Tagged: coming out story

Alonso, Economist, Lima, Peru

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Alonso, in his own words: “Ser gay para mi significa ser consecuente conmigo mismo, es decir, pensar, sentir y actuar de la misma forma. Sin duda es lo mas difícil, pero si lo logras te liberas de cargas muy pesadas. Ser gay para mi también significa ser libre e implica una realización personal en todos los aspectos de mi vida.

Mis mayores logros en la vida tienen que ver por un lado con mi vida personal y por el otro con mi vida profesional: Por el lado personal, el hecho de tener una familia unida desde niño junto a mis padres y mis hermanos y el hecho de que me acepten como soy tiene mucho valor para mi. Por el lado profesional, el hecho de haber obtenido el titulo profesional de economista, a pesar de tener una discapacidad física, no muy notoria por cierto, haber concluido la maestría en Bélgica.

Vivi en Bélgica un poco mas de dos años en la universidad de Lovaina lo que permitió conocer a personas de muchos países y una sociedad completamente distinta a la peruana, especialmente en materia de los derechos LGTB. Una sociedad donde todos tienen los mismos derechos. Esta experiencia me ayudó mucho a aceptarme cuando regresé al Perú.

La comunidad Gay en Lima es grande, pero la gran mayoría se encuentra dentro del closet (a veces la mitad a fuera y la mitad adentro), especialmente por miedo al rechazo a la familia o creencias religiosas. (la iglesia tiene mucha influencia en la educación y las decisiones políticas en el Perú). La comunidad esta conformada por mucho grupo y organizaciones con diversos fine y objetivos. No es una comunidad unida, existe mucha discriminación al interior de la mima, lo que no permite dar un mensaje común que represente a todos y todas cuando se hace incidencia política por la lucha de nuestros derechos. Sin embargo, debo señalar que que a pesar de las diferentes opiniones y formas de hacer activismo, la comunidad LGBT la comunidad se muestra unida cuando hay que defender nuestros derechos. Eso es lo mas importante después de todo.

Mi historia para “salir del closet” no tiene nada de espectacular porque mi familia nunca me atacó por ser como soy. Fui yo quien tenia un miedo exagerado de hablar. Decidí hablar con mi madre luego de terminar una relación hace mas de cuatro años. Mis padres sabían que tenía una relación “especial” con un chico y fue cuando mi madre me vio casi llorando que decidí hablar. Fue muy simple, mi madre solo me dijo: Siempre lo supe, ya conocerás alguien especial”. Desde ese día mi madre apoya la lucha por la igualdad de derechos y está muy al tanto de mi trabajo como activista.

El consejo que le daría a los mas jóvenes es que no tengan miedo de lo que sientan. Toda persona pasa por un proceso de aceptación, el cual mucha veces es duro, especialmente cuando hay rechazo por parte de nuestro entorno inmediato, es decir, la familia, la escuela, etc. Creo que es muy importante hablar con alguien, ya sea con un amigo o alguien de confianza en la familia. Ahora existen mucho grupos y organizaciones que brindan apoyo donde uno puede conocer amigos. Lo importante es una persona no se quede callado o no se aisle.”

In English:

“Being gay to me means to be consistent with myself, that is, to think, feel and act the same way. It’s definitely the hardest, but if you succeed you free yourself of heavy loads. Being gay to me also means being free and involves a personal achievement in all aspects of my life.

My greatest achievements in life has to do on one side with my personal life and on the other with my professional life: On the personal side, having a close family as a child with my parents and my brothers and the fact that they accept me as I am is very valuable for me. On the professional side, the fact of having obtained a professional degree in economics, despite having a physical disability, not very visible indeed, and having completed a masters in Belgium.

Living in Belgium a little over two years at the University of Leuven which allowed me to meet people from many countries and experience a completely different society than Peru, especially in the area of ​​LGBT rights. A society where everyone has equal rights. This experience helped me to accept myself when I returned to Peru.

The Gay community in Lima is great, but the vast majority are in the closet (sometimes half outside and half inside), many especially fear rejection by family or religious beliefs. (the church is very influential in education and policy making in Peru). The community is made up of very diverse groups and organizations with fine objectives. It is not a united community, there is a lot of discrimination within the spoils, which does not allow us to represent a common message to everyone when advocacy is the struggle of our rights. However, I must point out that despite the different opinions and ways of doing activism, the LGBT community stands together when we have to defend our rights. That’s the most important thing after all.

My story for “coming out” has nothing spectacular because my family never attacked me for being me. It was I who had an exaggerated fear of speaking. I decided to talk to my mother after ending a relationship over four years ago. My parents knew I had a “special” relationship with a guy and when my mother saw me almost crying I decided to talk. It was very simple, my mom just told me, I always knew, you know someone special From that day my mother supported the struggle for equal rights and is well aware of my work as an activist..

The advice I would give my younger self is not to be afraid of what you feel. Everyone goes through a process of acceptance, which many times is hard, especially when rejection from our immediate environment is a possibility, i.e., family, school, etc. I think it’s very important to talk with someone, either a friend or someone you trust in the family. Now there are a lot of groups and support organizations where you can make friends. The important thing is a person does not remain silent or isolated.”

Eduardo, Social Media/Educational Projects, Lima, Peru

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
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: “Ser gay para mí significa entender que todos somos diferentes y que el mundo no es como te lo pintan las convenciones sociales. Es muchísimo más. Es algo que sabemos todos los gays desde que somos niños. Y es una gran lección.

Uno de mis principales obstáculos ha sido enfrentarme a una sociedad tan represiva como la peruana. Pero es lo que me toca y le doy la pelea todos los días siendo yo mismo.

Sigue siendo muy difícil ser LGBTIQ en el Perú pero hay progresos. Creo que la coyuntura de la Unión Civil contribuyó con la visibilidad de nuestro colectivo y además colaboró con la apertura gradual de la sociedad civil en general. Hay grandes desafíos hacia adelante pero las transformaciones sociales toman su tiempo.

Les dije a mis papás que era gay apenas terminé el colegio pero al igual que yo, siempre supieron. Ellos están bien. Solo quieren que sea feliz. Es la misma apuesta que tengo yo en la vida: ser feliz.

¿Qué consejo me daría a mí mismo? Pasa más tiempo con tu familia. La voy a cagar muchas veces y está bien que sea así, pero tengo que aprender de cada error. Se que suena difícil y que el mundo parece un gran problema cuando eres más joven pero me diría que todo va a mejorar. El mundo se ve mejor a los 33. Disfruta de tu vida sin responsabilidades, mientras puedas. Sé una buena persona. Relájate. Dile a ese chico que te gusta. Se feliz.”

In English:

“Being gay to me means understanding that everyone is different and that the world is not only as you paint it in social conventions. It is much more. Being gay is something that we all know since we were children. And it’s a great lesson.

One of my biggest obstacles has been to confront such a repressive society like Peru. But it is what touches me and I have to fight every day just to be myself.

It remains very difficult to be LGBTIQ in Peru but there is progress. I think the situation of the Civil Union contributed to the visibility of our collective and also assisted with the gradual opening of the civil society in general. There are great challenges ahead but social changes take time.

I told my parents I was gay just as I finished school, but I always knew. They are fine. They just want me to be happy. It’s the same desire that I have in life: to be happy.

What advice would I give my younger myself? Spend more time with your family. I’m going to mess up often and rightly so, but I have to learn from every mistake. I know it sounds difficult and the world seems like a big problem when you’re younger, but I would say that everything will improve. The world looks better at 33. Enjoy your life without responsibilities, while you can. Be a good person. Relax. Tell that guy that you like. Be happy.”

Michael and Rob, Canyon Country, California

Michael and Rob, photo by Kevin Truong
Michael and Rob, photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Rob and Michael, photo by Kevin Truong
Rob and Michael, photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Michael and Rob, photo by Kevin Truong
Michael, in his own words:“Being gay is an attribute like many other attributes, it’s part of who we are, but it isn’t the whole of who we are. Although we, and many others, have faced and overcome challenges as a result of being gay, being attracted to men doesn’t define us unless we allow it. That said, being “gay” is so much more than being attracted to men. Because of the struggle that often comes with it, being gay is to be a master of the heart because you’ve spent so much time repairing your own, being gay means perseverance when everyone is telling you to give up, it means honesty in being true to yourself, it means empathy to those who may have shared your struggle, and it means pride in the value you bring, just as you are, to the community, to your profession, and to your family.

Understanding that I was gay (Michael) took much longer than most and as a result it caused a lot of turmoil in my life and the lives of those around me. Finding a loving, honest relationship, one that feeds my soul and makes me a better person is the single greatest success I’ve realized. I am a very lucky man.

By the time I came out (18 years ago) I had been a leader in the church, I was pre-med, I had been married and divorced, and had experienced such emotional struggles with who I was and who I was expected to be that I simply didn’t want to fight anymore; several times I reached the point that I simply thought that life shouldn’t have to be so hard to live. I had the sense to go get professional counseling, I surrounded myself with people who really did care about me and I got through it. I appreciate my life now so much more because of those hard times and my heart breaks for so many kids that don’t make it through. Coming out is different for everyone and it’s very personal. The key is to remember that life is worth living and you can make it because there are people that want to see you happy, even if they can’t express it the way you need to hear it.

Gays in Canyon Country? I thought we were the token gays here . I really have no idea. We have so many loving straight neighbors that we don’t want for much in Canyon Country. We have our close gay friends that live around the country that we see regularly but in Canyon Country it’s just us and the alpacas; we like it that way I think.

(Advice I’d give my younger self)
a. Calm down, don’t be in such a hurry; spend more time finding yourself and your passions.
b. Don’t be afraid to love – getting it right takes practice,
c. Don’t be afraid to trust-you will be taken advantage of so just get it out of the way now, there are lessons to be learned there,
d. Save more money- growing old with good taste is expensive.”

A Note From Alan and Josh, in Greenville, PA…

“I was raised a real country boy; I learned how to drive a tractor before a car! I always knew I was gay; not all 12 year old boys imagine they’re Judy Garland performing “Over the Rainbow” as the lovable hobo during her Carnegie Hall performance! It wasn’t easy growing up for me; I was called a “faggot”, I had rocks thrown at me, I was pushed into lockers and I hated myself. I never thought I would be able to happy; I thought that being gay was a curse. I have a very supportive family; they loved me before I came out and after. Not all gay boys’ redneck-gun-toting-nascar-football-enthusiast accepts them after they admit the like boys. I survived high school and moved on to college. I had all but given up on finding a relationship; that was until freshman orientation.

I’m not a believer in love at first sight; but, when I turned around at a boring informational meeting I saw him. He smiled at me and that was it. After the meeting I ran back to my dorm room and found him on Myspace, it used to be a thing, his name is Josh! I got his instant messenger and was just about the message him; when he beat me to the punch. From that moment we were inseparable. The four years flew by. We finished school and moved to the city. To live the life I thought I wanted. We quickly found out that graduating with a bachelor’s degree during an economical repression was not easy. We began fighting; and grew apart. I thought moving back to Greenville would solve our problems and it did, for a little bit. Life after college still proved to be hard; we jumped from job to job and then the lying and the cheating started.

The constant lying and dodging had come to a halt when we had to finally admit that we weren’t happy. We broke up; I tried dating, but every guy I met for coffee, dinner, or terrible Channing Tatum movie couldn’t compare to Josh.

On January 10, 2013 I realized just how much Josh meant to me. I got the phone call that changed everything. Josh’s smart car was struck from the right side when a semi-truck failed to stop at a red light. He was in a coma for 18 days; I sat by his side every night. I waited for him to wake up-all I wanted to see were those bright blue eyes and that smile that I had fallen in love with. Life had come to a halt as I waited. Friends and family rallied together to give me support. When he first woke up; I was getting ready to leave for the night. I told him good night and that I loved him; his eyes shot opened, he grabbed my hand and mouthed “I love you”. It was love at second sight; I knew that we what we had and what we have is real love. For three months our lives became an endless cycle of doctors, hospitals, and rehabs. Josh finally came home in March and is making a full recovery.

Our lives are slowly settling back into some semblance of normalcy. We are planning on getting married next year. Our lives will never be the same; there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about the accident and how lucky I am to still have the love of my life. I also now realize how important our fight is; when I first arrived at the hospital I was almost denied from seeing Josh; they barely gave me information and his parents had talked about moving him back home. These are things that devastate me still.

I can’t wait to marry Josh; the love of my life. This is just the beginning of our story; I can’t wait to where it takes us.”

photo by Alan and Josh
photo by Alan and Josh

photo provided by Alan and Josh
photo provided by Alan and Josh

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. “

Mark, Manager/Buyer, 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

Mark, in his own words: “I just love being gay. I love that I have the gay gene and that it makes me in demand. People want my opinion and my advice. Suddenly I’m an expert on everything fabulous.

Gay in the 80’s was not like being gay today. I was called sissy, faggot, a bitch.

At 17 I met Cole who was 35, and I came out to my Mother. She said my love is unconditional for you, but who is this man? He was a butcher who worked for my sister in law’s family and I wanted to move in with him. He was older and experienced and he swept me off my feet. After a month we traveled across the US to Vermont to meet his family. It was a great incredible time of my life. I was free, away from home and on my own.

We moved back to LA and I found out that he was a cheater and a Liar. I met Bobby who was also gay, and we lived as platonic roommates for 8 years. But during this time I did not date at all. I surrounded myself with female friends and straight people. I was a straight hag. I was not living the life of a gay man, but I plunged into my art and found a creative outlet in oil painting, 3-D triptych art, and collages. This I incorporate today in window display and visual merchandising.

At 26 I moved into West Hollywood and started living life for the first time as a gay man and opportunities started arising. I came out to my employer and this allowed me to be more myself at work. I was comfortable in my skin and clients would set me up on dates.

The ducks were in a row, but that does not make it easy. I was afraid to date or go to a bar by myself. Although I wanted a relationship I had to deal with my own insecurities. I still had a hurdle to overcome before I could have my happy ending.

2 years ago I was united with a sister that had never been in my life. She is a lesbian with 3 kids and her partner has 3 kids too. They joined houses and formed the Gaydy Bunch, like the tv show. My new nephew just came out at 13 and he did it in such a supportive and loving environment. What a great time this is for him. It is very brave of him.

I feel so normal in that I’m considerate, kind and I want a loving life-long partnership. That’s what I’m looking for now. At 50, I’m insecure since most 50 year olds want a 20 something and I don’t.”

Rodney and Donald, Account Executive and Manager/Buyer, 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

Rodney and Donald, in their own words: “We’re Donald and Rodney and we met and fell in love right away. Once we had the legal opportunity to get married, we jumped at the chance. A short time after California’s Proposition 8 took that right away again for others, but our marriage stayed and was grandfathered in.

We love being married, but it causes us great pain that others cannot marry too. We hold out hope for a time when anyone can marry anyone.

Donald: I was kicked out of the House at 17 because I was gay, but I soon found that you can make up your own family out of friends of your choosing. The gay community was there for me. I’ve always been close to my siblings and today I’m welcomed by my whole family, now that they’re enlightened.

Rodney: I was fortunate to have great support from my family, but when I moved away I felt like I was on my own. I learned to just be exactly who I was and in doing so, my true friends became apparent.

Both Donald and I came to Los Angeles as young men, within 2 years of each other and made it our home. Donald from Oklahoma, myself from Michigan. We love LA, the entertainment Capitol, and West Hollywood in particular. We love our circle of friends and going out, yet we also enjoy the romance of staying home and cooking in.”

Michael, Photography Association President and Consultant, 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

Michael, in his own words: “When I was seven or eight years old my parents built one of the first homes in a new subdivision in Oklahoma City. I used to hide in its garage and watch the bare-chested construction workers frame newer houses through the window, positioning myself so they couldn’t see me, but so I could spy on them with my binoculars (not purchased for this purpose of course). I think that’s when I knew I had feelings that weren’t “normal” and that I shouldn’t share them with anyone else. I also loved purloining copies of my dad’s “True – The Man’s Magazine” from his nightstand and poring over the brawny men illustrated on the covers and feature stories fighting alligators and performing heroic deeds while always bare-chested. To this day, the mere words “bare-chested” elicit a rise in me.

So, I suppose the thought that I might be gay was always lurking in the back of my mind. But I didn’t call it gay or anything else for that matter. It was just my secret passion for men’s bodies. My dad, a very handsome man, had many handsome friends who gathered once a month to have “jam sessions” and play favorite big band songs popular when they fought in World War II: Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. These were real men’s evenings where there was much drinking, non-stop smoking and language and stories not for children. But I loved seeing and hearing them and begged to be allowed to stay up a bit later once in a while to watch. On one of those special nights, my mother and I were sitting on the steps leading into our “sunken” living room listening to their stylings. I was absentmindedly stroking my eyebrow with my index finger. My mother told me to stop doing that immediately. “Why?” I asked. “Because that’s how homosexuals signal each other,” she said.

And suddenly I thought, she knows! How can she know??

Well, she didn’t really know then although she suspected later as I found out. But it was enough to make me keep my guard up for several years. So I suppressed that side of me and went off to college determined to sleep with women and have a girlfriend and I did just that. But I still couldn’t keep my eyes off the cute and often bare-chested college boys, one in particular named Gerald. Gerald had already had a boyfriend before so he was a likely target. And then one drug-drenched night at a friend’s house in the country we wandered off to get away from the psychedelic madness. Two men went into the woods and came out changed forever at dawn the next day. And it had been the most natural, delightful and satisfying experience I’d ever had. I only wondered why I’d waited so long.

I didn’t so much “come out” as just be out. Fortunately for me, it was natural and easy. I found immediate and full acceptance from friends and family as they became aware. I know it’s often a much harder path for others so I feel lucky. I’m enthralled with the changing attitudes and acceptance in our society regarding gays and same-sex marriage. It’s clear the younger generation don’t find those distinctions important or relevant any more, so that today’s younger gay generation and those who follow can just be themselves naturally.”

A Note From Adam, in Phoenix, AZ…

I work for the Catholic Church as a Choir director. Five years ago upon my hire, I was quick to come out to my boss, thinking it best to be forthright. He told me he knew when he hired me, and then off handedly added, “I suspect you will use discretion in your relating to the parishioners?” Knowing he meant nothing intentionally demeaning in his token of seemingly friendly advice, I feared it would be a detriment to my growing in self actualization, but decided nonetheless to carry on in my musical pursuits.

To my delight, I found that a great number of people in the pews could not careless to many of the mainline teachings of the church and were more interested in a genuine encounter with God, or something higher than themselves, than they were with whom people choose to love, sleep with, or with being told how to treat followers of other faith traditions, or whether or not practicing safe sex was safe morally. Greater still, I found generally that those who were attracted to the music program and choirs were more accepting even still, often with children, relatives, or they themselves gay.

To be certain, I have had my less than accepting moments. In the beginning when older churchgoers would try to set me up with their granddaughters, I grew tiresome of telling people that I was considering the priesthood and am taking necessary time to discern. Perhaps a shameful and easy answer, I did not feel like coming out on Sunday mornings after only one cup of coffee. Perhaps the most scathing incident was a letter and petition that asked for my immediate removal simply because I was a homosexual and worked with children’s. It was, in his words, an abomination, and I might turn the children into little gay, sexually perverse monsters simply by daring to breath the same air they breathed. (As a side note, that man who called for my dismissal would later ask for my forgiveness for his hateful, intolerant actions). But it was the love of first group I mentioned, and the sometimes impossible hope of the just described conversion, that kept me going.

As to practicing discretion, it became a non-issue. I found people have a way of looking into your eyes that tell you all you need to know, at least people who have come to know in some way the depths of their own selves. There exists a matured depth to their gaze that says ‘I love you just the way God made you.’ The shallower eyes, by contrast, lack that depth and level of self- awareness, being content to simply into ecclesial line, leaving their conscious in a doctrinal box underneath their canonically surveillanced bedrooms.

So why do I continue working for an institution that historically condemns? I love choral music. I love teaching. And I love people seeing their spiritual evolution. To shake the same hand of man that also penned a petition for my removal, in a display of forgiveness, acceptance and mutual respect offers profound hope to me. My cynicism for the intolerance evolved (as I am still a work in progress) into a patient hope of conversion through love. The eyes of the blind really can be opened. Hearts can and do change.

photo provided by Adam
photo provided by Adam

Rudy, Owner of Big Boy Vintage, 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

Rudy, in his own words: “I think the queer scene in LA is very diverse and yet can be segregated at the same time. What I love about it though is that it is something that just keeps evolving and if you don’t see yourself as part of any scene you can create it. I know so many rad queer people in this city who have created spaces for people to gather or be creative. That is not to say that I don’t get nary or frustrated at times with the gay scene in Los Angeles but that’s a whole other story.

I grew up in East LA and am the youngest of eight. Growing up my parents instilled a very strong work ethic. They also made me believe I could do anything I set my mind to. As I grew up here in the states I began to see things a little differently than most of my family. I was drawn to Punk as it seemed to be the outlet I needed to express myself. I knew I was gay at a young age and kinda just accepted it. It was hard for my parents to deal with me and my crazy clothes, music, and way of living that I never really thought about coming out. Eventually I was forced to come out and it did not go over very well. Though as the years have gone by my parents have accepted me for the person I am. They are proud to call me their son. I am still that Mexicano Queer Punk teen at heart and I would not have it any other way. Lastly everything that I have ever done or accomplished in life is a direct result of that work ethic/I can do anything attitude I learned from my parents.”

Big Boy Vintage