Tagged: latino

Javier, Artist, New York 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

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Javier, in his own words: “Being a gay man to me means absolute freedom. I always take myself back in time to when I was in high school, and I tried to act “straight” or wore baggy clothes so I would look the part haha. Coming out was the best thing I did to be honest. It liberated me in a way I never imagined. It gave me the freedom and confidence I need to be my true self. I can literally wear anything or act anyway I want and not really give a shit what they guy next to me is thinking. It changed me to the person I always wanted to be. My past was very dark, and at certain points I thought it was never going to get better. Being from such a macho Hispanic background being gay was simply not ok in our family. But with a bit of courage and a little help I was able to take a stand and start as my true self.

I think the most challenging thing out of my story was to just accept myself really. Yeah coming out was a very big deal and hard, but not as hard as coming to terms and realizing who I really was for years. I’m 100% honest when I say that I knew I had feelings for boys since I was little, but knowing how my family was, being gay wasn’t ok. I put that part of myself aside for the longest time and tried my hardest to go out with girls, get a kiss, but it just wasn’t me. I remember telling myself maybe it was ok to like guys and do stuff with them but never end up with one. My plan was to always end up marrying a woman and having a family, I would just live the secret life of being attracted to men. That only lasted so long. Come my senor year of High School I knew who I really was, and thx to my first guy crush I accepted it and accepted my self for what I was…Gay. And with coming out the success of it was being free. When I tell you my personality made a complete 180 I’m not lying. I went from this very quite, timid, insecure boy that would let people judge him and step all over him to the man I am today, that stands up to his beliefs, doesn’t take shit from anyone and expresses himself in whatever way he wants.

Going back and reliving my coming out story is both hard and amazing. Hard because of all the shit I had to go through and amazing cause to this day I can’t believe that I did it. The year after I came outta high school was when I decided that I wanted to tell people and let them into my real life. I took the easy way you can say and told my best friend at the time. But still scared I told her I was bi and not full blown gay. Lol, I laugh because I feel almost every gay person comes out gay just to make it easier on people. She didn’t care she loved me for me and told me that she already knew. So it was just a nice feeling to have someone by my side to talk to. My family was next. To be honest with you guys I was never really close to my family, just my Mom, Sister, and Nephew really. Those were the first people I really wanted to tell. My nephew was first, I told him and his responses was the most amazing thing ever…he looked up at me and said “I don’t care, your still my uncle and I will always love you no matter what” The pure joy that filled me that moment was indescribable. Next was my sister who is my everything. She’s literally my best friend, we talk about anything and everything. But unlike my nephew, I kind of hit a road block cause pure fear came into me. My mind would get lost and I feared that I would lose everything we had. I remember taking about 6 months to build enough courage to tell her. So during the month of December, while her and I were building the Christmas tree, I told her about my deepest secret. And like before I decided to tell her I was bi to make it some what easier. Her reaction did surprise me, instead of crying out of disappointment or whatever, she was crying outta joy. I just hugged her and thanked her, even to this day I thank her for being my everything. I think coming out made us closer. I call her my “Moon” cause she guides me every night and I’m her “Sun” because I brighten up her days.

After telling her came my mom, which was also a huge deal for me because im hands down a Momma’s Boy lol. I wanted to tell her so badly, I felt like if I told her and she would accept me for who I am, it wouldn’t really matter what anyone else thought about me because I had the support from the people that meant the most to me. I remember back to the summer of that year, I was outside with my sister talking my mom came down and I wanted to do it that moment, while the three of us were together, but I couldn’t. She left and I just started to cry into my sisters arms. Mentally I prepared myself for the absolute worst scenarios, even with my sister, that way the reaction wouldn’t hurt as bad. The day came I decided to tell my mom, we were alone, just me and her. She came into the living room and I was sitting on the couch and I told her I had something serious to tell her. Of course like any mother she asked me if I had gotten someone pregnant, I laughed a little but then I started to cry, I looked at her and I just told her. She looked at me tears in her eyes and told me I didn’t know what I was talking about, that maybe I was confused cause I never actually had been with a woman. I let her vent and tell me anything she wanted, but at the end of the conversation I just told her that I knew who I was, and that I was ok with her not accepting it right away. I was fine with it, hurt, but ok I had survived and she still managed to just hug me. She called my sister right after crying to her and telling her what just had happened. It took her a week to accept it, she even made a joke and told me I could be the biggest whore out there, that she didn’t care cause she loved me no matter what. The moment was everything for me. To be able to hear something like that come out of your mothers mouth, is a crazy feeling. I felt loved. Truly loved for who I really was.

Shortly after coming out to my mother I came out to my father, who I never really had a relationship with…ever. It was a Saturday morning, I had just gotten back from sleeping over my best friends brothers house due to a party he had that Friday. He was in my room playing cards on my computer. I went to him said hi and told him that I need to speak to him and my mom. I sat them in the living room and told him that I was gay. Straight out, like pulling a band aid. He asked me why I would say something like that. As I began to explain he just got up and left outside, my mother went after him to talk. When she came back up stairs she was in tears, and the way she was crying hurt the most, she was crying like someone had just died. She was crying like that because my father told her that he wanted me out of the house, and that he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. As I held her I told her it was ok, I expected a reaction like this to come from him. I wasn’t hurt to be honest just sad at the fact my mom was so devastated. I knew it hurt her but I was so angry I told her that it was ok, I would move in with my sister and that I wouldn’t speak to him or even look at him. I just told her I didn’t have a father anymore and I was ok with it. After telling him he went to my brothers house and told him and my sister in law. My brother came to the house screaming at me, and for the first time ever in my life I stood up for myself. I screamed just as loud as he was and basically told him I didn’t give a fuck what he had to say, this is who I am and that was it. The thing with my brother was that he always knew, and always came up to me and asked me on occasion but I wasn’t ready to come out to anyone so I denied it to his face. Which I guess hurt him in a way but he didn’t understand the fact that it was my choice to come out when I was ready not when he wanted to.

After the whole mess my family was broken for a few months. Come New Years Eve my dad took a big step. I remember this moment so vivid because its like a scene from a movie: there was a huge gap between us and with tears in his eyes he crossed the room to where I was and he just hugged me. After that things slowly started to get better. My dad and mom moved back to our home country, Chile, to retire and as hard as it was to let them go the distance has brought us so much closer. For the first time in a very long time I can actually say I love my dad. He tells my how proud he is of me and all my achievements. My mom tells me that he also tells other people about me and my life, and its just crazy to hear that cause years ago he wanted nothing to do with my life now he’s all for it. After my family knew who I really was, all I wanted to do was share and tell the world I’m gay and proud!

The advice I would give to my younger self would be not to be afraid. Life is about taking risks. Some help and other hurt but that’s what life’s about. Without we can’t grow as a person. Coming out was one of the most scariest, craziest things I ever did. But it helped me grow and opened my eyes. Now any challenge or obstacle I face in life I got at it full force, cause I just look back at all I went through and now I can do anything!

Art has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I always had this tendency of just getting lost in it and relaxing. I don’t think my coming out process would have been as easy as it was for me if it wasn’t for my art. I would sit at my desk and just get lost and get consumed by my art. I never had the chance to go to an actual art school due to personal and financial problems so I self taught my self everything. I experimented with new mediums and I just never gave it up. When I say my art is my everything I literally mean my everything. I just sit at my desk, play my music, and im off. Nothing is around me, I don’t hear anything, and all my problems just seem to vanish for those few hours. My goal as an artist is to become a tattoo artist, which has always captivated my eyes for the art form, and the dedication behind it. The stories and all the different styles from around the world. Its something I hold very closed to my heart and what I see my self doing forever. I have a total of 10 tattoos spread out around my body. Each one has a specific meaning, from family to a specific event that I have come across. I feel every gay person has gotten there “Coming out tattoo” and when I was thinking about mine I knew I had to do something deep and meaningful and true to my colors. On my right upper arm I have a half sleeve of various flowers. Which in time will be colored in with bright colors to resemble the pride flag. Each flower on it stands for a specific woman that accepted me and helped me through my tough times. I’ll always be grateful for them and love them for what they did for me, even though some of them I’ve lost complete communication with, they hold a special place in my heart.”

Eric, Photographer, New York 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

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

Eric, in his own words:“For me, at the end of the day, being gay just means I like guys, but unconscious preconceptions about how to be gay inevitably affects my mood. I wonder if I do stereotypical things because they’re just personal quirks, it’s genetic, or I’ve been conditioned from the days when I used to watch Glee and listen to Lady Gaga on repeat. Ultimately it’s best to let go of picky self-analysis and strict definitions, it stifles everything, including my art. I like to use the words “gay” and “queer” to be practical, but when being gay became an identity is when it became harmful to my sense of self worth. I came out of the closet only to put myself in to another box.

My gayness has only lead to challenges that with time lead to triumphs, for forcing me to challenge the way I view gender roles, deal with stress, and for getting me out of my painful shyness in high school. Though I felt very lonely, I didn’t realize how supported I really was. I remember when I got drunk for the first time, it was at a high school party, and I was throwing up in the bathroom crying “Why do I have to be gay?!” to one of my best friends there with me. Yeah, yikes. Then I groped him, which wasn’t cool. But all he did was laugh and tell me to keep drinking water, and in the morning I didn’t even have the slightest bit of a hangover. Everyone needs a friend like that when your coming to terms with your queerness, or any time really. Thanks Manu!

My brother happens to be gay too, he came out before I did. You’d think that would be a rare blessing but initially it didn’t feel like one at all. It’s no big deal now thanks to my wonderful accepting parents, but I thought it meant I had to hide how I felt for a longer time. The chances of having two gay sons was just too unlikely, so it was even harder to accept. I also didn’t want to hit my parents with a big surprise right after my brother just came out, high school was dramatizing and awkward enough! I also had a massive crush on a girl once, making me think it was possibly “just a phase” (another reason I think strict definitions are silly). So I initially came out as “bi”, and with time our family healed. I don’t wish I’d done much differently because the experience taught me to be more self-assured. But if I could give myself a word of advice before I came out, it would have been to stop bullying myself, especially over something I couldn’t control. I remember days having to practice how to smile in the mirror because I was such a downer. The silver lining is that I smile differently now, and I think it’s even better than it was before. Now my smile is an upside down isosceles triangle.

Coming to art school in New York was another huge wake up call, it was the first time I had the experience of being in a gay community, besides the secret LGBT facebook group my school had that I was invited to. Everyone here was out, and there weren’t just gay people, but people of all the queer rainbow. I tried to make friends with gay guys but I have yet to make more than one real gay friend. Turned out all the gay guys I was dying to meet were people just like everybody else, who could be rude, exclusive, or shy sometimes. Forgetting the boyfriend I had freshmen year, it’s hard to find gay guys who want a relationship with anybody. It really depressed me when I noticed that there were somehow three times more straight couples on campus than gay couples, which if you weren’t to know better would sound like a statistical anomaly at an art school with more gay men than straight men. I’m progressively accepting the fact that seeking other people to make me feel a lasting sense of fulfillment won’t work; feeling at peace will always be completely up to me. Meditating and listening to Jack Johnson always helps.”

Carlos and Ivan, Registered Dental Assistant and Actor, Los Angeles

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

Carlos, in his own words: “No one can beat you at being you -Joel Osteen

Being gay means everything to me. Growing up as a kid, I always knew. Was it tough? Of course it was. It is for a lot of us. I was going to Catholic School and hearing what the bible was preaching, it sure didn’t help. But I somehow did not care, I loved myself too much and just knew I was different and special . Besides, I was too young and innocent and had no control over it.

Growing up at home I definitely had to keep it a secret. My dad had 11 brothers and no sisters. Very old fashion Mexican upbringing and not a single known gay relative. So yeah it was tough. I remembering answering the phone at 12 years old and the neighbor who was calling told me I needed to man up my voice because I sounded like my sister. As hard as I tried to be straight, and please everyone else, I just always knew better. Turned out my neighbor is gay also. He hasn’t spoken to his dad in over 3 years. That’s tough. His dad was my role model growing up too. Funny how life works.

Throughout my years in Jr High and High School I too was bullying alongside my friends sometimes, just to “fit in”. You know I grew up in the city of Cerritos which is just 25 min away from LA. The friends I had and the life I was living was just not the environment to come out in. Once I moved to Hollywood with my older brother who was already living there, I was just shocked. Gays everywhere. Even West Hollywood was up the street, but it was almost too much all at once. I mean sure it made me feel at home and made it more easier to explore. But there were still challenges. When I finally did come out to my parents, it really did feel better like they say. No it wasn’t easy and yes it took a while for them to come around. Just like it took me a while to be comfortable with it. I mean I wanted to marry and have a wife and kids of my own also you know, and letting go of that reality was not easy either. Something people don’t talk about.

18 years later I am in a much better place. It’s true, “It does get better”. Sure I made some mistakes along the way but I’ve never been happier. I have an amazing partner of 6 years. Five of those years we spent taking care of his 87 year old grandmother who had Alzheimer’s up until her last breath in our arms at almost 92 years old. Once people saw what a difference we made in her life and how she changed our lives, it just didn’t matter anymore to me what people were thinking. Early on in my relationship my lil brother got married and I was able to bring my partner and introduce him to all of my family. Without really realizing it, I used my brothers wedding as my way of coming out to the rest of my family. They welcomed him and it just made it all easier. We then attended a church (Unity Fellowship Church, Los Angeles) that was founded by a gay Bishop by the name of Archbishop Carl Bean. He and his church played a huge part in keeping me in track with not only my life, but with the Love of Life itself. I then have the opportunity to meet an amazing gay couple in NY. J. Frederic “Fritz” Lohman and Charles W. Leslie, the founders of the Leslie Lohman Museum in NY which recognizes gay artists from all around the world. Here’s a couple who has been together for 47 years! Gay Love is possible and they were proof. Learning the history and amazing stories of Charles and Fritz only made me happier and prouder to be gay. We are a pretty amazing group of people and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Go ahead and come out wherever you are. It does get better and it really is OK.”

Ivan, in his own words: ” Being gay has afforded me the opportunity to alongside my partner Carlos Cisneros be there caring for and living with my grandmother for the last five years of her life (from 87 years old to 91 years young).

” I am glad that God made you guys the way he did , because otherwise you would have a wife and kids and would not have all this time for me” mama Lenor Santoni. That those years with grandma allowed us without trying to show my family , friends and anyone who happened to be watching : a Latino gay couple happily taking care of a senior citizen.

Being Gay has allowed me to to have a best friend and passionate relationship with one person.
Than You……………Jesus…

In 1994 two of my best friends were moving back home to NY, they are still a couple Moe Bertran and David Pumo. I went to their going away party four days before ( brought gift and all). The next day I woke up called Moe and asked if I could move with them to NY?”@#%#@% Wow! Let me call David and ask him !”. About ten minutes later Moe calls me and says ” David said yes but you have to COME OUT to your mom before we go because he won’t live with someone who is in the closet”. I drove to my mom’s house and told her that I was moving to NY and pretty much in the same breath I said and I’m gay ” she was crying but when she spoke she said ” I am not crying because you are gay I am crying because you are moving to NY”