Tagged: buenos aires

Renatto, Painter, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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
Renatto, in his own words: “A medida que pasan los años me voy dando cuenta que el significado de ser gay es muy importante, significa, libertad, alegría, significa liberarse de prejuicios, plenitud en todos los aspectos, si existe algo que agradezco a Dios, es que soy homosexual.
Soy el hombre mas feliz del mundo siendo gay, aunque como todo en la vida siempre tiene su pro y su contras, jamás cambiaria el hecho de que soy gay.
Ser Gay significa, libertad, plenitud y alegría.

El primer desafío importante que tuve fue hablar con mi padre y contarle sobre mi verdadera sexualidad, fue increíble sentir la aceptación de mi padre, eso, también fue un éxito
El segundo desafío es convertirme en un escritor y pintor reconocido en Buenos Aires, hoy por hoy sigo trabajando en este desafío, no es fácil abrirse camino en un país tan artístico y cultural como Argentina.

Argentina hoy en día es un país adelantado en cuestiones de respeto y tolerancia, nos hemos vuelto un país abierto a todas las formas de vida y sociedades, conviviendo juntas, pero no siempre fue así, yo soy uno de los miles de homosexuales en la Argentina que presenciamos la historia, cuando los legisladores aprobaron la ley de matrimonio para personas del mismo sexo, se creo el paradigma mas hermoso de todos los tiempos, ese fue el mas grande triunfo de mi vida, aunque fue el de todos; todos y cada uno lo vivimos de forma personal.

La gran diversidad de la comunidad LGBT en Argentina es asombrosa, jamás se podrá catalogar en un solo colectivo a las miles de forma de pensar de actuar y de vivir, pero a pesar de esa gran diversidad siempre tuvimos un mismo objetivo, alcanzar la tolerancia y el respeto social, en cada provincia de la Argentina las formas de vida de los homosexuales es muy diferentes, algunas mas vertiginosas que otras. Y aun que la capital, Buenos Aires, es el centro de todo, el país tiene una variedad de formas de vida que enriquecen la cultura de este lugar, mi nación, Argentina.

En este aspecto, debo decir que la federación argentina LGBT es un grupo de personas que abogan por los derechos de la comunidad homosexual y que hasta el presente han logrado cumplir metas muy importantes.
En Argentina la comunidad LGBT es cien por ciento activa, en muchos aspectos.

(With regards to coming out) Para poder decirlo públicamente, me costo veinte años de mi vida.
A mis veinte años yo sabia que era homosexual, quería llevar una vida gay, quería ser como Juan Castro un querido periodista argentino que ya no esta entre nosotros; pero para lograr ser un gay en toda su plenitud, yo sabia muy bien que el primero a quien debía decir la verdad era a mi querido padre.
Mi papá era uno de esos machos argentinos que enloquecía a las mujeres con su sola presencia, para mi no era fácil contarle algo así, sobre todo porque hace diez años atrás la argentina era un país muy diferente al que es ahora; fue entonces que pensé “si realmente soy un hombre honorable, debo hablar con mi padre y decirle la verdad.
Fue algo así:
Yo: -papá, soy gay, me gustan los hombres-
Padre: -ya lo sabia, desde que eras chico, y te quiero igual, eso no cambia nada-

Ese momento fue liberador, sentí como todo el universo se abría ante mis ojos, mi papá me dio un fuerte abrazo y lloramos juntos, después de eso, jamás volvería a sentir miedo de nada más.

Yo no soy quien para recomendar nada a nadie, pero si alguien quiere escuchar o leer un humilde concejo yo diría:
1 Siempre digamos la verdad
2 Jamás nos avergoncemos de lo que somos.
3 olvidémonos del miedo y seamos felices, trabajando por un mundo más tolerable.”

In English:

“As the years pass, I am realizing that the meaning of being gay is very important, meaning, freedom, joy, meaning freedom from prejudice, fullness in all aspects, if there is anything that I thank God for, it is that I’m gay.

I am the happiest man in the world to be gay, but like everything in life there has been its pros and cons, and I never would change the fact that I’m gay.

Being Gay means, freedom, fulfillment and joy.

The first major challenge I had was talking to my father and telling him about my true sexuality, it was amazing to feel the acceptance of my father, it was also a success.
The second challenge is trying to become a renowned writer and painter in Buenos Aires, today I am still working on this challenge, it is not easy to break into an artistic and cultural country like Argentina.

Argentina today is advanced on issues of respect and tolerance in the country, we have become open to all forms of life and country societies, living together, but it was not always this way. I am one of the thousands of homosexuals in Argentina who witnessed history when lawmakers passed the law of marriage for same-sex couples, the most beautiful of all paradigms in time was created, that was the biggest win of my life, but as with everyone, every person lived it personally.

The great diversity of the LGBT community in Argentina is amazing, and can never be categorized into one of the thousands of collective thinking of those acting and living it, but despite this great diversity there is always the same goal, to achieve tolerance and social respect, in every province of Argentina lifestyles of homosexuals are very different, some more dizzying than others. And even in the capital, Buenos Aires, which is the center of everything, the country has a variety of life forms that enrich the culture of this place, my country, Argentina.

In this regard, I must say that Argentina LGBT federation is a group of people who advocate for the rights of the gay community and so far has managed to meet important goals.

In Argentina the LGBT community is one hundred percent active in many aspects.

(With regards to coming out) to say it publicly, cost me twenty years of my life. In my twenties I knew I was gay, I wanted to live as a gay life, wanted to be like Juan Castro the beloved Argentine journalist who is no longer among us; but in order to become a gay in all its fullness, I knew very well that the first person to tell the truth needed to be my dear father.

My dad was that typical Argentinian man who drove women crazy just by his presence, for me it was not easy to tell him something, especially because ten years ago Argentina was a very different country than it is now; It was then that I thought “if I’m really an honorable man, I must speak to my father and tell him the truth.

It was something like this:
Me: Dad, I’m gay, I like men.
Father: – I already know that, since you were a kid, I love you and this is not going to change.

That moment was liberating, I felt like the whole universe opened up before my eyes, my dad gave me a big hug and we cried together, after that, I would never be afraid of anything.

I am not one to recommend anything to anyone, but if someone wants to hear or read a humble council I would (tell my younger self):

1. Always tell the truth
2. Never feel ashamed of who we are.
3. forget about the fear and be happy working for a more tolerable world.”

Emiliano and Andres, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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
Emiliano, in his own words: “(Being gay) Tuvo distintos significados a lo largo de mi vida. En mi infancia más pequeña, no tenía significado. Pero recuerdo sentimientos y fantasías donde ya se despertaba mi homosexualidad, que en aquel momento vivía sin represión. Cuando entré en la pubertad, significó miedo. Le tenía mucho miedo, rezaba, literalmente, porque no me “tocara” a mí ser gay, y luchaba, inconscientemente, para alejarla. Durante mi adolescencia, fue sinónimo de calvario y falta de entendimiento. La viví a través del bullying de mis compañeros de escuela. No entendía por qué veían eso en mí, cuando para mí no me representaba. Luché entonces contra la homosexualidad, y llegué a convencerme de que era heterosexual. Durante mi juventud significó represión. La mantuve oculta, sin permitir que se manifestara, durante muchos años, aún marcado por la experiencia de bullying y rechazo de mi secundaria. En mi juventud más tardía, significó, al fin, experimentación y liberación. Aceptarla me sacó un peso de encima, me permitió empezar a vivir mejor, a relacionarme con felicidad no sólo con hombres, en un plan amoroso o sexual, sino con la gente en general, de una manera más honesta. Hoy, representa una forma de vida que me hace feliz, que me permitió conocer a la persona que elijo para el resto de mi vida.

Lamentablemente, la primera vez que se me presentaron desafíos con respecto a mi sexualidad, no tuve éxito. El maltrato y el bullying que viví durante la secundaria me imposibilitaron aceptar mi sexualidad. Durante mi adolescencia hice terapia, luego de que una noche, llorando desconsolado, le confesé a mi mamá que me era imposible soportar el maltrato de mis compañeros. Mis padres, deseosos de ayudarme, me llevaron a terapia con la mala suerte que el terapeuta que me trató fue muy dañino. Con el tiempo pude darme cuenta que el terapeuta tenía sus propios fantasmas y problemas con la homosexualidad, y se dedicó, durante los años que duró el tratamiento, a convencerme de que la homosexualidad no era mi camino, y que se trataba más de una consecuencia de mi manera de relacionarme con mis compañeros. Simplificando la idea que me transmitía, creía que mi soberbia y altanería al relacionarme con mis compañeros, era lo que provocaba que ellos respondieran, a mi supuesto maltrato, con bullying. Me costó años darme cuenta que mi manera de tratar a mis compañeros, con esta supuesta altanería y soberbia, era más un mecanismo de defensa que había desarrollado para defenderme de sus abusos. El segundo gran desafío fue superar mis propios prejuicios. Tantos años de negar mi sexualidad, me había provocado ese prejuicio. Viví durante muchos años auto engañado, y llegué a pasar años sin tener sexo ante la imposibilidad de aceptarme. Tan difícil era, que me convertí en una persona asexuada. Y aún cuando me movía dentro de un ambiente de amigos, o inclusive un ambiente laboral, donde la homosexualidad era aceptada, yo no podía aceptar la propia.

En Buenos Aires hay grandes posibilidades de tener una vida gay activa. Hay lugares para para que los gays puedan hacer cualquier cosa que desean, y mucha apertura a ser quienes somos en casi todos los lugares púbicos. Inclusive crecí en una familia donde mis padres o mi hermana tenían amigos que eran homosexuales. Y en mi trabajo, dentro del mundo de la televisión y los comerciales, los homosexuales no tienen, en general, problemas de discriminación.

Mi historia fue de mucha represión. Durante toda la secundaria viví discriminación y bullying, aún cuando todavía nunca me había sentido atraído por otro hombre. No entendía por qué los demás me molestaban con ser gay, porque no era algo que todavía había podido descubrir de mí mismo. Esto me llevaba a la represión, que sumado a la experiencia psicoanalítica equivocada que viví en la adolescencia, me llevaron a perdurar mi auto negación. Luché contra todos aquellos que afirmaban que era gay y me alejaba de los círculos donde esto aparecía. Me volví una persona más oscura, apartada de la vida nocturna, de la vida de juventud. Nunca me animé a experimentar, ni siquiera a fantasear con el tema. Finalmente, a los 26, llegó un momento en que la infelicidad era muy grande. Y luego de llegar a pesar 20 kilos más de lo que peso ahora, sentí que había tocado fondo. Creo que inconscientemente estaba esperando que llegara alguien, un príncipe azul, que me rescatara y ayudara a vivir mi verdadera sexualidad. Pero obviamente ese príncipe nunca llegó, y tuve que hacer solito el camino de salir de ese pozo. Empecé, por fin, una terapia que me ayudó en ese camino, que no me reprimió. (Aprovecho a decir, gracias Oscar Peña, mi terapeuta de ese momento). Mi primera relación sexual me llegó una vez que pude aceptarme. Lo único bueno de toda esta situación, es que cuando decidí vivirla finalmente, ya no lo hice con culpa. El sexo lo pude asociar siempre al placer y la felicidad, y no a la represión que vivía antes. En seguida me puse de novio. Una vez en pareja, me animé y hablé con toda mi familia y amigos, en el lapso de una semana. Luego de hacer unas 7 u 8 veces la charla de “te tengo que contar algo”, decidí que no lo iba a hacer nunca más. Entendí que esa charla era lo mismo que estar pidiendo permiso o aprobación para vivir mi sexualidad, y que en todo caso, era un problema de otro si no la aceptaba. De ahí más, nunca oculté mi orientación sexual, me negué a tratarlo como algo diferente o especial, e hice siempre de la igualdad una bandera. Hoy estoy casado, con un hombre que amo. Y me hace muy feliz recordar mi casamiento, que compartí con toda mi familia, desde mis abuelos, de más de 90 años, hasta mis sobrinos más chicos, junto muchos amigos y gente querida, que se alegró y festejó conmigo.

Me diría a mí mismo que sea valiente, que se permita seguir sus sentimientos y que no se deje ganar por el miedo. Que la valentía siempre, por lo menos en mi experiencia, trae el éxito.”

In English: (Being gay) Has had different meanings throughout my life. In my early childhood, it had no meaning. But I remember feelings and fantasies where I woke up and my homosexuality, which at that time lived without repression. When I entered puberty, this meant fear. I was very afraid, read literally, because I did not “play” with me being gay, and struggled unconsciously to zoom it out. During my teenage years, it was synonymous with Calvary and lack of understanding. I lived through the bullying of my classmates. I did not understand why they saw that in me, when for me it did not represent me. Then I fought against homosexuality, and became convinced that I was heterosexual. During my youth this meant repression. I kept it hidden, without allowing it to manifest, for many years, still scarred by the experience of bullying and rejection of my high school. In my later youth, it meant, finally, testing and release. It took me to accept it to feel a load off, allowing me to start living better, to relate to happiness not only with men, in a loving or sexual plan, but with people in general, more honestly. Today, it represents a way of life that makes me happy, it has allowed me to know the person that I choose for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, the first time I was presented with challenges regarding my sexuality, I was not successful. Child abuse and bullying that happened during high school precluded me from accepting my sexuality. During my teens I had therapy, after a night of inconsolable crying, I confessed to my mother that I could not stand the abuse of my peers. My parents, eager to help, unfortunately took me to therapy with a therapist who treated me very harmfully. Eventually I realized that the therapist had his own ghosts and problems with homosexuality, and devoted himself during the years of treatment, to convince me that homosexuality was not my way, and it was more of a consequence of the way I interacted with my peers. Simplifying the idea that he conveyed to me, I thought that my pride and arrogance to interact with my peers, was what caused them to respond, my alleged mistreatment with bullying. It took me years to realize that the way I treated my colleagues with this alleged arrogance and pride, was a defense mechanism that was developed to defend their abuse. The second major challenge was to overcome my own prejudices. So many years of denying my sexuality had caused me such prejudice. I lived for many years self-deceived, and I went through years without having sex, it was impossible to accept. So hard it was, I became an asexual person. And even when I moved into an environment of friends, or even a work environment where homosexuality was accepted, I could not accept it myself.

In Buenos Aires there are many chances of having an active gay life. There are places for gay people to do anything they want, and very open to be who we are in almost all pubic places. Even I grew up in a family where my parents or my sister had friends who were gay. And in my work, in the world of television and commercial, homosexuals do not, in general, face problems of discrimination.

My (coming out) story was a lot of repression. Throughout high school I experienced discrimination and bullying, even though I still had never been attracted to another man. I did not understand why others were bothering me with being gay, because it was not something that I had discovered myself. This led me to repression, which added to the wrong psychoanalytic experience I had in adolescence, lead me to endure my self-denial. I fought against those who claimed that I was gay and I walked away from the circles where it appeared. I turned into a darker person, apart from the night life, the lives of youth. I never dared to experiment, or even fantasize about it. Finally, at 26, came a time when my unhappiness was very large. I then weighed more than 20 kilos more than I do now, and I felt I had hit bottom. I think I was subconsciously expecting someone to come, a prince, to rescue and help me live my true sexuality. But obviously that prince never came, and I had to go alone the way out of that pit. I started finally a therapy that helped me in that way, it did not repress me. (I take to mean, thank Oscar Peña, my therapist at that time). Once I could accept it I had my first sexual experience. The only good thing about this whole situation was that when I finally decided to live it, I did not blame myself. I could always associate sex with pleasure and happiness, and not the repression that I lived before. Then I stood with my boyfriend. Once a couple, I decided and talked to all my family and friends, in the span of a week. After making about 7 or 8 times the talk of “I have to tell you something”, I decided that I would never make it. I understood that this talk was the same as to ask permission or approval to live my sexuality, and that in any case it was another person’s problem if they did not accept it. Hence, I never hid my sexual orientation, I refused to treat it as something different or special, and I always hung an equality flag. Today I am married with a man I love. And it makes me happy to remember my wedding, I shared it with my whole family, from my grandparents of over 90 years until my nephews, smaller, with many friends and loved ones, who rejoiced and celebrated with me.

(Advice I’d tell my younger self) I’d tell myself to be brave, to be allowed to follow my feelings and not let fear win. That courage always, at least in my experience, brings success.”

Andres, in his own words: En la Argentina y en gran parte de los países occidentales hemos pasado de la penalización de la homosexualidad a la penalización o al menos al rechazo de la homo-fobia. Cuando me empecé a descubrir como gay, la homosexualidad estaba asociada a soledad y sufrimiento. No entendía porque me tocaba a mi, me daba vergüenza y vivía como una condena mi realidad sexual. Como gay debía esconderme o llevar una doble vida, me era difícil contarle a mis amigos que me gustaba un chico en vez de una chica, me resultaba muy difícil decirle a mis padres y a mi familia que estaba enamorado, no podía ni imaginar la posibilidad de caminar por la calle con un novio de la mano, y me era imposible imaginarme la posibilidad de formar una familia. De a poco, con mucho trabajo y esfuerzo, me fui aceptando, fui saliendo del armario, primero con amigos, luego con algún familiar o un compañero de trabajo…fui entendiendo que no necesariamente mi sexualidad significaba rechazo. Fui de-construyendo la concepción de la homosexualidad que la sociedad, la educación y los valores familiares habían implantado en mi cabeza y empecé a descubrir que no estaba sólo, que lo que me pasaba, le pasaba a mucha gente y que se podía ser feliz sin sentirme atraído por alguien del sexo opuesto. Descubrí el amor con otro hombre, la noche y el ambiente, el sexo, la promiscuidad y los códigos de la amistad entre gays. Descubrí que no había nada porque avergonzarse. Mi re-conceptualización de la sexualidad creció mientras crecía mi compromiso por la militancia social y política…y transformé la vergüenza en orgullo. Llegaron las marchas de la diversidad sexual, los debates políticos y la invisibilidad fue reemplazada por visibilidad, el sufrimiento por alegría de vivir, la soledad por sentirse siempre acompañado. Esos amigos, más que amigos se convirtieron en una familia extendida. Y mientras crecía y maduraba como persona, la lucha individual se convirtió en lucha colectiva, la sociedad empezó a cuestionarse sus propias concepciones, y llegaron las leyes: unión civil, matrimonio igualitario y ley de identidad de género. Y con esas leyes, me di cuenta, que todo a lo que había renunciado al aceptar mi realidad sexual cuando era apenas un adolescente, ahora estaba al alcance de mi mano. Pero sobre todo me di cuenta que soy un privilegiado, porque si bien ahora tengo los mismos derechos que un heterosexual, parece como si tuviese muchos más, porque hasta ayer, entre otras cosas, no me podía casar, no podía pensar en adoptar y debía cuidarme en el trabajo por miedo a ser despedido o discriminado. Ser gay para mí significa sentir orgullo, por todo lo que luché contra la vergüenza, la internalizada y la externa. Ser gay significa una re-conceptualización constante, porque debo descubrir y re-descubrir lo que puedo o no puedo por vivir en una sociedad, que aunque avanza, es aún un lugar hostil, producto de años de hetero-normatividad. En definitiva, creo que ser gay en esta época es un descubrimiento constante. Es un eterno construir y de-construir de conceptos.

Como gay el primer desafío y a la vez éxito que se me planteó en la vida fue el de aceptar mi realidad sexual. Utilizo adrede la palabra realidad, y no inclinación, orientación o elección, porque creo que claramente no me representan como sujeto que ejerce su sexualidad. Inclinación u orientación me suenan a eufemismos para nombrar lo nefando y la palabra elección pone a la sexualidad en un lugar de voluntarismo. No creo que la sexualidad se elija, si creo que la voluntad pone al ser humano en el dilema de optar por ejercer su sexualidad o reprimirse. Entonces, volviendo a la esfera personal, creo que mi primer éxito como persona fue plantarme y decir, vivo esto, hago esto y no aquello, me acuesto con un hombre en vez de una mujer.

En Buenos Aires existe la posibilidad de tener una gran vida como gay. Hace mucho que existen lugares gays muy populares, que se llenan de gente. Ir a bailar, salir a tomar algo, y divertirse en grupo, nunca ha sido un problema para mí en mi ciudad. Recuerdo que cuando era más chico, no siempre era fácil moverse como gay en algunas circunstancias. Como en los primeros años no compartía mi realidad sexualidad con mis padres, no les podía decir por ejemplo, que estaba de novio, ni mucho menos tener relaciones sexuales con el en la casa de mis padres, entonces muchas veces terminaba en hoteles alojamiento, y a veces los recepcionistas de estos, te prohibían la entrada. Las muestras de afecto en público representaban cierto peligro y el miedo a la discriminación y al qué dirán eran un limitante de la libertad. Por suerte, la sociedad argentina, especialmente en las grandes urbes, ha evolucionado, y hoy es posible sentirse libre para ser quién uno es.

Mi salida del armario a nivel personal entiendo que se desarrolló con un nivel de inconciencia alto. Tuve a los 18 años algunos encuentros sexuales que viví con cierta culpa e incomprensión por lo que me estaba sucediendo y luego me puse rápidamente de novio y tuve una historia de amor muy larga y profunda. Creo que íntimamente, durante esos años de noviazgo, pensé que lo que me estaba sucediendo, el amar a otro hombre y el sentirme atraído por otros hombres y no por mujeres, era algo pasajero. Pude compartir mi sexualidad con amigos, que en términos generales fueron comprensivos y cariñosos. Sin duda, el obstáculo más grande fue mi familia. La primera vez que hable sobre mi sexualidad con mis padres tenía aproximadamente 24 años. Ya había pasado mucha agua bajo el puente, un noviazgo largo, muchos encuentros sexuales y ya me encontraba transitando mi segundo noviazgo. Claramente, después de mucha terapia psico-análica, ya sabía que lo que me había tocado no era algo pasajero. La bi-sexualidad y claramente la hetero-sexualidad no estaban en el menú de mis opciones. Cuando enfrenté a mis padres por primera vez, utilizó esa palabra a propósito, porque así lo sentía en ese momento, y les conté que era gay, ellos me brindaron todo su apoyo y me dijeron que no me preocupará, que ellos siempre me iban a querer y apoyar. Sin embargo, al poco tiempo, mostraron su preocupación y desaprobación y me ofrecieron ayuda de un psiquiatra, que ellos habían seleccionado, cosa que por supuesto rechacé. Ese fue un momento de mucha crisis en la relación con mis padres. 1 año más tarde, ya no estaba en pareja, y la necesidad de sentirme libre para ejercer plenamente mi sexualidad, me impulsó a vivir con una amiga lesbiana y de alguna manera acelerar la huida de mi hogar familiar.

Me diría a mi mismo, que no tenga miedo, que sea valiente, que sepa que las crisis pasan, y que ser gay no es un castigo ni un lastre que dificulta mis posibilidades de ser feliz. Sin dudas, hubiese compartido mi vida y mi realidad sexual antes de lo que lo hice, con mucha gente. Le diría a esa persona inexperta, que no hay que tenerle miedo al rechazo, que no es necesario que todos comprendan. Le diría que unas de las cosas más importantes en la vida es tener cierto grado de certeza, y que no se puede vivir en la ambivalencia por demasiado tiempo.”

In English: “In Argentina and in most Western countries we have moved from the criminalization of homosexuality to the penalty or at least the rejection of the homo-phobia. When I began to discover I was gay, homosexuality was associated with loneliness and suffering. I did not understand why it touched me, I was ashamed and lived as a condemnation of my sexual reality. A gay should hide or lead a double life, it was hard to tell my friends that I liked a boy instead of a girl, it was very difficult to tell my parents and my family I was in love, I could not imagine the possibility of walking down the street with a boyfriend in hand, and I could not imagine the possibility of forming a family. Gradually, through hard work and effort, I accepted myself, I went out of the closet, first with friends, then with a family member or a coworker … I was not necessarily understanding that my sexuality meant rejection. I was deconstructing the concept of a homosexuality society, education and family values ​​were implanted in my head and I began to discover that not only was that what happened to me, it happened to many people and you could be happy. I found love with another man, the night and the atmosphere, sex, promiscuity and codes of friendship between gays. I discovered that there was nothing to be ashamed of. My re-conceptualization of sexuality grew while growing my commitment to social and political activism, and transformed my shame into pride. Marches reaching sexual diversity, political debates and invisibility were replaced by visibility, suffering joy of life, loneliness always accompanied by feeling. Those friends, more than friends became an extended family. And while growing and maturing as a person, the individual struggle became a collective struggle, society began to question their own conceptions, and soon arrived laws: civil union, gay marriage and gender identity law. And with these laws, I realized that everything I had renounced when accepting my sexual reality when I was a teenager, was now within reach of my hand. But mostly I realized I am privileged because although now I have the same rights as a heterosexual, it seems like I have a lot more, because until yesterday, among other things, I could not get married, I could not think of adopting and should take care at work for fear of being fired or discriminated against. Being gay means to feel pride in myself, for all that I fought the shame, internalized and external. Being gay means a constant re-conceptualization, because I must discover and re-discover what I can or can not live in a society that although advances, is still a hostile place, a product of years of hetero-normativity. In short, I believe that being gay at this time is a constant discovery. It is an eternal construct and deconstruct concepts.

Being gay, the first challenge in life was to accept my sexual reality. I deliberately use the word reality, not inclination, orientation or choice, because I clearly do not represent myself as a person exercising his sexuality. Inclination or orientation sounds like euphemisms to me to name the nefarious and word choice putting sexuality in a place of voluntarism. I do not think sexuality is a choice. Then, returning to the personal sphere, I think my first success as a person was planting myself and saying, I live it, I do this and not that, I sleep with a man instead of a woman.

In Buenos Aires it is possible to have a great life being gay. Long ago there were very popular gay places that were full of people. Going dancing, going for a drink, and having fun in a group, there has never been a problem for me in my city. I remember when I was younger, it was not always easy to move as gay in some circumstances. As in the early years I did not share my true sexuality with my parents, I could not tell them for example that I was dating, let alone to have sex with him in the house of my parents, so then I often ended up in accommodation hotels. Sometimes the receptionists of these would prohibit entry. Displays of affection in public represented a danger and fear of discrimination and of what people would say were limiting freedoms. Fortunately, Argentina society, especially in large cities, has evolved, and today you can feel free to be who you are.

My coming out personally was developed with a high level of unconsciousness. I had come out at 18. I experienced some sexual encounters with some guilt and misunderstanding on what was happening to me and then I quickly found a boyfriend and I had a very long and deep love story. I think intimately, during those years of dating, I thought that what was happening to me, to love another man and be attracted to other men and not to women, was temporary. I could share my sexuality with friends, who were generally supportive and loving. Undoubtedly, the biggest obstacle was my family. The first time I talkd about my sexuality with my parents I was about 24 years. It had been a lot of water under the bridge, a long engagement, many sexual encounters and since I was traveling my second courtship. Clearly, after much análica psycho-therapy, I knew what had hit me was not a fad. The bi-sexuality and hetero-sexuality clearly were not on the menu of my choices. When I confronted my parents for the first time, I used that word on purpose because I felt it at the time, and told them I was gay, they gave me their full support and they told me not worry me, they would always love and support me. However, soon after, they showed their concern and disapproval and offered help from a psychiatrist, they had selected, which of course I refused. That was a moment of great crisis in the relationship with my parents. One year later, I was no longer a couple, and the need to feel free to fully exercise my sexuality, prompted me to live with a lesbian and somehow accelerate the flight of my family home.

I say to my (younger) self, do not be afraid, be courageous, you know that crises happen, and that being gay is not a punishment or a burden that hinders my ability to be happy. Undoubtedly, I should have shared my life and my sexual reality sooner than I did, with many people. I would tell the inexperienced person, we must not be afraid of rejection, it is not necessary that everyone understands. I would say that one of the most important things in life is having some certainty, and not living in ambivalence too long.”

Mauricio, Filmmaker, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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
Mauricio, in his own words: “I remember being just 11 or 12 years old and one night going to bed crying; I had spent the afternoon at one of my closest Friends house hanging out with him and some others Friends from school, at one point (I don’t remember why) one of them said I was weird and different because I liked boys, my other friends agreed but none of us really understood what that meant, all I knew was I was being set apart from the rest of my friends and it hurt. That night my mom asked what was wrong and called my dad into my room, I told them what had happened and how I did not understand why being different was wrong, I was so sad…

Without hesitating my dad said that there was nothing wrong with me and that of course I was different from everyone else, that that’s something we all have in common, differences. Then my mom asked me if I knew exactly what those kids were talking about, I said “I think they were saying I’m gay” and she said no one had the right to tell me what I am, and that if I actually was it was only a part of me to be proud of, like my brown eyes and my large ears. I slept like a baby that night.

I never came out, I just never felt like I had to tell anyone that I’m into guys and not girls, my friends and family know I’m gay because they asked and I said yes; at first I think I avoided confrontation fearing rejection, but happily that didn’t last long, the thing is I grew up surrounded by loving people, I know I’m extremely lucky because of this, and thanks to that I’m a proud young man, kind and confident and in the search of true happiness.

I’m not really in touch with the gay community in Buenos Aires, I try to be aware of what’s happening all the time but I keep my distance, because I respect it so much, I’m still trying to understand myself and when I feel ready I know I want to take an active part in it; years ago I decided I wouldn’t let my sexuality define who I am and I know that people fighting for our rights have been responsible for this being possible and I’m so thankful, but I guess the truth was, until a few years ago, I didn’t want to belong to anything, I just wanted to be free. When the night the marriage equality bill passed I decided I wanted to be there to see it, so I stayed up all night waiting for the results in la Plaza del Congresso, happy, knowing that history was about to happen and that many people were closer to equality in the country I decided to call home. That night I discovered that in order to be happily different everybody has to have chances in life.

I think the only thing I would advise my younger self would be to trust more in people, it took me a while to do it and when it happened I started living life at it’s fullest, closer to happiness surrounded by people whom I love and who love me.”