Kristof, in his own words:“1. I think being gay is the pinnacle of the human evolution, no need anymore to procreate according to Darwin’s theory. I feel like being gay is being my whole self, me as an artist and sensitive being. It is the core of what I am. A kind person.
I had to deal with a lot of pain and hurt in my school years. I got bullied as the only gay kid in school. It was horrible. It stopped after school and moving to university. More freedom. Or let us say more anonymity, more people that don’t care because you are not in the same room with them five days out of seven. My successes are basically in the media. I get tons of media coverage here in Belgium and sometimes abroad. I like that, cause I need a lot of attention to feel good. I am content with that. Hopefully, more to come in the near future.
(The gay community in Brussels) can be normal. Depending on the venue. Downtown is a bit marginal, uptown is more snobbish. I don’t feel at home in either places. I am attracted to handsome intelligent funny, blond, muscular gentlemen and there aren’t any in this town…so imagine how I feel…
(Advice to my younger self) Go to South-Beach and see if you can make it there, but don’t trust people too easily. Call me if you run into trouble.”
Broderick, in his own words:“Whenever I’m asked when I “came out”, I always wonder, “When am I not coming out?” I wonder this because my own narrative of publicly disclosing my sexual orientation is a process, not an event. I remember being nine years old and asking myself when and how I would tell my parents that I am gay. My fourth grade self could not imagine that it would take twelve years of introspection, conversations, self-discovery, forgiveness, and courage before the day finally came.
As a child and adolescent, I had only one prayer: God, make me straight. I wanted nothing more than to meet a girl, fall in love, have 3.5 children, live in the suburbs, drive a minivan, and own a Sam’s Club card. Over time though, I was confronted with reality of my sexual orientation. The more I resisted it, the more lonely I felt. I wanted to tell other people my “secret”, but I chickened out at the last minute every time. I poured myself into memorizing numerous Bible verses, going to every religious conference I possibly could, and singing louder than everyone else at church. While some people end at “pray away the gay”, I tried to “wash away the gay”. I was baptized four times, with each time proving that no force on heaven or earth could rid me of my unwanted sexual orientation.
In college, I heard a speaker cite a statistic that gay men have an average of forty anonymous sexual partners per year. The speaker’s assertion peaked my curiosity and after just a few minutes of research on Google, I realized the speaker had been misleading. This led me to ask myself whether other things I had heard about gay people were consistent to reality. Somehow, I happened upon the website of gay Christian Bible study group in New York City. I e-mailed the facilitator and asked him if I could Skype in to one of their sessions and he said yes. Sadly, I didn’t go through with my intention. However, I kept that facilitator’s information and contacted him the next summer about the steps I needed to take to begin the process of slowly disclosing to others what I thought I had been hiding for a lifetime.
The next part of the story is a bit fuzzy. Basically, over the next four years – up to this very day – I continued to process of coming out by telling my closest friends and family members. I have been met with nothing but generosity and graciousness. Being an openly gay man is a unique gift. I feel so grateful to live the life that I live, to be loved by friends and family alike, and to be able to follow my passion for church ministry as a student at Virginia Theological Seminary. There is no way my nine year old self could have imagined how tumultuous and at times anguish-filled my life would be. But there’s also no way I could have anticipated the joy of this beautiful journey.”
Vitor, in his own words:“Ser gay me fez ser uma pessoa melhor, me ajudou a olhar para o outro com mais carinho e tolerância. Levei um tempo para aceitar a minha orientação sexual, mas hoje me sinto bem, pleno e realizado. A parte difícil é lidar com a sociedade e o preconceito. O Brasil é um país bem machista e ainda precisamos convencer uma galera de que não somos diferentes de ninguém e que merecemos o mesmo respeito e direitos das outras pessoas.
Certamente o maior desafio que a vida me deu foi o de alcançar a minha independência financeira. Nem sempre pode-se contar com o apoio das outras pessoas quando se é gay e nesse sentido ser independente foi fundamental para mim.
Já não morava com meus pais quando me assumi, mas a reação foi surpreendente. Tive muito medo, mas sentia que precisava contar. Minha mãe me disse que eu não era o primeiro e não seria o ultimo e que o amor que ela sentia por mim não mudaria jamais. Isso foi muito importante para mim. Hoje não falamos sobre esse assunto, mas não preciso mais mentir ou inventar histórias e isso é muito bom.
Acho a comunidade gay bem dispersa em Brasília. Aqui todos se conhecem pelo menos de vista, mas ainda mantemos uma certa distância uns dos outros. O engajamento é pequeno e não há um movimento LGBT consolidado. Apenas uma vez por ano é que pode-se ver muitos gays reunidos, na parada gay.
Se eu pudesse mandar um recado para mim há 10 anos seria: ouça o seu coração e faça aquilo que é certo para você. Perdi muito tempo tentando me adaptar ao que os outros diziam que era certo e sofri bastante.”
“Being gay has made me a better person, helped me to look at others with more kindness and tolerance. It took me a while to accept my sexual orientation, but today I feel good, full and fulfilled. The hard part is dealing with society and prejudice. Brazil is a very macho country and we still need to convince a galley that we are no different from anyone else and that we deserve the same respect and rights of others.
Certainly the biggest challenge that life gave me was to achieve my financial independence. One can not always count on the support of others when one is gay and in that sense being independent was key for me.
(With regards to coming out) I no longer lived with my parents when I told them, but the reaction was surprising. I was too afraid, but felt the need to tell. My mother told me I was not the first and would not be the last and that the loved me and her feelings for me would not change ever. This was very important to me. Today we do not talk about this, but I don’t need to lie or make up stories and that’s very good.
I think the gay community well dispersed in Brasilia. Here everyone knows at least each other by sight, but still maintain a certain distance from one another. The engagement is small and there is a consolidated LGBT movement. Only once a year can you can see many assembled gays in a gay parade.
If I could send a message to myself 10 years ago it would be: listen to your heart and do what is right for you. I lost a lot of time trying to fit in to what others said it was right and suffered enough.”