Category: City: Nashville, Tennessee

Kyle and Bradley, Nashville, Tennessee

photo by Kevin Truong
Bradley and Kyle, 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
Kyle and Bradley, photo by Kevin Truong
Kyle, in his own words: “Being gay to me means very little. The way my family raised me,just never made me feel different or like I was wrong for liking men instead of women. I was raised to never let the word “gay” define me and I hope out next generation is raised that way. Juts unconditional love for those with every ethnicity/ sexual orientation/ wealth. You have to look at someone based on the character of their heart. That’s what my grandmother always said to me.

Moving to Nashville from Tampa and starting a brand new life, with friends that have turned into family member over the past few years has been probably one of the biggest challenges and successes in life. Starting my chocolate company ( Facebook.com/oursundaedates ) in honor of my grandmother and the chocolate she made every Sunday dinner date we shared in Clearwater Fl who passed away last summer and all the success we had from it is what I’m most proud of in my life. The last thing she ever said to me before she passed was “My Kyle you will be FINE, out of all my grandchildren (22) and great grandchildren (17) we have a bond like no other, I’m going to be watching you handsome” and she has been I can feel her ever day. I also lost 200 pounds from the time I was 15-24 just by hard work and determination. And about (5,000 hours in the gym) lol. I definetly would not be the man I am today or have the life I do now if I never lost the weight.

The gay scene in Nashville is very talented. From musicians to artists to entrepreneurs it’s a city full of love and light. I love how limitless life can be for the average gay man in Nashville. It’s something I only found in this amazing city.

My coming out story is really simple in a way. I first came out to my grandmother and her response was “OH OK….my handsome boy where are we going for dinner?!?” She always called me her “handsome boy”. Then my brother and mother and it was like nothing. I NEVER felt different. They just wanted me to be happy and they have never hidden my life. My two nephews who are 7 and 4 call my boyfriend “uncle brad” and they are being taught just like my brother and I that being gay/straight is nothing, it’s the LOVE that counts. I come from the most supportive and beautiful family.

The advice I would give to myself is to be ready to have everything you ever wanted in life by 25. That my love life would not be a 70 year version of Adele’s “someone like you”. That a man will want to love just me and that I am good enough to feel love from another man forever. I wish I could take a Polaroid of my life right now and give it to my 15 year old self to keep I’m my pocket to remind myself that one day life will be this beautiful.”

Christopher, Claims Examiner, Nashville

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

Christopher, in his own words: “I cannot remember a single moment when I wasn’t gay.

But being gay … that’s another story, one that I’m still figuring out.

Like a bitter batch of sun tea, I was steeped in fundamentalist Christianity since birth. I entered my adolescent years with a foul taste in my mouth and enough guilt to last until I was over the hill. I bottled that up and tried to be devout.

Until my 29th year I truly believed that no person actually was gay. I thought my same-sex attractions were some kind of spiritual oppression. And I imagined two polarized forces fighting for the fate of my soul.

Imagine that.

It all seems so dramatic now.

Regardless of how it feels now, for too many years I believed it to be true and I knew my only option was to follow the doctrine in which I had been stewing. I did what every good Christian boy does: I married a woman and started a family.

Six years later I woke from the fever dream.

Coming out was utterly terrifying. All I could think about was my children, and the effect it would have on our relationship.

I had always been a very connected father. My kids were born at home with a midwife and I was there to catch each of them. I cut their umbilical cords and rinsed out their cloth diapers. I know that granola phase is long gone, but I loved every second of it.

It’s much easier to deny who you are when you are giving every moment to three precious little ones. But eventually there came a point of clarity in which the veil was pulled back (or torn in two — you take your pick). Suddenly I realized I had been fighting to maintain a certain standing in a religious paradigm to which I had always struggled to relate.

This epiphany resulted in my dual coming out—as a gay man and as a humanist. The ripple effects were beautiful and devastating.

When my ex-wife quickly moved them from northern Illinois to Nashville to join an oppressive religious community, I left everything I had ever known behind to follow my children. I didn’t know what to expect moving to the Bible Belt just months after coming out. What I found in Nashville was a wonderful queer community that embraced me.

After spending almost three decades feeling mostly alone, now I am surrounded by people that love me for who I am and support me as I navigate my way through the trials of divorce and a new and unexpected version of fatherhood.

It’s been a painful process, and I know challenges will persist. This is obvious when your father is a gay, secular humanist and your mother an outspoken Christian fundamentalist. I know my children will come out on the other side of this as strong, freethinking individuals. They will see that their father never stopped loving them.

As for me, I’m in a city that feels like home and sharing life with a man with whom I’m completely in love. What more could I ask for?

If I could go back in time, I’d tell my younger self a lot of things. I would grab me by the shoulders and shake me violently while proclaiming “feel the fuck out of your feelings!”

I’d remind myself of the beauty in simply being alive.

Being gay is small in the scope of the human experience. Stop making such a big deal about it. Accept it and move on so that you can look your life square in the eye and be in awe of its sheer magnitude.”