Category: City: Sydney, Australia

Francisco, Journalist, Sydney, Australia

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
Francisco, in his own words: “I think (being gay) has the same meaning like being straight, Christian, Muslim, Colombian, Australian, rich, journalist or Latino. I mean it’s just a part which describes something small in a human being.

Being gay is a vital part of my life, I was born that way and that means my spirit is attracted to people with similar characteristics like me but it is not the only thing that I have to offer to humanity, because that part just describes a part of my feelings, my intimacy and part of my expressions and culture.

(A challenges is) finding a way to teach to society in my country that being gay is nothing wrong, negative or evil, like some religions try to show. We’re just humans and our sexual orientation is just something which belongs to our essence and diversity as humans.

One of my greatest challenges in my life was when I decided to create the first two LGBT radio stations in Colombia. It was huge, with over two hundred thousand listeners per month in my country and Latin America. It was a chance to teach people and our LGBT community the responsibility to be ourselves, it doesn’t matter what society says about us. We tried to start a revolution in growing a young generation in which only five years ago was trying to find their own expression. Thousands of people around Colombia transformed, Radio Diversia and El Eden Radio into two communicative models to express their feelings, their music, their news, their artists and their own stories about how it is living as am LGBT guy in Colombia and how to be happy and change their environment into a good place to live instead of one with discrimination and violence.

After that another great success in my life was when I started as a Director and Television Anchor in my own Television Magazine about International Showbiz through international news TV Network (NTN24) for Latin America and the Latin Community in United States. It was like a professional dream, my biggest challenge and a huge responsibility as a Journalist.

This is not exactly the way to coming out, but I was in the middle of a big argument with my mom, who found some Gay guides in my room and she started to yell at me about that, I was so angry and I just said to her “Yes, I’m Gay!” after that, it took over a year for my mom to start to understand why I’m Gay and why I was born Gay. Currently our relationship is very honest about my Gay life, my friends and my boyfriend. She understands I’m more than my sexual orientation, I’m her son.

(The gay community in Sydney is the) same thing like everywhere: having some fun, sometimes a boyfriend, depending on the moment, a long term relationship, a husband or just a summer love. I found my country (Colombia) a better place to get a stable relationship because my culture and traditions are more aligned with the fact that Latinos are more passionate, closer to each other and more communicative. In Sydney people are busy all the time, sometimes they don’t have time for close relationships or it just takes a long time to get that.

On the other hand, Sydney is a better place to express one’s feelings because it is a capital of the world. It is a place with people from everywhere, a city growing up with minorities, even gays and lesbians have here in Sydney one of the most beautiful and biggest celebrations in the world, the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras which is awesome because in Colombia we don’t have something similar, just the gay pride in June, but it is smaller, not very organized and is not visible like the Mardi Gras is in Australia and around the world.

(Advice to my younger self) Don’t be afraid about what society says about you, sometimes society represents the dumbest things of humans, just be yourself, take some risks to be happy and always think about conquering the world, because you are more than just another gay; you’re brilliant, smart, a nice guy, you can do whathever you want, just try to find the way to get it and enjoy this fantastic journey which is life because you only live once.”

Alex Greenwich, Member of Parliament, Sydney, Australia

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
Alex, in his own words: “In Sydney, we really celebrate and accept the LGBTI community, it plays such an important role in the fabric of our Sydney. Across Australia, the LGBTI community also plays a really important role. I think it’s really important that people in city areas remember that in rural areas of Australia it’s a lot tougher being gay, and it’s really important that we continue to support our brothers and sisters in rural centers.

We know there’s really high risks of mental health and high risks of youth suicide, particularly for LGBTI people in rural Australia, so it’s important that we continue to support counseling groups and support groups for those areas. Across Australia I think we have a number of challenges still facing us. Obviously, Australia has not embraced marriage equality yet, and that’s something I continue to push in our Parliament. Also, there’s a number of anti-discrimination laws that need improvement. In New South Wales, you can be expelled for being gay, or you can be fired as being a teacher if you’re gay. I’m hoping to change those things. Generally I think Australians love the LGBTI community, but there’s still a lot of work to do, both in the community and in the Parliaments.

I got into politics out of the marriage equality campaign. I led the marriage equality campaign here in Australia for about five years. Then an opportunity came up where I could run for state Parliament, with the endorsement of my predecessor, the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, and do so as an Independent. So I’m really proud to represent an electorate which has one of the highest LGBTI populations, the most same sex couples, and is exciting, diverse, and very accepting of all types of people.

I think it’s really important to be out in public office. I’m able to speak from first hand experience, in the Parliament about how discrimination affects me, and affects my community. We’re also able to be role models for people and hope that people can always be true to themselves in whatever field they’re in. And if someone in public office and in the public eye can be out and proud, it helps people that could be working in a bank or in a library or in a butcher—or in any other profession, to know that it is also OK for them to be out and proud in their workplace.

For me one of my proudest recent accomplishments is getting overseas same-sex marriages recognized in New South Wales law (that’s the state that I sit in the Parliament) and continuing to be a voice of our community in the Parliament.

I think for those people across the world in countries where they’re not as lucky as we are here in Australia, where they do face regular stigma and regular discrimination, the message I would say is definitely it get’s better. And I hope places like Australia, the US, Canada, Argentina and other countries can give hope that things will change.”

Alexander, Sydney, Australia

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
Alexander, in his own words: “Being gay to me is pretty simple, it means that I am attracted to the same sex (men) instead of the opposite sex.

I think my biggest successes in life have been in relation to my career. I have worked very hard to get where I am, and still plan to keep going. In terms of challenges, I think the biggest challenge I have had has been me! In the past, I have been shy, or not been my true self, but this has changed, and surprisingly by being myself, showing my true personality and being less shy, my career has got better and better.

I have not had a coming out story so to speak as many people pretty much know (or can guess) as soon as they meet me and I have never really hidden it from anyone (except from my parents). However, there was one time when I was a teenager and was with a guy and my brother saw me. The guy told me that my brother had just seen us, and I could not believe it. When I did see my brother, he was very upset. He told me he would be fine, he just needed some time to get over it. I think I was more upset over the incident, but as time passed it was like nothing had happened and my brother was fine.

The gay community in Sydney is very much like gay communities all over the world! There are lots of different gays that make up the community which is a good thing. Most people think that the gay community only lives around the inner city, but I think that is changing and now it is spreading out all over Sydney.

(Advice to my younger self) Be yourself and life is short. Just go for it, whatever it is!”