Tagged: latin men

James, Stylist, Panama City

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

James, in his own words: “It’s incredible how fast is growing up a city like Panama, but at the same time it is very sad to look around and see discrimination still being a problem in our society. Fortunately the new generations are changing their mind, but sometimes gay people have to be really patient and try to live with this.

In this topic people have to understand that “RESPECT” is the best way to live in society and tolerance is necessary.

I’m really proud of being a part of the change in this country and I’m grateful for having very talented, brave, smart and beautiful friends, who are showing to the world that there’s nothing wrong being gay.”

Kito, Entrepreneur, Panama City

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

Kito, in his own words: “Qué significa ser gay para ti?

Sacrificio. Los homosexuales son discriminados de tantas maneras y yo sólo me propongo convertirme en el mejor hombre que pueda ser, para no ser víctima de ningún tipo de discriminación y no caer en estereotipos. Ser tan, o más, hombre que muchos heterosexuales que conozco. Demostrarle a la comunidad que no hay nada malo en ser gay, que únicamente es una particularidad del ser humano como la raza o la altura o el color de los ojos. Pretendo ser un ejemplo para mi familia, amigos y profesionales.

Cuáles han sido los retos que haz enfrentado como un hombre gay?

Para muchos no es el caso; pero, socializar e identificarme con hombres a diferentes edades fue algo difícil para mí. Requirió de mucho esfuerzo y sacrificio; y supongo que llevar una vida amorosa en familia tampoco es una cuestión sencilla; pero, al final me siento afortunado porque no he sufrido tragedias por violencia o discriminación. La vida ha sido buena conmigo.

Cómo es la comunidad gay en Panamá?

Panamá es un país con un poco menos de 3,000,000 de habitantes. En, la ciudad pueden haber 1,000,000 de habitantes, es una ciudad muy chica y la comunidad gay en Panamá es más chica aún. La mayoría trata de ser, aunque abiertos consigo mismos, muy discretos. El resto de los ciudadanos simplemente ignoran la situación; no existe un real temor por violencia o crímenes de odio aunque si los ha habido. Sin embargo, cada año se ve más apoyo en medios, para la no discriminación en contra de los homosexuales. Hay que recordar que Panamá es un país mayormente católico; pero, con tantas ideologías y culturas viviendo en el mismo territorio, Panamá ha aprendido a respetar y tolerar diferencias poco a poco. También gracias a la “Organización de Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panamá” que ha sido partícipe en la comunidad “hetero” con eventos sociales y culturales en pro de nuestra causa.

Es por eso que en Panamá no es tan difícil vivir siendo un hombre homosexual. De igual manera, hay que ser muy cauteloso al vestir o expresarse porque sí puedes ser víctima de discriminación a la hora de conseguir empleo o negarte la entrada a algún establecimiento o la prestación de algún servicio.

Cual es tu historia al salir del closet?

Realmente pensé que era el único gay en mi país, estaba tan aislado de la comunidad y de mi mismo, de mis instintos; no fue hasta que conocí a dos hombres gay que estudiaban conmigo en la universidad que empecé a inquietarme respecto a mi orientación. Fue como una bomba que reventó desde adentro, consumiendo todo a su paso; ya me era inevitable revertir mis pensamientos, era un corriente confusa de emociones: odio, excitación, angustia, esperanza. Era en lo único que pensaba. Viví una segunda vida por un tiempo hasta que algunos años más tarde, en una época muy difícil en mi familia, lo único que se me ocurría para alivianar la tensión y mis preocupaciones era decirles que era gay.

Preferí decirlo en mi cumpleaños, de esa manera lograba dos cosas: que nunca se me olvidara la fecha y tenerlas, a mi madre y hermanas, suficientemente contentas conmigo como para no odiarme en el momento. Tenía las manos heladas! Decir: “Yo soy gay” duró mucho más tiempo del que hubiese imaginado jamás, fue eterno.

Felizmente, todo salió bien, a parte de las lágrimas y cuestionamientos, los cuales eran esperados y extensos. Mi mamá al saber que este hecho ya conocido no me iba a cambiar como ser humano, como hijo o hermano, la tranquilizó algo. “No mamá, nunca me he vestido ni me vestiré de mujer”… Ese era su mayor temor supongo. No la culpo, es el único tipo de gay que conocen los heterosexuales, es lo que vende la TV y los medios. No les interesa ningún otro tipo de gay y por eso el gran temor de los padres y amigos. Es todo parte de una inocente ignorancia.”

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

James, Stylist, Panama City

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

James, in his own words: “It’s incredible how fast is growing up a city like Panama, but at the same time it is very sad to look around and see discrimination still being a problem in our society. Fortunately the new generations are changing their mind, but sometimes gay people have to be really patient and try to live with this.

In this topic people have to understand that “RESPECT” is the best way to live in society and tolerance is necessary.

I’m really proud of being a part of the change in this country and I’m grateful for having very talented, brave, smart and beautiful friends, who are showing to the world that there’s nothing wrong being gay.”

Pulum, DJ/Chef/Professor, Panama City

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

Pulum, in his own words: “Que significa ser gay para ti?

What does being Gay mean to you?
Answer: It doesn´t mean anything. I am Me.
¨We all are a reflection of ourselves¨

I am Pulum / Dj, Chef, Professor.”

Ivan, Freelance Producer, Panama City

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

Ivan, in his own words: “I dont want to feel different for a simple label. We must educate ourselves and know that we are all one family. Just remember: Everyday there’s a new bridge to cross! ;)”

Michael, Videographer, San Francisco

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 “The week before I started college I took a trip to LA by myself. I didn’t have much money so I walked everywhere around Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset. Did the touristy stuff but preferred the thrifting and people watching on Melrose Ave. It was early in the morning my second day there I ran into a boy. Up to this point of my life I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t flirted with another man but this was the first time the affections and intrigue was reciprocated without all the secrecy or shame. We had an uncommon amount of things in common at first glance. We hung out all day together. He snuck me into a bar to meet his best friend, this monster of a man standing 6 foot 5 and a father of 2. The most amazing thing about that day was watching these two friends, one gay and one straight, joking and giving each other shit about past times, sometimes about each other’s sexuality but in the most loving way possible. I had never seen such an exchange between two people that, in my mind, were completely separate and defined as unequal. All these preconceived notions, these social barriers I had placed upon myself without even realizing it, gone in one open and warm conversation with complete strangers.

That first kiss though… electric. Like all the anticipation and rejection lead up to that one soft kiss that eventually led to others. I’ll never forget it. We spent the next 4 days attached at the hip. I cried the day I had to fly back. So did he. The goodbye was brief, poignant for a first timer but that day was long from over.

I arrived back home to begin my drive from Yakima, Washington to Seattle to start my first semester. My father knew something was wrong as I packed silently, lethargically, eyes unnaturally swollen and distant. He asked what was wrong and I remember this little ember of defiance lit the stack. It took a couple of befuddled attempts but I admitted that I was gay as I tried carrying out a box to the car. I had to put the box down to cry again. Through the tears I saw my dad shaking his head, “I don’t care.” He said in the most sympathetic way he could muster before he hugged me. We packed the rest of my things as I told him an edited version of what happened in LA. Now my father was the silent one. The trip to Seattle is a bit over 2 hours and my father sobbed most of the way without explanation. Dishonor kept coming to mind but not enough to counter the relief of it all.

After getting my little room set up downtown, I goodbye’d a second time. There was obviously a lot that needed to be said but we saved it for the future. Over dinner about a year later I asked why he had cried on the trip to school, figuring he was a bit ashamed or confused about it all. He said matter of factly, “There are people in this world that don’t care much for people like you. I was leaving you in a big city, two hours away where I can’t protect you from them. It was a bit too much for me to think about. You’re lucky I wasn’t driving because I would have taken you straight home.” My father and I didn’t have the best relationship growing up. We were too similar and butted heads too often but after I came out we have developed an amazing friendship. I wouldn’t trade that man for the world. The boy and I still chat from time to time.”