Category: City: São Paulo, Brazil

Flavio, Photographer, São Paulo

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

Flavio, in his own words: “Wow… tough one this first question…I guess that being gay means being normal, just like being straight. Of course that being gay in today’s world means that you are very likely to face a few challenges that, in theory, straight people wouldn’t face. But I truly don’t feel different just because I’m a man who likes men. I guess I used to feel different when I was younger, but, to be honest, looking back now, I actually believe that this feeling doesn’t necessarily have to do with being gay – I’m just a bit like a fish out of water in the way I behave, think, etc. Yes, being gay might have played a part in this as it meant feeling awkward when I was a kid/teenager but, truth be told, if it wasn’t for the bullying, the awkwardness probably would not have any sort of link with my sexual orientation.

On one hand, yes, being gay means that you are a part of a smaller group in today’s society and therefore it’d be naive to believe that people would treat you like they treat everyone else. Humans tend to respond to everything that is “different” in a very peculiar way (aggressive and negative at most times, unfortunately). But, on the other hand, I couldn’t think of a better time to “be gay” (if that makes sense). We’re not coming out as a group, we are out already. And we have a lot of respect from a lot of people, exactly because they recognize what a battle we had to go through to stand where we are. If we still have a lot to “conquer” in terms of respect, understanding and civil rights? Hell yeah. I speak as a Brazilian gay who comes from a very open minded family. But I know it’s a completely different story in other places, even in my country. But then I’m just being as positive as I can: I’m looking to the glass and I’m thinking it is half full, and not half empty. It will take ages for society to make it a full glass and for everyone to truly accept that not every man desires a woman, but I remember when my generation (at least in Brasil) came out when we were teenagers and what a nightmare that was generally. I have friends that really went through a living hell in their parents’ houses. And I’m not saying that nowadays is an easy thing to do, but we progressed so, so much. 10-15 years ago it was a completely different story.

In terms of challenges, I’m happy to say that the only big “problem” I had for being gay was the fact that I was quite bullied at school. And what an irony: I didn’t even know that I was gay. Kids can be horrible… But a lot of children go through bullying and of course it’s not always because they’re gay. So maybe I would have suffered from this situation anyway, even If I wasn’t a homossexual. I like to believe that I did quite well for someone who really had a disgusting experience at school for such a long period of time (I remember being called nasty things even after high school). I tend to be a bit aggressive, which is a negative aspect of my personality, but it’s how I managed to “survive” and it must be said that this fierceness has helped me so much in so many fields of my life. So no, I wouldn’t change any of the things I went through as a little boy. The cliche is true: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I know people that are still dealing with these demons from their childhoods, but I think I already overcame this in a healthy way: I don’t hate people, children, men, society, etc etc. I am very aware of the cruelty that exists in the world, but this perception has only made me more sensitive to the ones that are outcasts in society. I’d say that’s my real success in terms of being gay: the awareness and sensibility towards the others

The gay community in São Paulo is quite diverse at the moment. I think there’s a little treat for everyone… Of course there’s the typical “gay scene” that kinda looks like “Queer as Folk”, but then there’s the hipster scenario, the fancy gays, etc etc. We do have the biggest Gay Parade in the world, but I don’t think most of us are what you would expect from a militant, you know? The parade is just one big crazy day for everyone really… Our community is very Grindr/Tinder-driven at the moment, but very hypocritical when it comes to being open about promiscuous sex. Maybe it is a brazilian thing… we have naked people in tv adverts, soap operas, etc, but we’re still a very conservative country somehow. I lived in London for 3 years and I remember being surprised with the way gay man would live their sexual lives. Even in the clubbing scene: it is ok for a man to go to a kinky club in Europe. Here in Brasil it’s something you probably wouldn’t do or wouldn’t share, even with some of your closest friends. It’s seems silly to me…

Coming out wasn’t a big thing for me. I mean: it did take me ages to do so. I was 19 when I first told a dear friend of mine, who was out already. But once I did it, I just felt free (I guess that’s what most gay man experience, right?) and ended up telling everyone one, including my family and they were quite supportive I’d say. I had never kissed anyone before that (not even a girl), so I guess the biggest problem I had wasn’t being gay, but being a complete weirdo in that sense. Obviously coming out opened doors and possibilities and it didn’t take a lot of time for me to eventually snog someone. Yes, it was a man I think that if I had not gone through bullying at school, coming out could have happened earlier… but who knows??? Maybe the fact that kids used to call me “gay” helped me realise that they were right after all… those bitches… lol…

If I could give an advice to myself before I came out I’d say: you know you are an amazing person behind this big fear of yours, so be brave and show the world and yourself how strong you can be, otherwise you’ll never truly be “complete”. It doesn’t have to do with being gay and hooking up with other man, though that’s a big part of it and quite pleasurable… It has to do with being yourself entirely and letting go of the worst fear of them all: the fear of being happy ps. let us not forget that that’s what the word “gay” means.”

Gustavo, Planning Supervisor, São Paulo

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

Gustavo, in his own Portuguese words: “Meu primeiro beijo foi em uma roda de amigos brincando de verdade ou desafio, ainda em Belém do Pará, onde cresci. Na brincadeira, você escolhe entre responder a uma pergunta sobre você ou aceita realizar um desafio proposto pelo grupo. Eu não era muito de falar sobre mim, então preferi ser desafiado. E meu desafio foi beijar uma menina.

Eu não pensava ser gay. Na infância, a maior parte das referências que temos a ser gay são estereotipadas. E nenhum deles se encaixava com o meu cotidiano de garoto nerd, apaixonado por ler, escrever, desenhar e jogar videogame. Ninguém ensina que ser gay não tem tanto a ver com como você age, mas sim com o que você sente.

Foi somente no primeiro ano de faculdade que eu desafiei a mim mesmo a beijar um menino. E comecei a aceitar o que antes eu não tinha muita certeza: sou gay.

Algum tempo depois me apaixonei por um amigo próximo, que se tornou meu primeiro namorado. Eu sempre achei tudo muito natural, não fosse o fato de que, por medo da reação da família dele, eu era apresentado como “o melhor amigo”.

Eu não concordava com aquilo. Não via motivos para mentir. E ao sair do armário para a minha mãe, recebi um conselho que revisito na minha memória até hoje:

“Você é quem você é. Partindo disso, não rotule os outros e não se permita rotular. A sociedade tende a classificar tudo e todos os separando em caixinhas, mas cabe a cada um de nós lembrar ao mundo que somos muito mais do que isso. Orgulhe-se de você”

Hoje vivo em São Paulo e escolhi viver o conselho da minha mãe, que replico aqui: tenha orgulho por ser gay. Tenha orgulho pelo tempo que decidiu dedicar aos estudos e ao trabalho. Tenha orgulho pelas pessoas que conheceu. E pelas pessoas que escolheu manter na minha vida. Tenha orgulho pelas escolhas que fez, pelas experiências que acumulou e pelos sonhos que alimenta. Tenha orgulho por tudo o que já viveu e que faz de você único no mundo.

Não é necessário provar nada para ninguém. Ter orgulho de ser gay faz parte de ter orgulho de quem você é por completo.”

in English:

“My first kiss happened in a circle of friends playing Truth or Dare, still in Belém of Pará where I was brought up. In this game, you choose between answering a question about yourself or accepting to do a dare proposed by the group. Since I wasn’t really the talk about me type, I preferred being challenged. And my dare was kissing a girl.

I didn’t think I was gay. In my childhood, most part of the gay references that we had were very stereotypic. And none of them really matched my nerdy, bookworm, in love with writing, drawing and playing video-games lifestyle.
Nobody teaches you that being gay doesn’t have much to do with how you act, but with how you feel.

It was only during my freshman year in college that I dared myself to kiss a boy.
And I started to accept what before I wasn’t so sure: I’m gay.

Sometime after, I fell in love with a close friend, who later became my boyfriend. I always thought everything was quite natural, despite the fact that, out of fear of his family’s reaction, I was introduced as “the best friend.”

I didn’t agree with that. I didn’t see a reason for lying. And after coming out of the closet to my mom, I got a piece of advice that I still revisit in my memory to this day:

“You are who you are. Starting from this, don’t label others and don’t let yourself be labeled. Society tends to classify everything and everyone by separating them into little boxes, but it’s up to each one of us to remind the world that we’re much more than that. Be proud of yourself”

Today, I live in São Paulo and I chose to live my mom’s advice, that I hereby share: be proud of being gay. Be proud of the time you decided to dedicate to study and work. Be proud of the people you met. And the people you chose to keep in your life. Be proud of the choices you made, of the experiences you collected and the dreams you nourish. Be proud of everything you’ve lived and everything that makes you the only one in the world.

It’s not necessary to prove anything to anyone. Being proud of being gay is part of being proud of who you are through and through.”

Danilo, Assistant Opera Director, São Paulo

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

Danilo, in his own Portuguese words:

“Trecho da peça “Coração: Casafechada”
Exerpt from the play “LockedHouse: Heart”

Tó.
Cuida do meu coração?
Presta atenção,
ele é frágil e apodrece logo
Sem carinho ou refrigeração.

Por favor,
Cuida do meu coração?
Cuida, que ele insiste
e bate.
E se bate, é porque não sabe fazer diferente.
É carne nova.

Cuida do meu coração?
Ou como opção,
Faça bifes dele.

Mas se o for comer,
Que o coma cru.
Porque cru ele não responde
E frio ele fica macio e suculento
e realça-se seu sabor.
Sim, coma-o frio.

Porque se se aquece esse meu coração,
ele vai lutar para continuar vivo.
Todos sabem que coração quente é intragável.

Ele vai lutar contra seu estômago e duodeno
Vai entalar na sua garganta
Se instalar no seu ouvido médio e talvez até apodrecer na sua meninge.
Ele era bom aluno e prestava atenção nas aulas de biologia.
Sabe bem se virar.

Meu coração sabe lutar.
Mas cuida do meu coração?
Ele ainda é moleque e às vezes vira para o lado errado
bate em lugares tortos
e luta pelas causas erradas.”

Miro and Filipe, Art Editor and Account Executive, São Paulo

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

Miro, in his own words: “(Being gay means)Only a sexual orientation.

Apenas uma orientação sexual.

I had the challenge of facing bullying in adolescence and success to overcome this without trauma.

Tive o desafio de enfrentar bullying na adolescência e o sucesso de superar isto sem traumas.

There are several communities in São Paulo. Mine is quite homely and friendly.

Existem várias comunidades em São Paulo. A minha é bem caseira e amigável.

(Coming out) was easy. I always had very special friends and family.

Foi fácil. Sempre tive amigos e família muito especiais.

(If I could give myself advice before coming out I would say) Come out of the closet as soon as possible, because everyone around you already knows that you are gay.

Saia do armário o mais cedo possível, pois todo mundo ao seu redor já sabe que você é gay.”

Filipe, in his own words: “(Being gay means) Freedom. In the very beginning may not be easy. But accept that and respect youself first of all, is the most important to be happy.

Liberdade. No inicio pode não parecer fácil, mas aceitar isso e se respeitar, em primeiro lugar, é o mais importante pra ser feliz.

There was no challenge about being gay, besides the normal life. But my greatest success was the acceptance of my family and friends and to have found love so early, I hope to take to the end of life.

Não houve nenhum desafio em relação a ser gay, além dos normais da vida. Mas meu maior sucesso foi a aceitação da minha família e amigos e ter encontrado o amor tão cedo, que eu espero poder aproveitar até o fim da vida.

(The gay scene in São Paulo is) Varied to extremes, we have bars and parties for all types from bears to dragqueens.

Diversificada ao extremo, temos bares e festas para todos os tipos, de ursos a dragqueens.

In the beginning (coming out) was very difficult, you do not want to hurt people who are nearby and apparently it’s easier to keep up appearances and stay with people of the opposite sex, but it is not, and you are always under immense pressure, and when you say is such a relief, the next minute you’re light and happy with yourself. Everything was so perfect, the fourth guy I kissed became the man of my life … I do not think would do differently.

No inicio é bem difícil, você não quer magoar as pessoas que estão próximas e aparentemente, é mais fácil manter as aparências e ficar com pessoas do sexo oposto, mas não é, e você fica sempre sob uma pressão imensa, e quando você conta é um alívio infinito, no minuto seguinte você está leve e feliz com você mesmo. Tudo foi tão perfeito e o quarto cara que eu beijei se tornou o homem da minha vida… acho que não faria diferente.”

Edu, Quality Assurance Test Leader, São Paulo

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

Edu, in his own words: “I think being gay is just a part of my personality but it is not the main thing about me. I think either gay or straight I would be looking for the same things. You know, I’m a human being who wants to be loved, to grow, to experiment things and so on.
On one hand there is the prejudice explicit or implicit, depending on the culture/city/country you are in, but on the other hand you are free to build your own path in life. You don’t have to necessarily follow the steps the society pre-programmed for you, like to marry, to have kids and to buy a flat in the suburbs. You can choose being single, having an open marriage, spending your money traveling the world because you don’t have kids, or whatever you want to. I notice that many people are afraid of this freedom; they prefer living in the box. For me I see it as a blank canvas I’m free to paint as I please.

My biggest challenge was to go through the bulling I suffered during school time. Bullying is a topic that is much discussed these days, but back in the 80’s it was really complicated to be a shy/nerdy/gay kid. One interesting thing is that I was bullied for being gay before I understand what sexuality was all about or even actually having a sex drive.

My biggest success was to overcome a very limited scenario in which I was born and raised. I was born in a poor family in the suburbs with all its financial difficulties. My parents and grandparents helped me out as much as possible for me to study and to grow as a decent person. I took all chances and I was the first on my family to go to college and have “a real big job”. I am grateful to all of them.

I could define São Paulo gay community in one word: diversity. You can find here the princesses (in Brazil they call them Barbies), bears, indies, hipsters and so on. I find it refreshing because I come from a city in which the only gay archetype that is acceptable it the buffed-all-waxed-suntan-lined-porn-star-look-a-like guy.

Getting out of the closet was complicated just in my head. Once I figured it out and accepted it was all natural. I didn’t have “the conversation” with my mother; my family knew it all along.

(If I could give myself advice before coming out) I would say to myself: “relax and go ahead. It won’t hurt and once you are out they will respect you more than being in the closet.”

Andre and Rodrigo, VJ/Designer and Creative Planner/Content Creator, São Paulo

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

Rodrigo, in his own words: “I’ve lived with my grandmother and my brother for the past 5 years. And her acceptance towards me and my brother being gay is something that shocked me at first. She was born almost 70 years ago, in a totally different world, and acts like every person should about us: naturally. It taught me that the ones that love you the most understand (or will at one point) that being gay is just one small part of who you are. And it doesn’t really change anything.

She says that in life, love is what matters the most. And I’d like to add something to that: learning.

Learning to accept yourself.
Learning that you’re different, and that it’s fine to be yourself.
Learning about who you are as a person.
Actually, if you think about it, learning also takes love and passion.
So yeah, she’s right!:)

Also, I know there is still prejudice in the world, even here in Brazil, and that’s why I define myself as a lucky gay man for having people around me who accept who I am, and a boyfriend who I can freely love. I hope I get to see this reality for all gay men in the world.”

“Imagine all the people living life in peace
You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”
John Lennon

Andre, in his own words: “Being gay means being free. Each person must find his way of freedom.

Coming out was much easier than I thought. The biggest difficulties came from myself and not from people around me.”

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Matheus, Fashion Producer, São Paulo

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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

Matheus, in his own words: “Actually I think being gay it’s not something that has a meaning for me, it’s a part of who I am just as being black or being tall.

I think the worst part of being gay it’s trying to fit in and find your place and sometimes being a little bit afraid of other people’s comments and reactions.

The gay community in Brazil in Sao Paulo is very diversed, I think there is a place for everyone twinks, bears, fashionistas and etc… and even for people that don’t like labels. hehehee

When I came out to my family I wanted to tell my father first because we have more of a open and straight foward relationship, but my sister who already knew at the time, convinced me to tell my mother first. My mom literally freaked out, and because of that started a little family war between the two of us, that lasted for almost a year. After things calmed down a little bit I told my father , he wasn’t that open minded, but he was supportive in his own silent way, and for that I’m very thankfull, because after I told him the bickering between me and my mom ended, and things actually started to get better.

Advice I’d give to anyone (who hasn’t come out) is, be patient to others,, it’s a process, sometimes you have to put yourself in someone elses shoes to understand their heads. and just be strong. being gay it’s not the end of the world, it’s just the beggining. hehee”

Eduardo, Trend Forecaster, São Paulo

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

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photo by Kevin Truong

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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
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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

Eduardo, in his own words: “I never overthought what it meant to be gay. It always felt like something natural that some other people didn’t understand or accept as normal, but I always knew that they were the ones that were wrong. I never believed anyone who implied I was different. In fact, I always felt bad for them thinking of how much they still had to grow in order to let go of their prejudices, and how they might never be open for that, falling into a life of endless distaste.

To me, coming out was, in a way, accepting the challenge that I could have to face a world with fewer people and friends around me. But it didn’t take me very long to realize, first: those fewer people were the ones who cared about me the most; and second: that being myself was the key to make more likeminded friends and build more meaningful relationships.

Coming out to myself felt like a big step, but also felt very natural because it was something I always knew would happen one day. Like when you’re a kid and you know you’re going to grow bodyhair when you’re older, so you just understand and accept that idea as part of life’s flow. Coming out was the only possible thing to do, after all, living a lie doesn’t take long to get pretty tedious.

Coming out to my parents, on the other hand, took me a lot longer than I thought it would: about 8 years after I first kissed a boy. I knew they knew, but my family has always been very respectful of each other’s privacy. This way, coming out felt more like a formality to me, even though it was a very emotional moment. It was something I knew I had to do, and I knew that it wouldn’t be a big issue. I wish they still wouldn’t be so reluctant to ask me more about my love life, though. But I believe this is something that, year by year, will feel less weird for them.

(If I could give advice to myself before coming out) If someone ever hurts you, hurt them back, but make sure you do it in a clever way: make them realize their ignorance. And always say what you feel like saying to other people, whether it’s good or bad, even if you fear it might sound silly, no matter if people will like it or not.”

William, Graphic Designer, São Paulo

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

William, in his own words: “Being gay for me now means alot of things, and inside these things is being true with myself, happy more than sad. Against all the bad things that happened with a gay guy in school I decided to transform the experience into the power to be whatever I want, but being happy always, and if not I will work hard to find the happiness being myself.

My challenges happened when I decided to study a thing that I knew that in my hometown will not work, that was being a graphic designer in a small city. So I decided to move to São Paulo and needed to work hard to find myself in this city. Now I`m here for 3 years in a relationship and we have our apartament, so I think the things are really working now.

The gay community in São Paulo for me is very cool and diversified, now we have more space than before and its more safer to walk and be whatever you want. But as many cities of the world some things need to change and the people need to be more open minded.

Coming out from the closet was more easy than I thought it would be, my mother and dad now accepts me and my boyfriend very, very well.

(If I could talk to myself before coming out) I could say: Be happy being yourself, no matter what happen.”

Eduardo and Filipe, Graphic Designer and Internet and TV Consultant, São Paulo

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

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photo by Kevin Truong

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

Filipe, in his own words: “Understand who you are and can express it without the fear of the world doesnt love you is a human process. This process is made step by step and requires time and attention. However it is undoubtedly the best way forward.”

Eduardo, in his own words: “I guess when you are gay in Sao Paulo, maybe some things can be different or hard to deal, and it’s harder when you are black, when you are poor, when you are fat, when you are “ugly”, when you are effeminate… but you need to face up all these things and keep movin on, I guess São Paulo have been understanding it… but we have yet a long way to do that”