Tagged: gay man

Felipe, Graphic Designer/LGBT Activist, Rio De Janeiro

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Felipe, in his own words: “Being gay for me today is more than just having sex and being in love with another man. Its a political choice that I make everyday.

Everyday is challenge for me. I truly believe that being openly gay in Brazil is still a challenge and thats why after living abroad I choose to be here. I feel like there’s a lot to be done for the Brazilian gay community.

(The gay community in Rio De Janeiro) is the same as anywhere else in Brazil, lol.

(Coming out of the closet) was easy and disturbing at the same time. Easy because after you do it you keep thinking: why was I there in the first place? Disturbing because you realize how scared people can get from it. To find myself in such a hateful world was really confusing.

(If I could give myself advice before coming out, I’d say) If you want to go far, go slow”

João Victor, Engineer, Rio De Janeiro

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João, in his own words: “I had my sexuality stamped on me by other people when I didn’t even had traces of some kind of sexual drive. When I first noticed that I was different from the other boys, when I finally understood the looks, the giggles, the bullying I had nothing to do but to deny to myself who I was and do my best to fit in that world that I had been told that I didn’t belong to. I had to be straight. That goal made me put so much effort and energy trying to be something different that I ended up stuck in an unhappy middle.

My coming out was a long and calculated process. It started with me proving to myself that I was no worse than anyone else based solely on being gay and ended after some tequila shots in the arms of a polish guy in a club in Barcelona. That moment, when I finally allowed myself to touch a man in a sexual way, that was my coming out. I was 22 and I finally felt free.

Telling my friends and family that I was gay wasn’t hard. Again, it took me a little while and some planning to absorb everything that was I going through before spreading the word. I was happy and I wanted to share that. I have the most amazing supporting family and, as I predicted, they could not have had a better reaction.

During my so called coming out process, I surrounded myself with friends that I knew that wouldn’t make a big deal out of my sexuality. Most of them weren’t surprised and some couldn’t wait any longer for that moment.

For people to deal with my sexual orientation naturally I also try to deal with it as naturally as possible. In Rio, especially in Ipanema where I live, I feel safe and always walk hand in hand with my boyfriend. I never hesitate to hug or kiss him in public places. In these moments, the “I don’t belong here” feeling that I mentioned vanishes completely.

When you asked me if I could give any advice to myself before coming out, I’d say:

Man, surround yourself with kind people and be kind!”

Alex and Candido, Engineer and Tax Lawyer, Rio De Janeiro

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Alex and Candido, in their own Portuguese words: “O que ser gay significa para nós?

Ser gay na verdade é ter coragem de se assumir gay. Boa parte do preconceito está dentro de nós mesmos, nas nossas fantasias sobre o que a família e sociedade pensam de nós. A partir do momento em que você se despe dos seus próprios preconceitos e medos, ser gay se torna nada mais do que uma característica pessoal assim como tanta outras. Ser gay não nos define como alguém que faça parte de um grupo diferente, para nós, simplesmente significa que em termos de relacionamento amoroso nos sentimos completos com alguém do mesmo sexo. Somos apenas duas pessoas comuns que decidiram seguir a vida juntos.

Quais os desafios e sucesso nós tivemos?

O maior desafio em relação a ser gay foi superar os nossos próprios preconceitos e entender que ser gay não nos fazia diferentes ou menos respeitáveis. Assumir-se gay para a família foi um desafio que aos poucos fomos superando. Mas nós pensamos que esse desafio na verdade se tornou o nosso maior sucesso. Ser amado, aceito e acolhido pelos nossos pais, irmãos e demais familiares foi algo sem dúvida muito gratificante. Não há nada mais lindo hoje do que ver a felicidade de uma mãe ajudando nos preparativos do nosso casamento e de uma avó, uma senhora de 83 anos, toda orgulhosa por ter sido convidada por nós para levar nossas alianças ao altar.

Como é a comunidade gay no Rio de Janeiro?

Acho que é igual a todos os demais lugares do mundo. hehehe Atualmente estamos mais focados na nossa vida em família e nas nossas profissões. Não pensamos muito em nós como parte de uma comunidade gay segregada. Nos vemos como gays que fazem parte de uma sociedade composta por gays, héteros, crianças, idosos, casados, solteiros, etc.

Como foi sair do armário?

Bem, foi diferente para cada um de nós. Candido se assumiu muito mais cedo e teve mais problemas com a aceitação pela família. Para o Alex foi um processo mais demorado e que ocorreu em paralelo com sua independência pessoal e profissional. Acho que para ambos não foi um processo fácil. Atualmente somos muito tranqüilos com relação a isso, nossos familiares nos amam, nossos colegas de trabalham nos respeitam. Acho que um grande aprendizado para mim foi perceber que ao me assumir gay me tornei mais forte.

Se você pudesse dar um conselho para você mesmo antes de sair do armário, o que você diria?

Diríamos: vá em frente, não tenha medo, seja feliz e nada mais.”

João Pedro, Graphic Designer/Actor, Rio De Janeiro

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João, in his own words: “Well, I used to say, and to think, that being gay is nothing but a part of me, just as my black hair, my voice, etc, and this is true, but now, more and more, I feel like its actually much more important. I feel like being gay is being free, but not in the poetic sense (I’m not a huge fan of poetry haha) but free in real life! Free to do whatever I want, wear whatever I want, go wherever I want, etc.

And when I stop to think about it, if I weren’t gay, I’d probably never do many of the things that I’ve done and that have changed my life in someway.

If I weren’t gay I’d be afraid to be who I really am, to do what I really feel like doing, afraid of the bullying, afraid of what others would think of me.

But being gay I grew strong and am not afraid of any of those things anymore. I learned that there will always be people that hate me and people that judge me, you can’t please everyone, so you better please yourself.

If I could give myself advice before coming out I’d probably say something like this: “Baby, relax, chill, don’t you cry and don’t you worry about it! To be gay It’s not nothing, it’s not something irrelevant, it is in fact something that kind of defines you, but for those who actually like you it will be just fine, and for you, well, I don’t want to spoil the surprises, but trust me, being gay, out and proud will be hard sometimes, but it will also be fucking awesome!!”

Tapioca, Political Advisor, Rio De Janeiro

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João, in his own words: “I don’t really like to identify myself as gay because I believe this concept has been moralized. I feel it’s been captured by a conservative agenda to normalize deviant men. If you perform the role of the sexless fairy consumer, then you are accepted. I’d rather be identified as a queer (in portuguese I like to use the word “transviado”). For me being queer is rejoicing in inadequacy. It’s that permanent feeling that you are an outsider; a stranger to established norms of moral and behavior. Instead of knocking on the doors, begging for acquiescent acceptance, we chose to glitter bomb society. After all, I’m an avowed Pink Bloc, Glitter Vandal, Anal Terrorist and so on. Being queer is resisting oppressive identities that divide us. It is being a nonconforming body and soul.

My advice to myself in the past would be:
Listen, honey! That thing that it gets better is pure bullshit! You do get stronger though. Strong enough to fight for your rights, to go out wearing whatever you want and holding hands with whomever you like. Don’t argue, act. Flaunting is not only beautiful, it’s revolutionary.”

Laan, Dancer, Rio De Janiero

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Laan, in his own words: (Being gay) means my inner self, my freedom. My biggest challenge was to accept myself the way I really am. Success for me was to be able to live as a gay man, to be happy with it and have lots of friends. Comming out was quick, practical and scary at the same time. (If I could give myself advice before coming out) : go slow kid, the world is big.”

Diego, Strategic Planner, Rio De Janeiro

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Diego, in his own words: “Being gay is just one kind of expressions of human sexuality and behaviour.

For me, IT doesn’t make me different or special – it is just me being myself.
I’m gay, but before this I’m just another man who wants to discover the world, build a family, have nice friends, show my own talent, and ultimately be happy.

I once saw in a movie something like this: “In life, you can make a choice: to be happy or to be sad. I choose to be happy.” Yes… I choose it too.”

Alcinoo, Photographer, Rio De Janeiro

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Alcinoo, in his own words: “Being gay is a definition like any other, and like all definitions it has a place in my world in as much as it needs to be taken apart at the seams. And fundamentally it has meant many things at different times. So while there were times when it meant defining my persona, my place (or lack of) within the groups I frequented or wanted to be part of, now it is less an opportunity to define as something to discover and ultimately to let go of. I find having to think of myself as gay as a peculiar opportunity. Its biggest blessing has lied in forcing my own evolution as a human being to include rather than exclude, to grow compassionately and remain open. I always felt that it served that purpose from the day I had to start to define anything related to my sexuality. A way to be more open, accepting, humble, understanding. Ultimately making me into a better person through all the nuances of what it meant growing up gay in the 70s and 80s. Being on the edge of things keeps me on my toes.

I have a big issue with gay-ness mostly being related to the sexual act, or serving as a definition for sexual preference. It beggars belief how anyone could be referred to and defined so heavily just by that, as I see myself as so many things beyond my sexuality. Yet it becomes an issue and in a way as gay men we are forced into mental and physical ghettos.

Learning first hand about the significance of preconceptions is invaluable none the less as they define all human interactions.

You ask what the gay community in Rio is like, but I am probably not the best person to ask, and I don’t have many good things to say about it. I know lots of gay men in Rio, friends and acquaintances and I find it hard to put them in a box, or a community, because each one is defined by their own personal trajectory. I find that the gay community in Rio is a group made of so many ricocheting individuals drawn together by a need to belong and gelled by drugs and sex into that whole. Reason why I don’t frequent bars, clubs, saunas, beaches.

There are many gay communities in Rio. I like to think I create a gay community every time I meet with my friends. Whether they be gay or not!”

Gustavo, Planning Supervisor, São Paulo

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Gustavo, in his own Portuguese words: “Meu primeiro beijo foi em uma roda de amigos brincando de verdade ou desafio, ainda em Belém do Pará, onde cresci. Na brincadeira, você escolhe entre responder a uma pergunta sobre você ou aceita realizar um desafio proposto pelo grupo. Eu não era muito de falar sobre mim, então preferi ser desafiado. E meu desafio foi beijar uma menina.

Eu não pensava ser gay. Na infância, a maior parte das referências que temos a ser gay são estereotipadas. E nenhum deles se encaixava com o meu cotidiano de garoto nerd, apaixonado por ler, escrever, desenhar e jogar videogame. Ninguém ensina que ser gay não tem tanto a ver com como você age, mas sim com o que você sente.

Foi somente no primeiro ano de faculdade que eu desafiei a mim mesmo a beijar um menino. E comecei a aceitar o que antes eu não tinha muita certeza: sou gay.

Algum tempo depois me apaixonei por um amigo próximo, que se tornou meu primeiro namorado. Eu sempre achei tudo muito natural, não fosse o fato de que, por medo da reação da família dele, eu era apresentado como “o melhor amigo”.

Eu não concordava com aquilo. Não via motivos para mentir. E ao sair do armário para a minha mãe, recebi um conselho que revisito na minha memória até hoje:

“Você é quem você é. Partindo disso, não rotule os outros e não se permita rotular. A sociedade tende a classificar tudo e todos os separando em caixinhas, mas cabe a cada um de nós lembrar ao mundo que somos muito mais do que isso. Orgulhe-se de você”

Hoje vivo em São Paulo e escolhi viver o conselho da minha mãe, que replico aqui: tenha orgulho por ser gay. Tenha orgulho pelo tempo que decidiu dedicar aos estudos e ao trabalho. Tenha orgulho pelas pessoas que conheceu. E pelas pessoas que escolheu manter na minha vida. Tenha orgulho pelas escolhas que fez, pelas experiências que acumulou e pelos sonhos que alimenta. Tenha orgulho por tudo o que já viveu e que faz de você único no mundo.

Não é necessário provar nada para ninguém. Ter orgulho de ser gay faz parte de ter orgulho de quem você é por completo.”

in English:

“My first kiss happened in a circle of friends playing Truth or Dare, still in Belém of Pará where I was brought up. In this game, you choose between answering a question about yourself or accepting to do a dare proposed by the group. Since I wasn’t really the talk about me type, I preferred being challenged. And my dare was kissing a girl.

I didn’t think I was gay. In my childhood, most part of the gay references that we had were very stereotypic. And none of them really matched my nerdy, bookworm, in love with writing, drawing and playing video-games lifestyle.
Nobody teaches you that being gay doesn’t have much to do with how you act, but with how you feel.

It was only during my freshman year in college that I dared myself to kiss a boy.
And I started to accept what before I wasn’t so sure: I’m gay.

Sometime after, I fell in love with a close friend, who later became my boyfriend. I always thought everything was quite natural, despite the fact that, out of fear of his family’s reaction, I was introduced as “the best friend.”

I didn’t agree with that. I didn’t see a reason for lying. And after coming out of the closet to my mom, I got a piece of advice that I still revisit in my memory to this day:

“You are who you are. Starting from this, don’t label others and don’t let yourself be labeled. Society tends to classify everything and everyone by separating them into little boxes, but it’s up to each one of us to remind the world that we’re much more than that. Be proud of yourself”

Today, I live in São Paulo and I chose to live my mom’s advice, that I hereby share: be proud of being gay. Be proud of the time you decided to dedicate to study and work. Be proud of the people you met. And the people you chose to keep in your life. Be proud of the choices you made, of the experiences you collected and the dreams you nourish. Be proud of everything you’ve lived and everything that makes you the only one in the world.

It’s not necessary to prove anything to anyone. Being proud of being gay is part of being proud of who you are through and through.”

Tiago, Geographer/Master’s Student in Urban and Regional Planning, Rio De Janeiro

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Tiago, in his own words: “Se me perguntassem “o que ser brasileiro significa para você” ou “o que ter irmãos significa para você”, eu responderia que essas são condições essenciais da minha vida. Claro que são classificações e como qualquer classificação são carregadas de significados e relações de poder, mas o fato de eu ser gay é também uma condição da minha vida. Certamente, como membro de um grupo social marginal, eu estou sujeito a situações de preconceito e violência, tanto física quanto verbal, mas eu não consigo pensar numa resposta mais simples e, ao mesmo tempo, mais certa para essa pergunta que não seja “significa ser eu mesmo”. Escrevendo essa resposta fiquei pensando que a pergunta ideal seria ao contrário: “o que ser você significa para ser gay?”. Assim a condição de sujeito viria antes da sexualidade, mas acho que esse é um caminho longo de desconstrução de categorias que acabam criando padrões e gerando preconceito com tudo o que está fora do padrão.

Eu não consigo ver sucessos associados diretamente ao fato de eu ser gay. Já desafios, eu acho que o maior deles foi o meu próprio reconhecimento enquanto sujeito, o que tem a ver com um movimento de enfrentamento em relação a vários valores sociais, familiares e religiosos.

Eu não costumo frequentar lugares especificamente gays no Rio de Janeiro. Nunca gostei muito de guetos e prefiro os espaços menos direcionados a um grupo particular, onde circulam todos os tipos de pessoa. Mas eu acho o Rio de Janeiro, pelo menos as partes da cidade por onde circulo, amistoso em relação aos gays. Talvez isso tenha a ver com a vida na cidade grande. Eu venho de uma cidade bem menor que o Rio, onde raramente você é anônimo nos lugares que frequenta, o que acaba favorecendo a criação de guetos. De forma bem geral, eu acho que os gays circulam bastante entre os diferentes grupos aqui no Rio, e isso parece gerar uma melhor aceitação por parte da sociedade.

Eu nunca me considerei muito dentro do armário, eu sempre soube que era gay. Ainda criança, mesmo que não tivesse consciência da sexualidade, eu sabia que não correspondia a muitas das posturas e gostos que se esperam de uma criança do sexo masculino. A partir de uma certa idade, fui me dando conta de que essas diferenças passavam pela sexualidade, uma sexualidade que eu reconhecia como minha e que eu nunca quis contrariar. De qualquer modo, eu não cresci despreocupado dessa definição, sentia que precisava me afirmar enquanto gay, o que eu acho um problema, já que essa não é uma preocupação explícita de um adolescente heterossexual que corresponde ao padrão socialmente aceitável. A minha saída oficial do armário foi aos 17 anos. Até então, por mais que eu soubesse que era gay, nunca tinha me relacionado com homens. Eu esperei que isso acontecesse para que eu pudesse me abrir para as pessoas. E com exceção de alguns amigos mais próximos, as primeiras pessoas a quem eu contei foram meus pais. Eu sentia profunda necessidade de mostrar a eles quem de fato e eu era, e isso foi fundamental para minha formação enquanto sujeito. De início, alguns conflitos surgiram, mas eu sempre mantive uma postura que chamo de “enfrentamento”. Nunca recuei e nem abri mão da minha sexualidade por conta da minha família. Hoje, eu acredito que essa postura influenciou na construção de uma relação de muito respeito entre nós, e cada vez mais eu acho que esse respeito está para além do fato de eu ser gay.

Como eu falei na primeira pergunta, eu acho que o melhor conselho seria “não se preocupe em se definir dentro de uma categoria, apenas viva de acordo com suas ideias, emoções e valores”. Mas eu acho que essa situação ainda é bastante utópica, então eu diria “não deixe de se afirmar da maneira como você é, respeitando a si mesmo dentro da sua diferença”.

in English:

“If someone asks me “what being Brazilian means to you” or “what having brothers means to you”, I’ll reply that those are essential conditions of my life. Of course they’re classifications full of meanings and relations of power, but the fact that I’m gay is also a condition of my life. Certainly, as any member of a marginal social group, I’m susceptible to situations of prejudice and physically and verbally violence, but I can’t think in a simple and at the same time right answer to this question than “means to be myself”. Writing this response I thought the ideal question would be: “what being you means to be gay?”. Thus the condition of the subject would come before sexuality, but I think it’s a long way of deconstruction of categories that create patterns and cause prejudice to everything defined nonstandard.

I can’t see successes directly associated with the fact I’m gay. One big challenge though it was my own recognition as a subject, which has to do with face up various social, family and religious values.

I don’t usually attend specifically gay places in Rio de Janeiro. I don’t really like ghettos instead I prefer spaces much less aimed to a particular group, where you can find every sort of people. But I think Rio, at least the places I’ve been, is friendly toward the gay public; maybe it has to do with life in a big city. I came from a smaller town where you’re rarely anonymous in places you go out, which favors the creation of ghettos. In Rio I think gay people circulate well among different groups and it seems to generate greater acceptance by society.

I never considered myself in the closet because I always knew I was gay. As a little child, even if I hadn’t be aware of sexuality, I knew that I didn’t correspond to many of the attitudes and tastes expected of a male child. As the years gone by, I realized that those differences were about the sexuality, which soon I recognized as mine without fighting against it. However I wasn’t that far of this definition, I needed to affirm myself, which was a problem because normally it wasn’t a preoccupation of a heterosexual guy, which socially fits in the acceptable patterns. I officially came out when I was 17. By then even if I knew I was gay, I’ve never had experienced a homosexual relationship. I’ve waited till then to let others to know it, and besides some close friends my parents were the first. I needed so much to let them kwon who I was and this was fundamental to my formation as a subject. At first there were some conflicts, but I’ve always been in a certain position that I call “enfrentamento” (In literally translation: to confront). I’ve never turned myself down and never gave up my sexuality for my family. Nowadays I believe this “enfrentamento” position have influenced me in the construction of a very respectful relationship between us, and day after day I think this respect is far beyond the fact I’m gay.

As I said in the first question, I think the best advice would be “don’t worry to define yourself within a category, just live according your ideas, emotions and values”. But I think this situation is still quite utopic, instead I would say, “Affirm and respect yourself the way you are within your difference”.