Category: City: Lima, Peru

Giancarlo, Historian, Lima, Peru

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
Giancarlo, in his own words: “Ser gay para mí es buscar lo que realmente me hace feliz. En Lima creo es un desafío constante, sabes que te vas a enfrentar con grandes retos, pero hasta hoy creo que es la mejor decisión que he tomado. Tienes que entender que amar a una persona no depende de su género, ni es una elección. Lo único que puedes elegir actualmente, es la forma como lo vives, en mi caso, decidí no esconderme porque siempre he buscado ser honesto conmigo mismo.

No puedo negar que el camino es difícil, tuve la suerte de encontrar personas que me quieren por como soy, pero reconozco que algunas personas antes de conocerme juzgaron mi forma de vivir mi homosexualidad. A pesar de eso debo valorar a las que se quedaron y me conocieron, que vieron más allá de la diferencia, reconociendo que era un amigos más. Por esto, creo que una de las labores que hacemos los chicos abiertamente homosexuales hoy, es que los demás entiendan que no somos extraños o enfermos, que no somos menos que ellos.

Sabemos que todo está cambiando, la gente habla de la homosexualidad, así sea en contra porque esto hace que la gente no tenga miedo a decir existen personas gay. También es notable que el activismo en Lima ha crecido, se nota que hay un esfuerzo por visualizar nuestros problemas y buscar soluciones. Aunque aún no tenemos todos nuestros derechos podemos decir que se discute los derechos gay, cosa que diez años atrás se veía como un imposible.

Salir del closet es un acto de madurez y de valentía, sobre todo con tus familiares por las expectativas que tienen de ti. Cuando tome conciencia de mi homosexualidad, rápidamente supe que para lo único que quería mi closet era para mi ropa. Poco a poco fui abriéndome con mis amigos; la experiencia fue liberadora, a pesar de las dudas y el miedo. Contarle a mi mamá fue una experiencia muy fuerte, en un primer momento no lo tomó tan bien, pero después entendió que soy feliz así y a pesar de no entenderlo, me respeta.
Viendo en retrospectiva sigo pensando que ha sido una de las mejores decisiones que he tomado. Sé que hay muchas personas que tienen temor, pero lo que puedo decir, a pesar de todas las dificultades que supone, lo vale. Sé que puede sonar muy cliché decir que todo mejora, es mas podría decir que a veces parece todo lo contrario. Lo que puedo decir es que mejora cuando entiendes que el error esta en las demás personas por juzgarte y que si no pueden vivir con ello, pues es su problema no el tuyo.”

In English:

“Being gay for me means finding what really makes me happy. In Lima I think it is a constant challenge, you know you’re going to face major challenges, but so far I think it is the best decision I ever made. You have to understand that loving a person does not depend on gender, nor is it a choice. All you can choose now, is the way to live, in my case, I decided not to hide because I always wanted to be honest with myself.

I can not deny that the road is hard, I was lucky to find people who want me as I am, but I recognize that some people judged me before meeting because of my way of living and homosexuality. Despite that I value those who stayed and who saw beyond the difference, recognizing that I was a friend. Therefore, I believe that one of the tasks we do today is to live openly as gay guys to show to others that we are not strangers or ill, that we are no less than them.

We know that everything is changing, people speak of homosexuality, and it makes it so people are not afraid to say there are gay people. It is also notable that activism has grown in Lima, and that there is an effort to display our problems and seek solutions. Although we still do not have all our rights we can say that we have gay rights that ten years ago were seen as impossible.

Coming out is an act of maturity and courage, especially with your family by the expectations that they have of you. When they were aware of my homosexuality, I quickly learned that all I wanted in my closet was my clothes. Little by little I was coming out with my friends; the experience was liberating, despite the doubts and fear. Telling my mom was a very powerful experience, at first she did not take it so well, but then realized that I am happy and despite not understanding, respects me.

Looking back I still think it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I know there are many people who are afraid, but I can say, despite all the difficulties, it is worth it. I know that may sound very cliché to say that every improvement is more I could say that sometimes seems quite the opposite. What I can say is that it improves when you understand that the error is in other people judgements and if they can not live with it, it is their problem not yours.”

Gabriel, Explorer, Lima, Peru

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
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
Gabriel, in his own words: To be gay/lesbian/bi/transgender in Lima is a challenge. A challenge with your family, with your friends, and with yourself. Here it is very dificult to be free.

My first challenge in my life was tell my mom that I’m gay. The successes was her approval.

(With regards to coming out) The last year I put in scene the play “P.A.T.R.I.A”, in that play we talked about, what does it mean to be a Peruvian? And I talked about to be a gay man in Peru. A few years ago I was talking to friends and mom about my sexual orientation, but never felt free to talk about it in this way with everybody.

The gay comunnity in Lima is like Peru: Diverse and fragmented

My advice (to my younger self): Feel free to be yourself and don’t be afraid.”

Carlos Bruce, Congressman, Lima, Peru

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
Carlos Bruce, in his own words: What’s the condition like for LGBT individuals in Peru?

Bruce: It’s difficult, but changing. It used to be more difficult in the past, but still Lima and Peru is a very conservative country and a conservative society, but things are starting to change. The effort to put the issue of LGBT rights on the national agenda has stepped forward. I’m the first openly gay politician, which is also showing that things are starting to change. Maybe it’s late, but it’s starting anyway.

How did you get to that decision to come out and has it been difficult?

Bruce: I presented this bill for civil unions for LGBT people and there were a lot of stupid arguments being said and I thought it was useful to see that one can be a minister, one can be a Congressman, and your sexual orientation has nothing to do with it, so I think it was a good moment, and it was a good cause to do it and so I did it, and I’m still alive (laughs).

What was the response when you came out?

Bruce: In the internet there were all types of insults, but I have to say that in the streets, in person, I haven’t received one expression against me because I’ve said publicly my sexual orientation. Not even one. It’s very strange because we Congressman are not very popular here in Peru, you’re used to receiving some types of not so good comments, but since I made public my sexual orientation (there has been) not even one expression against me and I think that’s a way of people saying ‘Ok, I respect what you have done.’”

And what is your hope for LGBT individuals in the future?

Bruce: What everybody wants as human beings, just to be treated equally, and I hope that Peru is going to be in that position soon. I think we have to put the issue on the national agenda, I don’t know if my bill is going to be approved or not with this Congress, but I’m sure in the next presidential campaign the issue is going to be on the table and all the presidential candidates will have to have a position on this issue and I’m sure that the next Congress will probably be a Congress that will be more sympathetic to pass some legislation to assure rights for the LGBT couples.

If you could give advice to a young kid around the world who is gay, what would you say?

Bruce: Don’t lose hope. It’s very difficult, we all have to pass through this process when you discover you are different from your mates, and you try to fix it so that you can be the same as them and you discover that it cannot be fixed. What I’m trying to tell these young people is that there’s nothing to be fixed. We all tried to fix it but there’s nothing to be fixed because there’s nothing wrong. There’s a future for you, you can be a Minister, you can be a Congressman, and who knows, you can be a President.