Tagged: gay

Ray, Professor, Dallas, Texas

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
Ray, in his own words: “Being gay means many things to me. As a child it was a stigma of shame. It was my scarlet letter and an object of my own disgust and disdain. Later, being gay was simply a biological expression, no different than height or hair color. However, in my 30’s I have come to embrace being gay as a gift of the Divine. I believe divinity has qualities of both male and female, that is both masculine AND feminine energy. So, to be gay means that I too possess both energies, and is therefore a divine gift given to me as I maneuver through the world.

For me, religion has been a paradox in my life and has served as the catalyst for my greatest challenge as well as my biggest success. As a child and teen I suffered from paralyzing insecurity. I felt as if everyone else had the key to living life well and somehow it had been kept secret from me. So, I looked to conservative religious understanding to give me a strict “how-to” guide to help alleviate my insecurity, live life and simply fit in. Needless to say this helped for a while but ultimately stripped me of my authenticity and left me upset and bitter. I eventually overcame this challenge, and now live life as authentically and honestly and I possibly can. To me, this is my greatest success. Oddly enough, the great success of authenticity couldn’t have been achieved without the comfort, encouragement and faith I often drew from the foundation of a religious upbringing (particularly in my darkest moments). Truly the paradox of life!

The gay community is Dallas is large and in many ways very active (Dallas’ local chapter of the Human Rights Campaign, The Federal Club, is annually a leader in fundraising for the HRC and the largest gay church in the WORLD is also located in Dallas), yet a word that is often used to describe the Dallas at large is “clique” and this is no different in the gay community. In many ways Dallas is still reminiscent of its segregated past…but today’s segregation happens not only across racial lines but across socioeconomic class, gender (gay vs. lesbian), geography (where you live in the city), and social groups. There are many clicks who rarely find the need to intersect with the others.

My coming out story is quite lengthy, so I’ll share the short version. I was raised religious; I was raised to be closeted, therefore I married very young (19 years old) and I had three children very young. I fell madly in love with a man. I could no longer go on with the farce….not to mention when I asked my wife for a divorce she went into my email and found a love letter to the gentlemen and confronted me with it….after which 99% of my friends distanced themselves, leaving me to recreate a new life…. high drama indeed (a screenplay waiting to happen)!

If I could tell my younger self one thing I would tell him to be your unashamed and unapologetic authentic self…no matter what!”

Kit and Walter, Portland, Oregon

Kit (left) Walter (right), photo by Kevin Troung
Kit (left) Walter (right), photo by Kevin Troung
Walter in his own words: Originally posted 9/10/14

“We have been together for nearly 20 years and we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary next month. We were living and working in Boston when marriage equality was passed in 2004. We took advantage of it, even though we were unsure if it would remain legal, as there were many attempts to undo it.

Kit was born and raised in Singapore. He came here to go to college in Texas. We met soon after he took his first job out of college, in Philadelphia. He was just coming to grips with his sexuality. He approached me to be his pen pal on the web and I agreed. We did not meet in person for over six months but once we did, it was clear that we enjoyed one another a lot. Once he got his green card, Kit came to live with me in Boston.

I was raised in a conservative family and married early. By the time I met Kit I had served 23 years in the active Army and was working a second career. I was also out to everyone by then, which provided Kit great support in his coming out journey.

We have both prospered professionally and, as we are both in the same field now, we are able to give significant understanding and support to one another.

Being gay is an aspect of our life, an important one and one that we are proud of, but it does not rule our existence. We lead a pretty normal, home based, lifestyle. We have a nice circle of friends and remain close to our families. We try to be supportive of the local and national gay community in a variety of ways.

If we had any advice to give our younger selves it would be to be proud of who you are and how you live and worry less about what others think. As Oscar Wilde said: “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

Johnathan, Illustrator, Portland, Oregon

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

Johnathan, in his own words: “Being gay means everything and nothing to me. My sexuality is important to me but doesn’t define me. I am a man who just so happens to like other men and it’s not that big of a deal.

My biggest challenge and success has been moving across the country by myself. Leaving my parents was hard, mostly for my father, but I had to for my own well being and growth. The City and State I was raised in became a hole of depression but the last three years spent in Oregon have been the best thing that’s happened. Every day I am creating a beautiful life.

(The gay community in Portland) has it’s pros and cons, and I appreciate it all the more because I was raised in a much smaller gay community. I’m happy to have the opportunity to freely connect with other gay men but it can be lonely.

It took me until college to come to labeling myself as homosexual. On the day before Father’s Day, at the age of eighteen, I came out to my parents. My father cried and my mother laughed. They both grew to understand and support my homosexuality like they had in all other aspects of my life.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without everything happening the way that it did. Any advice I could give (to my younger self) probably wouldn’t have been appreciated. I wish I would have started therapy sooner though.”