Tagged: los angeles

Andrew, Graphic Designer, Los Angeles, California

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
Andrew, the Gay Men Project, photo by Kevin Truong
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photo by Kevin Truong
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photo by Kevin Truong
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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
Andrew, in his own words: “One thing that I regret is completely blowing an opportunity to come out to my grandmother, despite the fact that she totally opened the door for me to do so. When I was about 15 years old she took me to a restaurant in Portland known for its original mid century modern interior. She took me there because she knew I wanted to study architecture and because she had been friends with the architect who designed it. I recall her saying something to the effect of, “You know, (so-and-so) was a really nice man and a very talented architect. I think you could make really wonderful things just like he did. He was also gay. People are born that way and it’s nothing to feel ashamed of. Just look at what he was able to do.” I sort of panicked and nodded my head and said nothing. She must have sensed that I wasn’t ready to talk about it, so she smiled and we moved on to something else. It’s only looking back on that conversation now that I realize how fortunate I was to have a grandparent in the 90s who was both accepting of gay people and forthright with their opinions on homosexuality. Didn’t seem like much at the time, but I guess it was.

She died while I was living abroad in college and I wasn’t able to attend the funeral, which was rough. And I know there’s not much to be done, but I wish I could tell her that I was pretty alright with being gay fairly early on because of a conversation that she and I never really had to begin with. The little story about her friend the architect was, I guess, all I needed to hear.”

Derek, Graphic Designer, 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

Derek, in his own words: “Being gay is only a part of yourself, you are made up of many beautiful things and are endlessly worth more than you think.

One major challenge I’ve had is reconciling my beliefs with my sexuality. I think everyone has contradicting aspects that make up who they are, it doesn’t mean that you’re messed up it just means that you’re an individual. You can find success in identifying with not just one part of yourself but by taking each piece and making it your own.

I’d like to feel like I was apart of (the gay community in Los Angeles) but I’ve heard it can become very cliquey and incestuous.
You can’t be friendly to someone at a bar without them thinking you want to get in their pants. Actually, you probably shouldn’t try to make friends at bars, everyone’s horny (unless…). You really just have to be confident, find your place and the people you want to surround yourself with, that’s when it becomes easy.

I knew I was gay ever since I was a little navy cardigan wearing Catholic schoolboy. I didn’t come out until my Junior year of high school, even though my parents had found a gay porn zine I had hidden when I was a Sophomore. My parents and family have become very accepting but at times their different views get the best of them, but that’s family.

(Advice I’d give my younger self). Age 13: Don’t hide your porn in your jacket pockets, you have siblings who like to borrow your clothes. Oops.
Age 16: Don’t worry about what other people think.
Age 18: Don’t be afraid to date and make mistakes, you’ll be fine.”

Rudy, Owner Big Boy Vintage, Los Angeles

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

Rudy, in his own words: “I think the queer scene in LA is very diverse and yet can be segregated at the same time. What I love about it though is that it is something that just keeps evolving and if you don’t see yourself as part of any scene you can create it. I know so many rad queer people in this city who have created spaces for people to gather or be creative. That is not to say that I don’t get nary or frustrated at times with the gay scene in Los Angeles but that’s a whole other story.

I grew up in East LA and am the youngest of eight. Growing up my parents instilled a very strong work ethic. They also made me believe I could do anything I set my mind to. As I grew up here in the states I began to see things a little differently than most of my family. I was drawn to Punk as it seemed to be the outlet I needed to express myself. I knew I was gay at a young age and kinda just accepted it. It was hard for my parents to deal with me and my crazy clothes, music, and way of living that I never really thought about coming out. Eventually I was forced to come out and it did not go over very well. Though as the years have gone by my parents have accepted me for the person I am. They are proud to call me their son. I am still that Mexicano Queer Punk teen at heart and I would not have it any other way. Lastly everything that I have ever done or accomplished in life is a direct result of that work ethic/I can do anything attitude I learned from my parents.”

Big Boy Vintage

Derek, Graphic Designer and Artist, 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

Derek, in his own words: “Being gay is only a part of yourself, you are made up of many beautiful things and are endlessly worth more than you think.

One major challenge I’ve had is reconciling my beliefs with my sexuality. I think everyone has contradicting aspects that make up who they are, it doesn’t mean that you’re messed up it just means that you’re an individual. You can find success in identifying with not just one part of yourself but by taking each piece and making it your own.

I’d like to feel like I was apart of (the gay community in Los Angeles) but I’ve heard it can become very cliquey and incestuous.
You can’t be friendly to someone at a bar without them thinking you want to get in their pants. Actually, you probably shouldn’t try to make friends at bars, everyone’s horny (unless…). You really just have to be confident, find your place and the people you want to surround yourself with, that’s when it becomes easy.

I knew I was gay ever since I was a little navy cardigan wearing Catholic schoolboy. I didn’t come out until my Junior year of high school, even though my parents had found a gay porn zine I had hidden when I was a Sophomore. My parents and family have become very accepting but at times their different views get the best of them, but that’s family.

(Advice I’d give my younger self). Age 13: Don’t hide your porn in your jacket pockets, you have siblings who like to borrow your clothes. Oops.
Age 16: Don’t worry about what other people think.
Age 18: Don’t be afraid to date and make mistakes, you’ll be fine.”

Jacob and Hayden, Musician and Musician/Director, 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

Jacob, in his own words: “Being gay is AMAZING.

It means I can wear cut off shorts and a lady wig to a club and nobody will think anything of it. I haven’t tried it yet, but I appreciate the option.

I actually feel very lucky to be gay, and to be with my husband, Hayden. We have a great physical and spiritual connection that I feel like can only be achieved in a same sex relationship. It’s easier to truly understand each other (I think sometimes different hormones and mixed signals can make it a little more difficult).

It’s great having someone to watch horror movies, Jam out with music, play video games, and be totally crude together and then later cuddle up or bone down.

(With regards to challenges) Coming out in high school, I lost a few friends…but whatever, I’ve made better ones since then. My Mom Also had a hard time grasping the concept that gays were not just a walking virus. She said some hard things to hear and we don’t talk much these days.

Trying not to be “gay fat” is also a challenge.

I have met many excellent gays here in LA. I don’t know if I can tell you much about the scene here though. I spend more time at home than going out in gay town. The gays I do spend my time with are rad ass though. Artsy fartsy crafty gays. I’m lucky to have found a group of friends where we’re always trying to keep each other busy with our different art projects… which was always a dream of mine in high school.

In middle school I wasn’t out to my family… or really any of my friends. However, I never said no to a gay hook up when it presented itself..

I eventually became more comfortable with my sexuality and a little more open about it in high school…I was even sort of dating someone. I guess I was never too careful about covering my tracks either. The internet browser would totally remember all the porn I had looked at, so that was probably cool for my mom when she went to check her email and the browser suggested she check out gaybeef.com instead.

Then one night when I was 15, I came home from work and saw that my mom searched my room and found all my porn and placed it in a fanned out arrangement on my bed. Great. I went straight to bed that night, unable to face the embarrassment. The Next morning we had a fight and I left for school…which I decided to ditch. I moved out that night and was emancipated a few months later.

My mom and I don’t Speak that often. but we both love each other.. it just is what it is.
I’m happy with where I am and what I’ve been able to accomplish on my own. Being gay has given me great strength. and I am very proud of who I am.”

Hayden, in his own words: “Being gay…what does it mean to me? I’ve never really given it much thought. But, I would have to say that it means having the freedom to express myself. That sounds pretty cheesy, and sometimes its easier said than done. But, I’ll try and break it down.

Being a gay guy is awesome. I have a partner that understands when I need to find a save point before I shut-off the Xbox. He gets that some nights its better to stay at home with a 6-pack and watch horror movies all night.

My family, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people. Not only do they appreciate my weirdness…they encourage it.

My friends, they’re all so unique and incredible. We’re like a group of renegade artists. If someone isn’t working on an art project we get itchy.

Being gay to me means being fortunate to be myself and have the support it takes to do so.

I haven’t really faced many challenges for being gay. I came out in High School, which probably would have been tough. But, I think the black make-up and spiked collars took some of the focus off of the fact that I was gay.

Its difficult to describe the gay scene in Los Angeles. There are a ton of queers with a ton of different interests; a person has some options. I stay home a lot…ha ha.

My coming out story is totally boring. It was during 11th grade English class. The girl behind me used to read Metal Edge Magazine everyday. Our teacher was often intoxicated so I would turn around in my desk to read the magazines with her. She would talk about which rock stars she thought were hot. Never being one to shy away controversy, I tested the waters here and professed my love for Daniel Johns of Silverchair. She didn’t bat an eyelash but rather said, “Me too. I had a sex dream about him last night.”

Check out Jacob and Hayden’s music with Professor Possessor

Ed, Photographer, Los Angeles

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photo by Kevin Truong
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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

Ed, in his own words: “I came to the realization that I was gay in 1957, when I was sixteen, and immediately went into a suicidal depression that lasted fifteen years. The word “gay” didn’t even exist back then; there was no public acknowledgment of homosexuality, there were no support groups, magazines, books, organizations – nothing. I thought I was the only guy on earth who was attracted to other guys and my attraction was unspeakably perverse and evil.

Half a century and a thousand heartaches later so much has changed. I’m happy to have witnessed the revolution and in some small way, to have been a part of it. I know we still have a long way to go, and for many young people, being gay and coming out are still a nightmare – sometimes even a deadly one. But the progress we have made, just in my lifetime, is unmistakable – and inspiring. Being gay used to be the thing I hated most about myself. Now it’s something I value – the sensitivity, consciousness and the passion that are part and parcel of being gay are some of the most essential aspects of my life. And I’ve come to realize that coming out – the thing I dreaded most – is actually a process that validates and enhances my identity and sense of self worth. My worst fear has turned out to be one of my greatest blessings.I feel honored to have been given the gift of homosexuality.”

Abdi, Writer, Los Angeles

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

Abdi, in his own words: “When I was ten years old, I became obsessed with old movies. I’m not sure what the other kids were doing, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t having Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, and Joan Crawford movie marathons by themselves. At the time, I had no idea that my interests were in line with a larger gay community, and I’ve always been fascinated by how and why I sought out these gay icons before I had any comprehension of sex or sexuality. Honestly, the first time I remember really understanding the concept of a gay community was when I saw Madonna’s “Truth or Dare.” Watching her and her dancers at a Gay Pride parade opened my eyes to a whole new world.

I came into my sexuality as men were dying of AIDS. As a result, I equated being gay with death. This seems to be a pretty common correlation in my generation of gay men. We were the generation that came too late to lose many (or any) friends to AIDS, but came too early to brush off the disease. We really internalized the safe sex messaging and frightening imagery in a way I don’t see in previous or subsequent generations. In college, a friend of mine was doing a sociology study and asked classmates to envision their future. None of the gay men saw life past forty.

Of course, all this changed drastically in the subsequent two decades. Once I became more confident and comfortable with living as an out gay man, my focus shifted to starting a family. I always knew I wanted to have children, but I never knew what it would look like. Part of the difficulty of living in a heteronormative society is the lack of role models. It wasn’t until I spent time with one of my best lesbian friends and her children that I felt comfortable taking the plunge into fatherhood. She and her family represented a version of family life that resonated with me in a way heterosexual families didn’t.

I didn’t grow up wanting to get married, and I still don’t. I support the marriage movement, and marched through Los Angeles when Prop 8 passed, because I believe fervently in equal rights. But marriage was never part of my vision for my life. I guess I prefer making up my own rules rather than accepting somebody else’s. I think people see that I have a partner, two children, a dog, and a house with a white picket fence, and they immediately think that I’m living a version of the heterosexual American Dream. But that’s really not how I see myself at all.

I was at the Long Beach Pride Parade this year and there were floats for Wells Fargo, Ralph’s, Jet Blue and a slew of other corporations. The emcee was shouting “When I say Wells, you say Fargo. Wells…. Fargo. Wells… Fargo.” I was appalled. Someone told me, “Well at least they support the gay community.” To which I say, it should be a given that major corporations support the gay community. That doesn’t mean they deserve a float in our parade. My version of gay pride is celebrating all the things that make us different, not where we bank and buy cereal. I like the rebellious side of gay culture. I like pushing the boundaries of the mainstream.

I’m really hopeful about where gay culture’s place in our society is going. That said, I also miss gay culture being more of a hidden secret. The internet has really made counterculture obsolete because it’s hard to know what the dominant culture is anymore. We have become a demographic. I know this is progress, but I can’t help but miss the more subversive and radical side of gay culture. One of the greatest experiences I ever had as a gay man was in Havana. The gay scene there consisted of meeting outside a movie theater called the Yara and waiting for someone to circulate the information of a secret party, which was held in a different spot each night. Drinking and dancing together at these parties felt like a meaningful act of rebellion, without any interference from Absolut promotions and Britney giveaways.

I’m really lucky to live in Los Angeles. There are elements of gay life in Los Angeles that are imperfect: lots of body fascism and a lack of socio-economic diversity. But on the whole, Los Angeles has been great to me as a gay man. It’s a city of artists and dreamers who move here to create a new and better version of themselves, much as most gay people must do. It’s important to me to live in a city where I can send my children to a school full of modern, unconventional families. People sometimes ask me whether I care whether my children are gay or straight. I don’t. I believe we come into the world with much of our nature in place, and it’s the parents’ job to help nurture that nature. Chances are, by the time they grow up, we won’t need any pride parades anymore. Perhaps no one will be debating the validity of anyone’s marriage and there will finally be a cure for HIV/AIDS. Perhaps there will be no one left quoting “Mommie Dearest” to each other as some kind of secret code. That would probably be a happier world for gay people, though that won’t stop me from being nostalgic for the good old days when we were chanting “We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used To It!” instead of “Wells Fargo!”

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Jason and Brian, Senior Art Producer and Senior Copywriter, 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

Jason, in his own words: “(Being gay means) Living an honest and happy life.

My ultimate challenge was accepting that I was gay. But once I did at the age of 21, it’s been an incredible part of who I am. I’ve had the time of my life!

I first came out to my close friends who were accepting and “knew the whole time.” I later came out to my parents 7 years into my relationship with Brian [going on 11]. I thought, “It’s about time.” My family was never religious or passed judgment. I think it’s because we never shared our feelings or talked about our personal life. I still felt “what if…?” but coming out to my parents took about 20 minutes [Yes, only 20!]. One night, after dinner, I took them in another room while Brian was washing the dishes. My parents only had a few questions: “Do you wear women’s clothing?” and “Is there anything we could have done?” I responded with “Are you serious!? NO!” and “Of course not.” And that was it! Time for dessert! From that moment on their relationship with Brian only got better. I couldn’t have asked for a better “coming out” story.

The LA gay community for the most part is quite diverse. I think you make what you want to make out of each community. So depending on who you are and the type of people you surround yourself with depends on how you relate to each “scene.” I’ve always felt welcomed and never had any “hangups.” But I know some people hate the “WeHo” scene or hate the “Silverlake hipster” scene. I say embrace and enjoy! What ever your cup of tea may be!”

Brian, in his own words: “(Being gay) means being faaaaaabulous! Just kidding (kind of). To me, being gay is a very important part of who I am – but it doesn’t define everything that I am. Being gay means I’m part of a large community of people that have something in common, but not everything – which is something I really like. Many of my friends are gay but we’re a very eclectic group.

I live in LA and most of the people I interact with are either gay or could give a shit less that I’m gay. So daily challenges are minimal. When Jason and I travel, we keep in mind that not everyone is going as open-minded as we’re used to. But it still takes you by surprise if some asshole yells something while driving by (it’s always when they can make a cowardly get-away) or you just get that feeling that someone is uncomfortable with gays and gets awkward.

Aside from the challenges in coming out to my family (more on that later), I’ve been pretty lucky. Except for having to live up to a high “gay” standard of dress, fitness, snark, etc. That can be exhausting. I mean pool parties during the summer are like a friggin’ full time job of working out, not eating and modeling a brand new bathing suit that looks like it was sewn onto you. (Don’t you feel sorry for me?!)

(The gay community in Los Angeles) is Huge. Epic. Diverse. Dramatic. Supportive. All of those things. I wish we were a little more in touch with our history/politics – like New York and San Franciso, but LA gays are a little warmer and laid back in comparison, which I enjoy.

When Jason and I started dating, I made a promise to myself that if we hit the one-year mark, I would come out to my family. I had already come out to most of my friends, which was a sometimes awkward but for the most part very well received. I mean, it wasn’t much of a surprise to most. (I think my performance as Whitney Houston in the 3rd grade talent show might’ve tipped them off. Side note: I naaaaailed it.) Most importantly, I was extremely fortunate to have such amazing friends that were supportive and loving. It made coming out to them quite easy.

My family was more difficult. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I come from a very small town in upstate NY. It’s mostly conservative, very traditional and the only gays our town was familiar with were the “city gays” that would come up from NYC to spend money on antiques and enjoy our “quaint” little village.
My parents met at a high school football game and married soon after, my brother married a girl that grew up two miles from our house, and then there was me – living in sinful Los Angeles, on the other side of the country, with my Asian-American boyfriend. Kaboom.

I ended up waiting 9 months into our relationship to tell my family about Jason. My parents were out visiting at the time for a relaxing trip to Disneyland. They had already met my “friend” Jason on a prior trip, so at least that was out of the way. Then, one day before we left our hotel to go for a bike ride, I decided it was time to break the news. I remember sitting on the bed, stuttering a bit, and being surprised that for the first time in my life, I was finding it extremely difficult to put something into words. But I did. And it was rough. Very rough. One of the most difficult days of my life. (Needless to say, we never went on that bike ride.) But difficult days turned into weeks of working on things, which turned into months of getting used to things, which turned into years of things slowly but surely getting better as my family got to know Jason.

Now, 11 years later, the relationship between my parents and Jason is where I always hoped it’d be. It took lots of work, by everyone, but in the end, I’m so grateful for love and understanding. I hope that any gay kid, petrified of telling the people he loves that he’s gay, can learn from this and know that although it can be one of the hardest things they might ever do, it can – and will – get better. (But not for pool parties.)”

Dwayne, Optician/Manager/Buyer/Stylist, 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

Dwayne, in his own words: “I am the only boy out of Nine older sisters, and the baby at that. Being gay was just the way I was born. At 11, I was watching a beauty pageant and I remember saying to my sisters that the host was very beautiful, and they just looked at me and said men are not beautiful they are handsome, and I said no he is beautiful.

Growing up in Venice, California and being raised Southern Baptist, I thought it was not okay to be gay. That’s when my mother and my sisters said to me it does not matter who you are or what you are, we love you and god loves you.

I still have friends that I grew up with, one in particular named Bo. Bo and l loved to play flight attendants on the Santa Monica Bus line. We would board at Mark Twain Jr. High School with our scarves and our Pam Am bags and proceed to drive the bus driver crazy as we ran up and down the aisles of the bus calming down the passengers. This was really something that had to be seen.

My first actual relationship was at 32 with Jon M. Buhek. I had never felt the way I felt with him. That was love and we were together for seventeen years, but unfortunately we had to part ways. I still miss him, but life must go on.

My life now is so wonderful. I have the greatest group of friends and I just love when we get together and just have fun. At 48, I now know what I want and that’s to be in love again and in a life-long partnership. “

Mark, Manager/Buyer, 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

Mark, in his own words: “I just love being gay. I love that I have the gay gene and that it makes me in demand. People want my opinion and my advice. Suddenly I’m an expert on everything fabulous.

Gay in the 80’s was not like being gay today. I was called sissy, faggot, a bitch.

At 17 I met Cole who was 35, and I came out to my Mother. She said my love is unconditional for you, but who is this man? He was a butcher who worked for my sister in law’s family and I wanted to move in with him. He was older and experienced and he swept me off my feet. After a month we traveled across the US to Vermont to meet his family. It was a great incredible time of my life. I was free, away from home and on my own.

We moved back to LA and I found out that he was a cheater and a Liar. I met Bobby who was also gay, and we lived as platonic roommates for 8 years. But during this time I did not date at all. I surrounded myself with female friends and straight people. I was a straight hag. I was not living the life of a gay man, but I plunged into my art and found a creative outlet in oil painting, 3-D triptych art, and collages. This I incorporate today in window display and visual merchandising.

At 26 I moved into West Hollywood and started living life for the first time as a gay man and opportunities started arising. I came out to my employer and this allowed me to be more myself at work. I was comfortable in my skin and clients would set me up on dates.

The ducks were in a row, but that does not make it easy. I was afraid to date or go to a bar by myself. Although I wanted a relationship I had to deal with my own insecurities. I still had a hurdle to overcome before I could have my happy ending.

2 years ago I was united with a sister that had never been in my life. She is a lesbian with 3 kids and her partner has 3 kids too. They joined houses and formed the Gaydy Bunch, like the tv show. My new nephew just came out at 13 and he did it in such a supportive and loving environment. What a great time this is for him. It is very brave of him.

I feel so normal in that I’m considerate, kind and I want a loving life-long partnership. That’s what I’m looking for now. At 50, I’m insecure since most 50 year olds want a 20 something and I don’t.”