Tagged: montreal

Marc-Antoine, Montreal, Canada

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

Marc-Antoine, in his own French words: « Ce qu’on doit chercher à savoir, c’est de quelle façon on doit vivre sa vie pour qu’elle soit la meilleure possible. »

– Socrate

«…et cela s’applique à tous, dans toutes les cultures et tous les pays. Je suis très choyé d’habiter dans une ville où les gens sont ouverts d’esprit et conscients des droits et liberté de chacun. À Montréal, être gai est assez bien accepté, très bien accepté même. Il n’y a que très peu de discrimination et la communauté homosexuelle est très présente. J’irais même jusqu’à dire qu’ici, les homophobes sont jugés bien plus sévèrement que les homosexuels!

Pourtant, même ici, faire son « coming out » n’est pas toujours simple. J’ai fais le mien à 20 ans. Aujourd’hui, avec du recul, je me demande pourquoi avoir attendu si longtemps?
Évidemment, j’étais très anxieux de la réaction de mes proches. Originaire de Lévis, j’ai décidé qu’en déménageant à Montréal, il était temps de me débarrasser du fardeau de ce secret. J’ai décidé que le meilleur pour moi était d’être fidèle à moi-même. J’étais gai.

Peu importe combien j’aimais les gens autour de moi, je me suis dis que mes vrais proches m’accepteraient comme je suis. Et ils l’ont tous fait, ils m’ont tous aimé autant et parfois même encore plus, sans exception.

Je souhaite le meilleur du monde à tous et aujourd’hui particulièrement à tous les homosexuels, qu’ils soient « out » ou non. Trouvez le meilleur pour vous, la vie est belle et la liberté existe.»

Marc-Antoine

English translation:

“What we need to know is how to live a life to make it the best possible.”

– Socrate

… And this applies to everyone, in every culture and every country. I am very fortunate to live in a city where people are open-minded and aware of the rights and freedoms of everyone. In Montreal, being gay is pretty well accepted, even very well accepted. There is very little discrimination and the gay community is very present. I would even say that here, homophobic are judged more harshly than homosexuals!

Yet even here, to “come out” is not always simple. I came out at the age of 20. Today, in retrospect, I wonder why I waited so long.

Obviously, I was very anxious for the reaction of my family and friends. Originally from Levis, I decided when I moved to Montreal that it was time to rid myself of the burden of this secret. I decided that the best thing for me was to be true to myself. I was gay.

I was scared of losing friends or family, but I knew that those who really love me would love me as I am. And they all did, they all loved me as much and maybe even more, without exception.
I wish the best to the entire world today and particularly to all homosexuals, whether they are “out” or not. Find the best for you, life is beautiful and there is freedom.”

Marc-Antoine

Kazuki and Harold, Homemaker and Technical Director, Montreal, Cananda

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

 

Harold, in his own words: “My whole life, people have looked at me and assumed that I’m something that I’m not. This has made me ask: what assumptions am I making? I used to spend my years wishing I would fade into the background of normalcy, but being gay has taught me that is an illusion. To me, being gay is a reminder to ask questions about life and reject norms and groupthink.

My greatest triumph in my life was figuring out how to make a life with Kazuki. He was Japanese and I was American, and there was no way for us to live together. We tried and tried to find loopholes in the immigration laws, and there was lots of yelling and sadness and tears, but no answers. Then one day, I eventually found a job in Canada that would immigrate each of us from our home country to Vancouver. I felt like a great husband in that moment, that I had actually turned us from two men into a family. Today we are both happily Canadian. As long as I live, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to match that.

I’m not much of a joiner and don’t really know what a “gay scene” really is. I don’t hang out with a crowd just because they like the same gender I do, I hang out with people who share my interests and my values. I haven’t been in Montreal very long, but I can tell you a little bit about the arts scene, the gaming scene, the bar scene, and various other subcultures, and they all have gay people in them.

I was outed at my high school by the school’s pastor. High school sucked after that, and when I got into college, my father, in his misguided caring, told me, “Do yourself a favour: never tell anybody.” And so I put myself back in the closet and tried dating women. It wasn’t until several years later, once I was in grad school, I was at the Keith Haring retrospective at the Whitney. They had a notebook he kept during high school and wrote notes in code. On the page it was opened to, Keith had written in code, “Rule #1: Never tell anybody.” That exhibition, with its explosive exuberance and celebration of being gay, had a powerful effect on me. On my good days, I had felt that being gay was not a bad thing, but this show made me realize how lucky I was to be gay. I immediately told all my friends as if I had this great news that I had to share, and never looked back.”

Kazuki, in his own words: “Being gay for me just means being attracted to people of the same gender. Being gay doesn’t define me, it is a part of me. Although, having said that, as an out and proud gay person, I feel some responsibility to be a positive example. There are many fellow Japanese gay men (and straight people) who think that being gay can only be like the stereotypes depicted on TV, and I think it’s good for them to know somebody who isn’t like that, and that we can be happy out of the closet and still be ourselves.

I don’t feel that I have had any challenged to overcome just because I am gay. However, I strongly feel that one of the biggest challenges we go though as gay men is to accept ourselves, and to be comfortable with ourselves.

I’ve only been (in Montreal) for a short while, so I don’t know much about the community yet. I’ll let you know when I find out.

When I left Japan for university in the US, my mom told me, “You better not go dating anyone. You’re going to university to study, not for anything else. When I came back home in the Summer of 1999, she asked me, “So, do you have a girlfriend now?” This made me wonder, what happened? Later, I found out that many of her friends were having grandchildren, which probably influenced her to think that it’s a good time for me to settle down and start a family. I was 25.

I felt like this was a perfect time: now or never. I had been thinking of coming out to my mom for such a long time and I though she would be okay with it. So, later that Summer, I came out to my mom and her boyfriend over lunch. I was wrong, and we did not speak again until I flew back to the US.

She didn’t really want to discuss anything about my personal life after that. She simply didn’t want to hear it. But I pushed the issue and told her anyway. It was only fair, since she had told me so much about her personal life, and it was my turn to share.

I think it was a more difficult time for my mom than it was for me. It took her a long time to come around. By the Summer of 2009 I had met and Harold, but when we went back to Okinawa, my mom refused to meet my husband. So I chose not to see her at all. When we were planning a second visit, she was very unhappy about it and pushed back. In the mean time, I was also talking to my younger brother about our trip, and when he found out that my mom didn’t want to see me, he did something I didn’t expect. He called my mom and scolder her, saying, “You are pushing your son away! You are destroying our family!”

I guess that made her realize what she had been doing all these years, and by the time we arrived in Okinawa she had completely changed her mind. As she describes it, when she saw both of us together, she said it felt so natural. She totally accepted me and my husband, and even arranged a small gather with my family and some of her close friends, without even telling us. It was like a wedding reception, and she told all the guests how happy and proud she was for both of us. It’s been a great ride since then.”

Simon, Montreal, Canada

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Simon, in his own words: “Être homosexuel, bon ou mauvais ou les deux ? Le plus difficile est de l’accepter pour soi-même. Après l’acception il reste à l’intégrer, une fois intégré on y trouve du bon, on grandit et on se dit qu’il y a pire que ça dans la vie !

Ça débute par faire le deuil de notre idéal de vie que l’on c’était imaginé dès le jeune âge, d’un modèle de famille qu’on croyait facilement réalisable. La frustration et la colère s’emparent de nous et nous fait regarder en l’air pour envoyer chier le bon dieu de nous imposer un tel défi. On voudrait négocier avec lui un cancer, voir même une amputation en remplacement de ce mal étrange et intense qui nous habite. On cherche à qui s’identifier dans ce nouvel univers d’hyper sexualisation auquel on n’a pas envie d’adhérer malgré la pression qui nous y pousse. On est confronté à nos propres préjugés, on se déconstruit pour retrouver une nouvelle identité, on tente de se trouver de nouveaux repères, non sans peur, angoisse ni vertige.

Puis on se dévoile au grand jour, on cesse de se mentir et de mentir aux autres, sauf à sa grand-mère trop vieille pour comprendre, on fait face aux préjugés, les nôtres et ceux des autres, on a peur d’aimer, de s’ouvrir, on se le reproche et on renvoie chier le bon dieu, on s’achète un pantalon trop serré et on le rapporte au magasin. L’ambiguïté s’installe entre ce qui est normal et malsain, on avance et on revient sur nos pas.

Et puis un jour on aperçoit la lumière au bout du tunnel, on respire une bonne bouffée d’air. On se regarde dans le miroir et enfin on aime assez ce qu’on y voit. On regarde derrière sans avoir envie d’y retourner. Finalement on se reconstruit dans une authenticité qui nous réjouit et on se rend compte qu’on ne le déteste pas tant que ça ce Christ. On prend conscience que ce détour obligatoire nous a fait voyager à travers nous-même, nous a permis de s’ouvrir aux autres, de s’ouvrir à la différence, on se sent entier et enfin libre. Alors on desserre les poings et on trouve que tout ça en valait la peine.”

In English:

“Being gay, is it good, bad, or both? The hardest part of being gay is accepting yourself. Once that’s done, you can integrate your sexuality into your daily life, you grow, and you realize that there are worst things in life than being gay!

As a child we have this ideal of what a family is, and we assume that we’ll easily attain that dream, but the realization that you’re gay turns that notion on its head – in the beginning. We lose ourselves to anger and frustration, cursing a god that would impose such a harsh life on us. We try to negotiate with him, maybe a cancer, or an amputation, anything to rid ourselves of these strange feelings that have taken hold. We search for someone to identify with in this new hyper-sexualized world, a world we want no part of, despite the pressure we feel to conform to it. We face our own prejudices, and in the process we deconstruct ourselves to find a new identity, and new support systems, without fear or anxiety.

Then the big day comes, we stop lying to ourselves and to everyone else, well, maybe not grandma, she’s too old to understand; we face prejudice, both our own and those of others, we’re afraid to love, or to open up, and we blame ourselves, and again, we curse god, we buy those skinny jeans that are much too tight, only to return them. Ambiguity settles in between what is right and wrong, we take one step forward and two steps back.

Then one day, we see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we can finally breathe. Our reflection in the mirror is finally one that we can tolerate, more than that, we see someone that we finally like. We look back on the past without longing to return to it. Eventually we find happiness being our authentic self, and acknowledge that maybe we were a little hard on God earlier. We realize that this detour was necessary and forced us to examine ourselves, it let us open ourselves to others, it helped us to accept our differences, and we finally feel free. We can now let go of all that tension we held, and we find that it was all worth it.”