Tagged: czech republic

Štěpán, Student/Publisher, Prague, Czech Republic

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Štěpán, in his own words: “I remember all the days I spent in bed with my laptop. I desperately needed proof that all the stuff I felt was a real thing. I didn’t doubt my homosexuality. At the age of fifteen I was pretty sure that I was gay. I just felt so alone. I was searching online for what I could not find in real life. I was looking for love because I didn’t see it anywhere around me. Well, I saw a plenty of love except the gay love. I was living with my parents in a small village, so it’s no surprise that I couldn’t find any gay guys. I had nobody to talk to and I felt like gay love was something virtual, something I couldn’t achieve in real life.

However, to me being gay doesn’t mean being alone. I was a lonely gay boy once but these times are over. I still feel lonely once in a while. But we all do every now and then, I guess.

For me, to be gay has more sides. The first side is public. By saying ‘I am gay’ I am making a public statement. These three words mean that I am not hiding, that my life is not in contradiction to my feelings. This is not important just for me but also for the wider group of guys who remain in closet afraid of coming out. This declaration is my strongest weapon.

The other side is more personal, intimate. It’s hiding my more vulnerable self. The one I’m not usually showing to other people. The one which craves for all that things my heterosexual friends had. First teenage love, first dates, first innocent public kiss. And of course those things my heterosexual friends will have. Marriage, family. This face is my inner struggle to believe that I can live a happy life even as a gay man. I don’t feel these doubts often but they are still a part of me, no matter how irrational they are.

So after all what being gay really means for me is being little an activist all the time. Being visible and open about my life.

Luckily a lot of things went good for me during the last year. I moved to Prague. I am studying at a university. My short article in which I incidentally outed myself got published in a national magazine. And I found love (and I lost it but that is a different story). When I look back now I find it unbelievable how things have changed. For the first time in my life I feel like everything is as it should be. I am incredibly grateful for that. But besides being grateful I think I owe something to my younger self. To that lonely young guy who felt so lost. And I’ve found a way how to pay this debt. As I said before — by saying ‘I am gay’ out loud, one can affect a whole community. I don’t want to waste that opportunity. So I’ve decided to publish my own zine about gay men. A zine that would show ordinary stuff which gay guys have to deal with every day.

But this zine would be more than just paying off. I miss an honest image of the gay community in local media. Even the gay media promote prejudice. They are trying to sell so they mostly write about sex. I would like to change that as I feel that showing stories of gay men without making them obscene, without the need to provoke, can positively affect the attitude of the society towards the community.

Back then in the first year of high school I was fighting with my dad a lot. Once we had an awful argument. I remember him saying

“You’ve been so overly emotional ever since childhood. So unnatural.”

I told him that the word unnatural is so hurtful when you are gay.

“Is it true?” he asked me quietly. “Are you gay?”

“Yeah, I am pretty sure,” I said and left the room. Then I didn’t speak to him for a whole month. So from a present day perspective it seems that he was kind of right. I was a drama queen.

But despite the dreadful beginning, my parents never judged me for who I am. For long time we didn’t discuss my sexuality. But that changed when I told my mother how important is for me to share my private life with her and dad. Since then she’s been truly supportive.

Prague actually seems pretty queer friendly to me. The queer community is most visible during August when Prague Pride is held. For the rest of the year the community seems to be more invisible and sometimes even looks like a private party. However, there is a lot of events happening during the year. Nevertheless, Prague isn’t that big, so after some time you feel like you know everyone because you always meet same folks.

If I had to chance to speak to myself at the age of sixteen, I would say “Fuck Grindr.” You are still a boy and these guys will fuck you and leave you. And you will feel like shit. You will blame yourself. You will think you can’t find love. And you will blame yourself again. And even years after that you will still think that it was all your fault.”

Alexander, Prague, Czech Republic

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Alexander, in his own words: “Being gay is a part of my identity. I did not choose to be gay as well as I did not choose my skin colour, body shape or mother tongue. I would love to say that it as simple as having blue eyes for example, but things are more complicated when it comes to your sexual orientation, of course. I understand it as an integral part of me nowadays. I am not ashamed of being gay nor do I take pride in it, because it does not make me any special, better or worse than others.

It has not, however, always been like this. It took me a lot of time to come to terms with my own sexuality. Most of the challenges of being gay I have faced in my life were only in my head. I spend my growing up years living in self-denial as I unconsciously separated my fantasies and desires from the unreal picture I had of myself. It was a foolish mistake. What you long for will always eventually find you, so I gradually learned to embrace who I am. Even though I did not come out to my parents until last year, my hardest coming out was coming out to myself.

The society has not helped me much with my feelings of insecurity. Although it is true that the Czechs are tolerant and Prague is a gay paradise compared to the most parts of the world, this tolerance comes with a price. It is rather ignorance than acceptance. I feel that this is a deeper issue connected to disappearance of ideas and values from our modern democracy. It is easy to tolerate something unusual by overlooking it, but to genuinely embrace something strange is another story. It involves leaving your prejudices, which, I am afraid, cannot be enforced by any law.

Gay marriage or adoption is not on the table here right now and the limited public discussion which we have is carried out quite poorly. LGBT rights do not establish any special privileges for a small group of people as some media or even activists claim. On the contrary, their purpose is to eliminate a shameful discrimination against minority which is legally in force now. LGBT rights are universal human rights and therefore we must fight for them at any cost, because we are human, after all. Some of us just happen to be queer.”

Jany, Prague, Czech Republic

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Jany, in his own words: “I hope (being gay) still means the same to me what it did when I came out to myself. The great possibility of finding a guy for me. The hope that my sexy teenage dreams can actually come true! The luxury of enjoying true love, or at least chasing it. And the excitement from all of it.

I come from a small town in South Bohemia where being gay simply did not exist in the 90’s or early 00’s. My parents are teachers and my older brother is a miraculous science geek. I think both these facts made me strive for other people’s praise more than is right. I dreamt “dirty dreams” about boys since my teens but it took me more than 10 years to acknowledge being gay is a purer lifestyle than pretending to be hetero. Now I’m proud of being able to listen to my own inner voice. Life seems so much less planned and more dramatic. It actually feels like living in a movie. Now I know I want to enjoy men more!

My girlfriend and I had been together for more than five years when I started thinking about my coming out. The relationship we had was just great and even stronger. And yes, we also had lots of great sex. There was just the problem: I tended to think about boys and could not help myself. I felt so ashamed of not being able to get it under control. After few hookups that pushed me so down, I wanted to figure out how I could overcome my feelings towards men. And while studying human sexuality, I realized I couldn’t do anything about it while staying honest to myself. The only way to fix my desperate mind was to say the truth. My girlfriend was the first one that I told. Three exhausting weeks later, we both decided to be friends. I’m proud we managed to sort it out in a good way. I’m proud and thankful of my girl, one can’t say how much. We’re still close and she found a new boyfriend.

After my coming out, I fell in love with a boy for the first time and it brought me feelings I never felt before.
Obviously, boyfriends fix everything.

I wish the (LGBTQ) community (in Prague) would be stronger. There are maybe 50 activists and then random groupings of friends. Few cafes/ bars, few clubs. But at least men have everything what they are supposed to have. So it’s good.

(Advice to my younger self) Sexuality will not change after you grow up. Nothing that you feel is wrong if it doesn’t harm anyone. You must learn to listen to yourself. Our feelings are the most precious experiences, don’t let anyone or anything steal it away from you. Being attracted to boys is so cool! And being physical with them is the special sweet spot that you not only can but should enjoy if you feel like to!”