Category: City: Los Angeles, California

Carlos and Ivan, Registered Dental Assistant and Actor, Los Angeles

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

Carlos, in his own words: “No one can beat you at being you -Joel Osteen

Being gay means everything to me. Growing up as a kid, I always knew. Was it tough? Of course it was. It is for a lot of us. I was going to Catholic School and hearing what the bible was preaching, it sure didn’t help. But I somehow did not care, I loved myself too much and just knew I was different and special . Besides, I was too young and innocent and had no control over it.

Growing up at home I definitely had to keep it a secret. My dad had 11 brothers and no sisters. Very old fashion Mexican upbringing and not a single known gay relative. So yeah it was tough. I remembering answering the phone at 12 years old and the neighbor who was calling told me I needed to man up my voice because I sounded like my sister. As hard as I tried to be straight, and please everyone else, I just always knew better. Turned out my neighbor is gay also. He hasn’t spoken to his dad in over 3 years. That’s tough. His dad was my role model growing up too. Funny how life works.

Throughout my years in Jr High and High School I too was bullying alongside my friends sometimes, just to “fit in”. You know I grew up in the city of Cerritos which is just 25 min away from LA. The friends I had and the life I was living was just not the environment to come out in. Once I moved to Hollywood with my older brother who was already living there, I was just shocked. Gays everywhere. Even West Hollywood was up the street, but it was almost too much all at once. I mean sure it made me feel at home and made it more easier to explore. But there were still challenges. When I finally did come out to my parents, it really did feel better like they say. No it wasn’t easy and yes it took a while for them to come around. Just like it took me a while to be comfortable with it. I mean I wanted to marry and have a wife and kids of my own also you know, and letting go of that reality was not easy either. Something people don’t talk about.

18 years later I am in a much better place. It’s true, “It does get better”. Sure I made some mistakes along the way but I’ve never been happier. I have an amazing partner of 6 years. Five of those years we spent taking care of his 87 year old grandmother who had Alzheimer’s up until her last breath in our arms at almost 92 years old. Once people saw what a difference we made in her life and how she changed our lives, it just didn’t matter anymore to me what people were thinking. Early on in my relationship my lil brother got married and I was able to bring my partner and introduce him to all of my family. Without really realizing it, I used my brothers wedding as my way of coming out to the rest of my family. They welcomed him and it just made it all easier. We then attended a church (Unity Fellowship Church, Los Angeles) that was founded by a gay Bishop by the name of Archbishop Carl Bean. He and his church played a huge part in keeping me in track with not only my life, but with the Love of Life itself. I then have the opportunity to meet an amazing gay couple in NY. J. Frederic “Fritz” Lohman and Charles W. Leslie, the founders of the Leslie Lohman Museum in NY which recognizes gay artists from all around the world. Here’s a couple who has been together for 47 years! Gay Love is possible and they were proof. Learning the history and amazing stories of Charles and Fritz only made me happier and prouder to be gay. We are a pretty amazing group of people and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Go ahead and come out wherever you are. It does get better and it really is OK.”

Ivan, in his own words: ” Being gay has afforded me the opportunity to alongside my partner Carlos Cisneros be there caring for and living with my grandmother for the last five years of her life (from 87 years old to 91 years young).

” I am glad that God made you guys the way he did , because otherwise you would have a wife and kids and would not have all this time for me” mama Lenor Santoni. That those years with grandma allowed us without trying to show my family , friends and anyone who happened to be watching : a Latino gay couple happily taking care of a senior citizen.

Being Gay has allowed me to to have a best friend and passionate relationship with one person.
Than You……………Jesus…

In 1994 two of my best friends were moving back home to NY, they are still a couple Moe Bertran and David Pumo. I went to their going away party four days before ( brought gift and all). The next day I woke up called Moe and asked if I could move with them to NY?”@#%#@% Wow! Let me call David and ask him !”. About ten minutes later Moe calls me and says ” David said yes but you have to COME OUT to your mom before we go because he won’t live with someone who is in the closet”. I drove to my mom’s house and told her that I was moving to NY and pretty much in the same breath I said and I’m gay ” she was crying but when she spoke she said ” I am not crying because you are gay I am crying because you are moving to NY”

Jason and Brian, Senior Art Producer and Senior Copywriter, Los Angeles

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

Jason, in his own words: “(Being gay means) Living an honest and happy life.

My ultimate challenge was accepting that I was gay. But once I did at the age of 21, it’s been an incredible part of who I am. I’ve had the time of my life!

I first came out to my close friends who were accepting and “knew the whole time.” I later came out to my parents 7 years into my relationship with Brian [going on 11]. I thought, “It’s about time.” My family was never religious or passed judgment. I think it’s because we never shared our feelings or talked about our personal life. I still felt “what if…?” but coming out to my parents took about 20 minutes [Yes, only 20!]. One night, after dinner, I took them in another room while Brian was washing the dishes. My parents only had a few questions: “Do you wear women’s clothing?” and “Is there anything we could have done?” I responded with “Are you serious!? NO!” and “Of course not.” And that was it! Time for dessert! From that moment on their relationship with Brian only got better. I couldn’t have asked for a better “coming out” story.

The LA gay community for the most part is quite diverse. I think you make what you want to make out of each community. So depending on who you are and the type of people you surround yourself with depends on how you relate to each “scene.” I’ve always felt welcomed and never had any “hangups.” But I know some people hate the “WeHo” scene or hate the “Silverlake hipster” scene. I say embrace and enjoy! What ever your cup of tea may be!”

Brian, in his own words: “(Being gay) means being faaaaaabulous! Just kidding (kind of). To me, being gay is a very important part of who I am – but it doesn’t define everything that I am. Being gay means I’m part of a large community of people that have something in common, but not everything – which is something I really like. Many of my friends are gay but we’re a very eclectic group.

I live in LA and most of the people I interact with are either gay or could give a shit less that I’m gay. So daily challenges are minimal. When Jason and I travel, we keep in mind that not everyone is going as open-minded as we’re used to. But it still takes you by surprise if some asshole yells something while driving by (it’s always when they can make a cowardly get-away) or you just get that feeling that someone is uncomfortable with gays and gets awkward.

Aside from the challenges in coming out to my family (more on that later), I’ve been pretty lucky. Except for having to live up to a high “gay” standard of dress, fitness, snark, etc. That can be exhausting. I mean pool parties during the summer are like a friggin’ full time job of working out, not eating and modeling a brand new bathing suit that looks like it was sewn onto you. (Don’t you feel sorry for me?!)

(The gay community in Los Angeles) is Huge. Epic. Diverse. Dramatic. Supportive. All of those things. I wish we were a little more in touch with our history/politics – like New York and San Franciso, but LA gays are a little warmer and laid back in comparison, which I enjoy.

When Jason and I started dating, I made a promise to myself that if we hit the one-year mark, I would come out to my family. I had already come out to most of my friends, which was a sometimes awkward but for the most part very well received. I mean, it wasn’t much of a surprise to most. (I think my performance as Whitney Houston in the 3rd grade talent show might’ve tipped them off. Side note: I naaaaailed it.) Most importantly, I was extremely fortunate to have such amazing friends that were supportive and loving. It made coming out to them quite easy.

My family was more difficult. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I come from a very small town in upstate NY. It’s mostly conservative, very traditional and the only gays our town was familiar with were the “city gays” that would come up from NYC to spend money on antiques and enjoy our “quaint” little village.
My parents met at a high school football game and married soon after, my brother married a girl that grew up two miles from our house, and then there was me – living in sinful Los Angeles, on the other side of the country, with my Asian-American boyfriend. Kaboom.

I ended up waiting 9 months into our relationship to tell my family about Jason. My parents were out visiting at the time for a relaxing trip to Disneyland. They had already met my “friend” Jason on a prior trip, so at least that was out of the way. Then, one day before we left our hotel to go for a bike ride, I decided it was time to break the news. I remember sitting on the bed, stuttering a bit, and being surprised that for the first time in my life, I was finding it extremely difficult to put something into words. But I did. And it was rough. Very rough. One of the most difficult days of my life. (Needless to say, we never went on that bike ride.) But difficult days turned into weeks of working on things, which turned into months of getting used to things, which turned into years of things slowly but surely getting better as my family got to know Jason.

Now, 11 years later, the relationship between my parents and Jason is where I always hoped it’d be. It took lots of work, by everyone, but in the end, I’m so grateful for love and understanding. I hope that any gay kid, petrified of telling the people he loves that he’s gay, can learn from this and know that although it can be one of the hardest things they might ever do, it can – and will – get better. (But not for pool parties.)”

Dwayne, Optician/Manager/Buyer/Stylist, Los Angeles

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

Dwayne, in his own words: “I am the only boy out of Nine older sisters, and the baby at that. Being gay was just the way I was born. At 11, I was watching a beauty pageant and I remember saying to my sisters that the host was very beautiful, and they just looked at me and said men are not beautiful they are handsome, and I said no he is beautiful.

Growing up in Venice, California and being raised Southern Baptist, I thought it was not okay to be gay. That’s when my mother and my sisters said to me it does not matter who you are or what you are, we love you and god loves you.

I still have friends that I grew up with, one in particular named Bo. Bo and l loved to play flight attendants on the Santa Monica Bus line. We would board at Mark Twain Jr. High School with our scarves and our Pam Am bags and proceed to drive the bus driver crazy as we ran up and down the aisles of the bus calming down the passengers. This was really something that had to be seen.

My first actual relationship was at 32 with Jon M. Buhek. I had never felt the way I felt with him. That was love and we were together for seventeen years, but unfortunately we had to part ways. I still miss him, but life must go on.

My life now is so wonderful. I have the greatest group of friends and I just love when we get together and just have fun. At 48, I now know what I want and that’s to be in love again and in a life-long partnership. “