Tagged: canada

Simon, Sales Director, Montreal, Canada

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
Simon, in his own words: “Être homosexuel, bon ou mauvais ou les deux ? Le plus difficile est de l’accepter pour soi-même. Après l’acception il reste à l’intégrer, une fois intégré on y trouve du bon, on grandit et on se dit qu’il y a pire que ça dans la vie !

Ça débute par faire le deuil de notre idéal de vie que l’on c’était imaginé dès le jeune âge, d’un modèle de famille qu’on croyait facilement réalisable. La frustration et la colère s’emparent de nous et nous fait regarder en l’air pour envoyer chier le bon dieu de nous imposer un tel défi. On voudrait négocier avec lui un cancer, voir même une amputation en remplacement de ce mal étrange et intense qui nous habite. On cherche à qui s’identifier dans ce nouvel univers d’hyper sexualisation auquel on n’a pas envie d’adhérer malgré la pression qui nous y pousse. On est confronté à nos propres préjugés, on se déconstruit pour retrouver une nouvelle identité, on tente de se trouver de nouveaux repères, non sans peur, angoisse ni vertige.

Puis on se dévoile au grand jour, on cesse de se mentir et de mentir aux autres, sauf à sa grand-mère trop vieille pour comprendre, on fait face aux préjugés, les nôtres et ceux des autres, on a peur d’aimer, de s’ouvrir, on se le reproche et on renvoie chier le bon dieu, on s’achète un pantalon trop serré et on le rapporte au magasin. L’ambiguïté s’installe entre ce qui est normal et malsain, on avance et on revient sur nos pas.

Et puis un jour on aperçoit la lumière au bout du tunnel, on respire une bonne bouffée d’air. On se regarde dans le miroir et enfin on aime assez ce qu’on y voit. On regarde derrière sans avoir envie d’y retourner. Finalement on se reconstruit dans une authenticité qui nous réjouit et on se rend compte qu’on ne le déteste pas tant que ça ce Christ. On prend conscience que ce détour obligatoire nous a fait voyager à travers nous-même, nous a permis de s’ouvrir aux autres, de s’ouvrir à la différence, on se sent entier et enfin libre. Alors on desserre les poings et on trouve que tout ça en valait la peine.”

In English:

“Being gay, is it good, bad, or both? The hardest part of being gay is accepting yourself. Once that’s done, you can integrate your sexuality into your daily life, you grow, and you realize that there are worst things in life than being gay!

As a child we have this ideal of what a family is, and we assume that we’ll easily attain that dream, but the realization that you’re gay turns that notion on its head – in the beginning. We lose ourselves to anger and frustration, cursing a god that would impose such a harsh life on us. We try to negotiate with him, maybe a cancer, or an amputation, anything to rid ourselves of these strange feelings that have taken hold. We search for someone to identify with in this new hyper-sexualized world, a world we want no part of, despite the pressure we feel to conform to it. We face our own prejudices, and in the process we deconstruct ourselves to find a new identity, and new support systems, without fear or anxiety.

Then the big day comes, we stop lying to ourselves and to everyone else, well, maybe not grandma, she’s too old to understand; we face prejudice, both our own and those of others, we’re afraid to love, or to open up, and we blame ourselves, and again, we curse god, we buy those skinny jeans that are much too tight, only to return them. Ambiguity settles in between what is right and wrong, we take one step forward and two steps back.

Then one day, we see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we can finally breathe. Our reflection in the mirror is finally one that we can tolerate, more than that, we see someone that we finally like. We look back on the past without longing to return to it. Eventually we find happiness being our authentic self, and acknowledge that maybe we were a little hard on God earlier. We realize that this detour was necessary and forced us to examine ourselves, it let us open ourselves to others, it helped us to accept our differences, and we finally feel free. We can now let go of all that tension we held, and we find that it was all worth it.”

Mitsuhiro, Purchasing Superviser, Vancouver B.C., Canada

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

Mitsuhiro, in his own words: “For a long time, being gay meant obstacles, fear, depression and hatred, and even now this is something I sometimes have to face. I also can say being gay means moments of joy, love, affection, excitement and peace, when I am with someone who I love, or I am surrounded with friends who accept me just as who I am.

Having said that, being gay is simply one element of me. I used to think being gay gave me an extra obstacle in my life, so I thought my life was more difficult than others’, but apparently not. Being gay doesn’t define me completely, it is only a part of me, but it is a part that completes me and gives me strength to live my life. All the negativity I heard and felt were obstacles once, but I always figured out how to deal with it. To help me do that, I was lucky enough to have people to help me.

In other words, being gay brought me understanding friends who have gone through similar experiences and accepted me just as a person. Sharing experiences and getting advice helped me to be the person who I wanted to be. All their support helped me lay my foundation, and I am still building myself.

Being gay gives me more freedom to explore the world and encounter people from all around. I have met people in difference circumstances and some people were very inspiring. I believe that there is no coincidence, that all encounters and incidents have meaning. This is probably the greatest upside of being gay.

Now there is so much happening all over the world: People are finally gaining equal rights in the US. “Marriage Equality” and “Equal Rights” are great terms and are the right way to think about these issues. I hope Pride Day one day becomes about celebrating all people just for who they are, where I can be proud of myself as being gay because I’m proud of myself as a human being. That is my goal.

My first relationship lasted about 6 years, including three years of long distance. We were young. One day everything was so delightful, but the next day everything became dramatic. Once he went abroad to work, three years of long distance changed everything. I don’t remember how I managed my emotions for three years, but sad to say I failed to maintain the relationship. I tried to reach out to him, but he didn’t respond, so I gave in. To be honest, I gave up on him.

After a while, I met someone and we were in a relationship for 2 years. That was my second and last relationship so far. I actually liked myself in this relationship because I learned and grew a lot. I was so dramatic, very emotional and more self-centred before, but I somehow figured out what should be like loving someone. I guess I learned how to put myself in someone else’s shoes. He moved away to pursue his career and he tried to keep a long distance relationship, which I never would have expected. I appreciated these efforts, but it didn’t last long and we ultimately broke up. I chose to never see him again, but he brought two very important people into my life, so now I am looking forward to seeing him again one day to say, “Thank you”.

I fell in love with someone after being single for many years. That was the first time I fell in love at first sight. I thought it was just a crush, but it wasn’t. Unfortunately it was only felt in one direction. I don’t want to disclose more details, but I wanted to mention him because he became important to me by helping me realize that I still have the power to love, and teaching me happiness can be found in any circumstances. (It’s actually tough to think that way sometimes, but I’m trying my best. Haha!)

I am still looking for my soulmate. Knock knock! Are you out there? lol

I don’t really know what the gay community is like (in Vancouver) now. The older I get, the less I go out. I gradually stopped being in the “scene” so much.

I bet it has been changed since I was in my 20’s. It is more diverse since the internet become more popular and social networking system revolutionized the gay community, including Vancouver. I can’t deny that it changes my social circle as well.

This isn’t really a comment on the gay community here, it’s more that I never really laid roots here. I’m still trying to figure out how to fit in, not just in the gay community, but in society in general. I realize not that fitting in is not about the place, but is about figuring out who you are and having confidence in yourself. With these things, you will be fine no matter where you are (although there are still places where it is not safe to be out).

(Coming out) This was the toughest thing in my life.

To come out to myself.

I knew I was different but I didn’t know I was gay. It was hidden in a dark room for a long time until I moved to Canada at the age of 25. I met a Canadian guy who wanted to learn Japanese and I wanted to learn English. We started as language exchange partners at the beginning and became friends.

One day I was invited over to his place and to watch some movies. In the middle of the movie, he kissed me and we ended up making out. I didn’t mind; it was rather nice indeed. And that was how I came out to myself. It did, however, take a long time to accept myself because society, my community, and my circle of friends didn’t allow me to do so. Most likely, I was scared of not knowing where coming out was going to lead. My idea of being gay was something unacceptable, discriminated and hated.

It took me a half a year to start going out to gay clubs and bars. I had no gay friends except the Canadian guy, so it was a big relief to meet other gay guys, especially Japanese gay guys. It made me feel better to know that I was not alone.

To come out to my best friends.

My best friend came from Japan to visit me in Vancouver in 1996. He actually came here to ask my opinion about his relationships with two girls (very bad lol). He was with one girl for a long time but it was a long-distance relationship, while he met another girl at his work and was considering marrying her. I kind of knew that he didn’t come here to ask my opinion, he basically needed me to affirm his decision.

The last day before he left for Japan, I felt I needed to tell him about myself. He came all the way here to share a big life decision. Yes, I need to tell him! Oh my god, words didn’t come out of my mouth for 5 to 6 hours and all I told him was unimportant bullshit. He must have been so suspicious. Finally I confessed to him, and there was a silence for a while, maybe only a few seconds, but it felt like forever. Then he broke the silence and said “It’s okay. You are the same person I’ve known for a long time and it won’t change a bit.” He also mentioned that things I said before make sense to him. What did I say? I didn’t remember at all.

I told him not tell anyone, but he couldn’t keep it in himself and told another friend of ours, and I was glad he did. Knowing the fact that they accepted me as a person, and nothing changed a bit, gave me so much relief. We are still best friends although we rarely see each other.

To come out to my family.

After while, I came out to my sister. She is only a year younger than I am, so we basically grew up just like twins. She wanted everything I had and wanted to play with me and my friends, but I hated it so much. So we fought a lot when we were kids. I think I was a very mean brother to her. The older we became, the relationship got better, especially after I moved to Canada, and we started talking more.
Anyway, she was surprisingly cool about it. I guess I was more shocked than she was.

I was picked on sometimes when I was a kid. Bullying is not something new; kids can be very cruel. Some called me “jellyfish,” “queer” or “sissy boy.” It is funny that they already sensed that I was “queer” long before I found out about myself.

My sister and I grew up with a stern father, and he often lost his temper when my sister and I started fights. He wanted me to be strong. He put me in a baseball team and a martial arts club. Feeling afraid of my father, I was a boy trying to get my parents’ approval and make them proud. My parents ran a bar at night, so my grandma raised my sister and me. At 12 we moved to a new house a little farther from the bar, so we sometimes didn’t see each other for a week even though we lived under the same roof. The lack of communication with my parents affected my relationship with my family.

When I reached 15, I stopped being a good son. My grades dropped and I barely graduated from high school so I couldn’t attend the university I wanted. I could have gone to some other universities. After 2 years studying for the university entrance exams, I didn’t feel right with what I was doing, so I quit. I was lost for 2 years; I lost all my confidence and my motivation in Japan. I was looking for a way out. Then I found the way, it was “coming to Canada.” Some people said I was refusal to face reality, but for me it was facing reality.

I suppose a part of me always knew my sexual orientation. When I look back, I believe that I needed to leave everything behind so I could free myself. After I left Japan, I was so relieved and I didn’t miss home much. I felt more delightful being away from my family rather than missing them.

In a few weeks, it will be 20 years anniversary since I moved to Canada.
I came here to find who I am and now, ironically, I feel like going back to my origin. I was debating whether it was better for my parents know about me or not. If they would suffer from knowing that I am gay, maybe I should just shut my mouth and spare them. But I am starting to think they have a right to know about me. When I think about it, I feel it would be a pity that they would leave this world without knowing anything about me. I will probably never understand what being a parent is like, but as I get older, I understand a bit what they think about children.

I recently learned that my mom has colorectal cancer and it spread to her liver. My dad also had a surgery for his cancer in 2012.
It is time… my real coming out story is “coming out” soon, I hope.

(Advice I’d give to my younger self)

“Remember you had heard ‘Welcome’ when you were born.”
**from a song called “誕生”(Tan-jo which means ‘Birth’) by 中島みゆき (Miyuki Nakajima, a Japanese Singer)

Marc-Antoine, Montreal, Canada

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

Marc-Antoine, in his own French words: « Ce qu’on doit chercher à savoir, c’est de quelle façon on doit vivre sa vie pour qu’elle soit la meilleure possible. »

– Socrate

«…et cela s’applique à tous, dans toutes les cultures et tous les pays. Je suis très choyé d’habiter dans une ville où les gens sont ouverts d’esprit et conscients des droits et liberté de chacun. À Montréal, être gai est assez bien accepté, très bien accepté même. Il n’y a que très peu de discrimination et la communauté homosexuelle est très présente. J’irais même jusqu’à dire qu’ici, les homophobes sont jugés bien plus sévèrement que les homosexuels!

Pourtant, même ici, faire son « coming out » n’est pas toujours simple. J’ai fais le mien à 20 ans. Aujourd’hui, avec du recul, je me demande pourquoi avoir attendu si longtemps?
Évidemment, j’étais très anxieux de la réaction de mes proches. Originaire de Lévis, j’ai décidé qu’en déménageant à Montréal, il était temps de me débarrasser du fardeau de ce secret. J’ai décidé que le meilleur pour moi était d’être fidèle à moi-même. J’étais gai.

Peu importe combien j’aimais les gens autour de moi, je me suis dis que mes vrais proches m’accepteraient comme je suis. Et ils l’ont tous fait, ils m’ont tous aimé autant et parfois même encore plus, sans exception.

Je souhaite le meilleur du monde à tous et aujourd’hui particulièrement à tous les homosexuels, qu’ils soient « out » ou non. Trouvez le meilleur pour vous, la vie est belle et la liberté existe.»

Marc-Antoine

English translation:

“What we need to know is how to live a life to make it the best possible.”

– Socrate

… And this applies to everyone, in every culture and every country. I am very fortunate to live in a city where people are open-minded and aware of the rights and freedoms of everyone. In Montreal, being gay is pretty well accepted, even very well accepted. There is very little discrimination and the gay community is very present. I would even say that here, homophobic are judged more harshly than homosexuals!

Yet even here, to “come out” is not always simple. I came out at the age of 20. Today, in retrospect, I wonder why I waited so long.

Obviously, I was very anxious for the reaction of my family and friends. Originally from Levis, I decided when I moved to Montreal that it was time to rid myself of the burden of this secret. I decided that the best thing for me was to be true to myself. I was gay.

I was scared of losing friends or family, but I knew that those who really love me would love me as I am. And they all did, they all loved me as much and maybe even more, without exception.
I wish the best to the entire world today and particularly to all homosexuals, whether they are “out” or not. Find the best for you, life is beautiful and there is freedom.”

Marc-Antoine