ter restrições para demonstrar carinho em público e nem sempre poder apresentar o companheiro para parte da família ou colegas do trabalho. É um “não dito”, por vezes, uma lacuna social que permanece em certos ambientes e locais.

Creio que me aceitar foi um dos primeiros grandes desafios, já que cresci em um ambiente familiar preconceituoso. Contar para minha mãe, quando eu tinha 21 anos, também foi difícil. Ela demorou a aceitar a situação, perguntou se “ser gay” era “ser passivo”, expressou sua preocupação com relação a doenças e promiscuidade e o medo de eu permanecer sozinho. Para meu pai nunca contei, mas tenho certeza que ele sabia. Ele faleceu em 2007 sem que tenhamos conversado sobre o assunto.
A partir do momento que me senti mais seguro como pessoa, pude definir outros rumos para minha vida, escolher coisas que eu realmente queria fazer, namorar, viajar mais, fazer outro curso de graduação (psicologia), perceber que eu podia ser diferente e fazer diferente do que foi planejado pelos meus pais, ou seja, crescer e amadurecer mais.

(With regards to coming out) Para minha mãe, aos 21 anos, quando estava sofrendo por uma paixão não correspondida. Depois, meu círculo de amigos foi mudando, fiz amigos gays (boa parte conheci pela internet), e também me senti mais a vontade em misturar os grupos nos meus aniversários (colegas de colégio, conhecidos de igreja, família e amigos gays) ou apresentar namorados. Mesmo sem eu dizer expressamente, as pessoas foram percebendo. Com a família não foi muito diferente, pois minha mãe contou para uma tia, que contou para outros parentes e creio que todos saibam atualmente, apesar de não ter sido uma iniciativa minha. No trabalho, alguns colegas sabem, por eu ter contado e outros por que também perceberam. Não são todas as pessoas que fazem parte da minha vida que sabem, pelo menos, não abertamente.

(In Brasilia) A comunidade gay é muito variada. Há cafés, bares e boates Gays, mas não muitos, além de festas que são realizadas eventualmente. Também existem lugares que as pessoas se encontram para sexo imediato, como certos estacionamentos no parque da cidade, saunas, cinemas pornô. Além disso, aplicativos nos celulares ou sites na internet colocam pessoas com gostos e perfis parecidos em contato. Alguns só gostam de ir a lugares gays, outros não vão de forma alguma nesses lugares, mas se sentem à vontade em ir a locais “alternativos”, ou ainda existem aqueles que não se assumem para praticamente ninguém e somente frequentam casa de amigos ou ambientes considerados predominantemente heterossexuais.

(To my younger self) Diria para não dar tanta importância para o que as outras pessoas pensam, que eu consiguirei fazer um bom grupo de amigos e conhecerei pessoas fantásticas, gays e heterossexuais, que irão me perceber como uma pessoa completa, enxergar meu caráter e minhas ações, que gostarão de mim com minhas qualidades e defeitos e que ser gay não é um desses defeitos. Que eu me veja bonito por dentro e por fora, que poderei ser o que eu quiser ser e não preciso agradar a todo mundo.”

In English:

“Being gay is one aspect of my life, not the principal, nor the least important. It is part of who I am, but does not define me, because my life is much broader than that. But in a country like Brazil, with many cases of homophobia and violence related to it, it also means having restrictions to show affection in public and not always being able to present a companion to part of the family or work colleagues. It is “not said” sometimes in a social gap in certain environments and locations.

I believe that accepting myself was one of the first major challenges, since I grew up in a family environment very prejudiced. Telling my mother when I was 21, it was also difficult. She was slow to accept the situation, and asked if “being gay” was “being botton,” and expressed her concern about disease and the fear of promiscuity and that I would remain alone. To my father I never told, but I’m sure he knew. He died in 2007 without us having talked about it.

From the moment that I felt safer as a person, I could define other directions for my life, choose things I really wanted to do, date, travel more, make another undergraduate degree (psychology), realize that I could be different and do different things than from what was planned by my parents, that is, I could grow and mature more.

(With regards to coming out) To my mother, at 21, when I was suffering by unrequited passion. Then my circle of friends changed, I made gay friends (much met through the Internet), and I also felt more at ease in mixing the groups in my birthdays (schoolmates, known church, family and gay friends) or present boyfriends. Even without me spelling it out, people were noticing. With family it was not very different because my mother told an aunt who told other relatives and I believe that they all currently know, although it was not by my initiative. At work, some colleagues know, for I have told others and others have also realized. Not all people who are part of my life know, at least not openly.

The gay community (in Brasilia) is diverse. There are cafes, bars and Gay clubs, but not many, and parties that are held eventually. There are also places that people meet for immediate sex, as certain parking lots in the city park, saunas, porn cinemas. Additionally, apps on mobile or internet sites put people with similar tastes and profiles in touch. Some just like to go to gay places, others do not go at all to these places, but feel comfortable in going to “alternative” places, or there are still those who are not out to just anyone and only attend a friend’s house or social places considered predominantly heterosexual.

(To my younger self) I would say not to give much importance to what other people think, that I will have a good group of friends and meet fantastic people, gay and straight, who will see me as a whole person, see my character and my actions, they will like me with my qualities and defects and that being gay is not one of those defects. That I can see myself beautiful inside and out, I can be what I want to be and need not please everyone.”

Itallo, Business Admininstration, 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
Itallo, in his own words: “Ser gay para mim significa ser tolerante a diversidade, autêntico, lutador, independente, ter jogo cintura diante da ignorância da sociedade e acima de tudo ser um cidadão que merece respeito independentemente de sua orientação sexual.

O maior desafio que já tive foi morar sozinho em outro estado, pois sou do interior do Maranhão, município chamado de Pindaré-Mirim, que significa em tupi, língua indígena brasileira, peixe pequeno. Desta forma, sai da minha zona de conforto e vim morar sozinho em Brasília, capital do Brasil, sem parentes e amigos por perto, ou seja, foi bem difícil para mim no início, hábitos e costumes totalmente diferentes da minha terra natal.

Minha maior conquista foi em meio as dificuldades financeiras, consegui concluir minha graduação em Administração e atualmente trabalho na área.

Me assumi um pouco antes de me mudar para Brasília, aos 20 anos de idade, na verdade foi uma situação em que minha mãe me surpreendeu, no que diz respeito a reação. Dou ênfase a minha mãe, pois foi ela sozinha que me criou, sendo meu pai e minha mãe, uma mulher independente que sempre correu atrás daquilo que acreditava, uma mulher que admiro muito.

A comunidade gay em Brasília podemos dizer que possui certa liberdade, as ações da secretaria dos direitos humanos voltados para o meio LGBT é mais ativo, mesmo a sociedade apresentando ser preconceituosa quanto a pessoa gay e afins, possuímos certo privilégios/liberdade para nos expô e lutar pelos nossos direitos e respeitar entre nós mesmos os nossos deveres.

Independentemente de ser gay ou não, seja você mesmo acima de tudo e lute pelos seus sonhos, a vida em si não é fácil, e pior ela é muito curta, então, corra atrás, lute, para crescer na vida, ser independente, óbvio que nessa jornada terá que realizar alguns sacrifícios, mas todos nós alguma hora na vida sacrificamos algo para conseguir evoluir e crescer como pessoas e sermos satisfeitas com a vida que escolhemos, algo que acredito ser muito importante, então, acredite em você e se conheça, para poder assumir sua orientação com naturalidade e sabedoria, seja feliz!”

In English:

“Being gay for me means being tolerant to diversity, authentic, a fighter, independent, and above all to be a citizen who deserves respect regardless of their sexual orientation.
 
The biggest challenge I’ve ever had was living alone in another state, for I am from the interior of Maranhão, municipality called Pindaré-Mirim, which means in Tupi, Brazil’s indigenous language, small fish. Thus, out of my comfort zone I came to live alone in Brasilia, capital of Brazil, without family and friends around, i.e., it was hard for me at first, the habits and customs are totally different from my homeland.
 
My greatest achievement was in the midst of financial difficulties, being able to complete my degree in Business Administration and currently working in the area.
 
I (came out) a little before I moved to Brasilia, as a 20-year-old, and it was actually a situation where my mother surprised me, with regards to her reaction. I emphasize my mother because it was she alone who created me, was my father and my mother, an independent woman who always went after what she believed in, a woman I admire very much.

The gay community in Brasilia we can say has some freedom, the secretary of the actions of human rights facing the LGBT media is more active, even presenting society being prejudiced as a gay person and the like, we have certain privileges / freedom to expose us and fight for our rights and respect among ourselves and our duties.

(Advice I’d give my younger self) Whether you are gay or not, be yourself above all and fight for your dreams, life itself is not easy, and worse it is too short, so, chase, fight, to grow in life, be independent, this journey you will have to make some sacrifices, but all of us at some time in life sacrifice something to evolve and grow as people and be satisfied with the life we choose, something which I believe is very important, then, believe in yourself and know, in order to take his guidance and wisdom naturally, be happy!”