Tagged: photos of gay men

Reinier, Graphic Designer, 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

Reiner, in his own words: “I used to think being gay, meant about rejections from the people you love, about the body, about parties, about sex and I was really scare about it but now I know that being gay its much bigger than that, it’s about being who you are no matter what, it’s about to loving yourself and always be proud.

Coming out for me was really easy and I’m very lucky I have the must wonderfull mother I can ever ask for, and I thought will be harder then that because I was comparing with my other friends experiences and I told her because I was in a relationship, I was traveling all the time and I was sick of so many lies, so I decided to make her part of my life and was a very emotional momment.

I was really scared and with my brother there to support me and I told her and she was like “so? what you expect me to do? You’re my son I have to love you no matter what” and she started to cry when she was talking, then my brother was crying too, and she hug me and told me “no matter what I will be here for you, because I love you and I am proud of you” and the very next day she was treating me like always just like my brothers, my dad and my friends when I came out with them.

So my story doesn’t have drama or hate and that’s why I feel lucky and proud to be gay. When it’s about to be gay in Panama its kind of hard because there is a lot of gossips and jealousy in this country, that’s why I refuse to let those with dirty feet walk through my mind, and just be happy.”

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Antoine, Project Manager, Paris

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

Antoine, in his own French words: “Etre gay signifie pour moi être une personne ayant une forte sensibilité et partageant les émotions de manière sincère et profonde avec leurs amis. Cela fait référence à un style de vie bien à part comparé à des couples hétérosexuels dans la mesure où les gays ont tendance à fréquenter des personnes de leur « milieu », même si ce n’est pas une généralité. Etre gay est aussi synonyme d’affirmation de son goût pour l’art, quel que soit le domaine (architecture, artiste, peinture, mode). En général, les gays sont altruistes et cherchent à rendre heureux les personnes dans la nécessité. Ils sont aussi engagés dans les causes qui leur tiennent à cœur.

En tant que gay, j’ai parfois dû me justifier sur ma sensibilité démesurée. Derrière la « carapace » que je me suis forgée au fur et à mesure des années pour me protéger des insinuations ou provocations se trame une très grande sensibilité que je dévoile qu’aux personnes très proches ou dont le parcours m’interpelle.
Aux yeux de certains, cette hyper-sensibilité ainsi que mon goût prononcé pour les belles choses peut les interroger sur mes orientations sexuelles.

A mes yeux, le quartier gay de Paris est plutôt restreint puisqu’il se cantonne au Marais. Il est très fréquent de croiser des visages connus lorsque l’on s’y rend. Comme dans toutes les autres villes, ce quartier est plutôt superficiel mais il est toujours agréable de s’y promener afin d’observer les différents styles des personnes arpentant les rues du quartier.
Saint-Germain des Prés -moins superficiel et plus cultivé- est un autre lieu où les gays peuvent se balader en prenant du plaisir.

Mon coming-out s’est fait très simplement ! Alors que je demandais à mes parents si mon copain de l’époque pouvait venir en vacances avec ma famille, ma mère m’a interpellé en me demandant s’il s’agissait de mon petit-ami. J’ai alors répondu « Oui », et ma famille l’a très bien reçu en me soutenant dans mes choix et en considérant que le principal était d’être heureux et d’avoir trouvé son équilibre !”

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

David, Actor/Fight-Director/Musician, New York City

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

David, in his own words “Being gay is a great blessing. I feel that gay men are forced to confront their shadows at an early age and in ways that straight men, by and large don’t have to. We have to scrutinize our very identity as men and learn what that means to be ourselves. It’s a very personal journey of self-realization, self-acceptance and self-actualization. It can be daunting, heart-breaking, frightening, exciting, astonishing and deeply spiritual.

My journey was not easy. I didn’t come out to myself till I was in my mid-twenties and then to my parents in my late 20s. I had suppressed my gay nature all through adolescence and college; keeping my eye on the prize of making myself into an actor and theater artist. It was that very choice of vocation that forced me to be honest with myself and come out. I knew that I’d never be any good as an actor if I couldn’t be first honest with myself. An actor must be relentless in their quest for truth about the human condition and how to accurately tell it’s story.

Ironically, I never have been cast in a gay role for film or tv. I’m told I don’t “read” gay with my stocky build, and baritone voice. Luckily the stage has been more generous and allowed me to play some great gay characters.

Since then, I’ve worked hard to build bridges with many of NYC’s gay theater artists and have helped found a new Queer theater company: {Your Name Here} A Queer Theater Company. I also worked frequently as a fight-choreographer for off-broadway and indie-film. As far as I know, I’m the only “out” gay fight-director and like to think that I’m helping break stereotypes about gay men.

Other aspects of my nature worked against my easy integration into the gay community of NYC at first. I like martial arts and was a regular on the amateur tournament circuit. I enjoy rock /punk/psycho-billy music and the out-doors. I have found some acceptance in the leather and gay-pagan communities and have cultivated a wonderful circle of queer friends. “

Antoine, Visiting from Paris

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

Antoine, in his own words: “Etre gay signifie pour moi être une personne ayant une forte sensibilité et partageant les émotions de manière sincère et profonde avec leurs amis. Cela fait référence à un style de vie bien à part comparé à des couples hétérosexuels dans la mesure où les gays ont tendance à fréquenter des personnes de leur « milieu », même si ce n’est pas une généralité. Etre gay est aussi synonyme d’affirmation de son goût pour l’art, quel que soit le domaine (architecture, artiste, peinture, mode). En général, les gays sont altruistes et cherchent à rendre heureux les personnes dans la nécessité. Ils sont aussi engagés dans les causes qui leur tiennent à cœur.

En tant que gay, j’ai parfois dû me justifier sur ma sensibilité démesurée. Derrière la « carapace » que je me suis forgée au fur et à mesure des années pour me protéger des insinuations ou provocations se trame une très grande sensibilité que je dévoile qu’aux personnes très proches ou dont le parcours m’interpelle.
Aux yeux de certains, cette hyper-sensibilité ainsi que mon goût prononcé pour les belles choses peut les interroger sur mes orientations sexuelles.

A mes yeux, le quartier gay de Paris est plutôt restreint puisqu’il se cantonne au Marais. Il est très fréquent de croiser des visages connus lorsque l’on s’y rend. Comme dans toutes les autres villes, ce quartier est plutôt superficiel mais il est toujours agréable de s’y promener afin d’observer les différents styles des personnes arpentant les rues du quartier.
Saint-Germain des Prés -moins superficiel et plus cultivé- est un autre lieu où les gays peuvent se balader en prenant du plaisir.

Mon coming-out s’est fait très simplement ! Alors que je demandais à mes parents si mon copain de l’époque pouvait venir en vacances avec ma famille, ma mère m’a interpellé en me demandant s’il s’agissait de mon petit-ami. J’ai alors répondu « Oui », et ma famille l’a très bien reçu en me soutenant dans mes choix et en considérant que le principal était d’être heureux et d’avoir trouvé son équilibre !”

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Charles, Philosophy Student, 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

Charles, in his own words: “It would be nice to say that being gay to me means nothing more than sexual preferences or habits, but I think that would be a little naïve. Growing up gay or closeted shapes your outlook, and I feel like from that there’s a connection most gay men have with each other that’s more than a sexual thing. Like, oh, by being out of the closet, we both share a story that most people can’t relate to.

I just wish that from that we could open a more productive dialogue where we aren’t afraid to acknowledge the ways that being gay is still sometimes difficult. There’s this idea I think that if you admit that you’re struggling with being “out” or just being “gay,” you’ll be reminded that the solution is just to act “less gay,” and restrict any “gayness” of yours to the bedroom. But to be “gay” means more than sex. I feel like nobody wants to admit that but it’s still true. I mean, there’s a reason we all know what “act less gay” means. I feel like I notice these things because I’ve been “out” for so long now, like I came out to everybody when I was 14, so I’ve grown up with that, I don’t really ever think of myself as being gay. When I first came out I know that I did but that was so long ago I hardly even remember coming out or what it was like before I came out. Everybody told me I was gay before I came out, I was just one of those kids, and, again, it’s not like they were talking about my sex life because I was a little kid.

So people have always responded to me as gay. I’m lucky that for the most part none of those responses have been negative or violent, but for a lot of people it’s still frustrating being lumped into a group while you’re still trying to figure out your identity.”

Avshalom and Yonathan, Jewelry Designer and Professor, 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

Yonathan, in his own words: “When I came out in Israel, 10 years ago, being gay meant complete identification with the LGBT community and its struggle for equal rights. My “newfound” identity mixed with my already strong social sensitivity from home, and pushed me to become a gay rights advocate, and eventually a serial social entrepreneur. For most of my 20’s, I founded and managed several non-profits. Initially, I was in leadership positions in almost every LGBT struggle or organization the community had – from the founding of the Israeli Gay Youth organization, introducing sensitivity training to the Israeli police, the founding of the LGBT community center in Tel-Aviv, to managing community development organizations dealing with visibility in traditionally homophobic communities. As the years went by my identity became more integrated with other parts of my life and it stopped being the center of my existence. Nowadays, being gay is not my identity, but rather a part of my sexual identity. It still informs the way I look at the world and analyze things. It is a great privilege to have a sense of community and belonging, to be embedded in a larger culture (whether Jewish, Israeli, or NY) and have a “pink” pair of glasses to look at, and critique them with. Being part of a stigmatized minority, shunned from mainstream society, you have to fight for your rights but it also enables one to chart one’s own path – we don’t have to be in a relationship, we don’t have to marry, we don’t have to have kids, rather we choose the lifestyle that suits us. Not having the burden of conformity is a great gift. That’s why it’s so funny and interesting for me to see how somehow I found myself in a long-term relationship (9 years; gosh, time flies!), planning to have kids in the near future.

Although I was lucky to never be truly alone, I did feel lonely and isolated for most of my teenage years. I felt I had this big secret, a huge burden, to carry and hide wherever I went. That also meant I was always on guard – watching what I say and not really sharing myself with the people closest to me. I used to think that this was because of how homophobic society was but after I came out I realized that the homophobia I really had to deal with, and forgive, was my own. I had these awful scenarios playing in my head about what being gay means and what the repercussions of coming out would be but I’m fortunate that none of them came true. As it turns out those scenarios I had in my head were just that – in my head. Figments of my internalized homophobia. Many years after coming out I happened to sit with a former (straight) high school friend and I told her all this. She asked me naively why did I think all those bad things would happen if I weren’t careful. I explained to her how not having anyone around me that’s gay and how the fact that no one – teachers, parents, kids – ever talked about LGBT people as legitimate people contributed to that. That’s when she said something that shook me. She said, in a voice full of surprise, “what do you mean no one gay?!? I used to go out with Niv and his boyfriend to parties since we were 16.” That was another, very shocking, proof for me that the isolation I felt during those many years was self-imposed. The closet I spent my teenage years in was of my own making just as it was informed by signals from mainstream heterosexist culture.

What I took from this was that you don’t have to be exposed to homophobic views to internalize homophobia. Silence and lack of visibility is enough to make people equate different with wrong. Even if they themselves belong to that different group.

After coming out the hardest challenges were behind me. As I told my parents when I came out – I acknowledge that living as an openly gay man is not as easy as being straight in today’s society but I know that there is no other way for me and I know that a person who has withstood the hardest test – the internal test of confronting ones own demons – can withstand any external test.

There are still many basic rights that other people take for granted and we have to fight for but I’m lucky that my country (Israel) for the most part is very progressive and our joint struggles bear fruit.

I started coming just as my army service was nearing its end (Israeli men and women are conscripted when they’re 18). I was 22 and was waiting for the “right time” to come out since I was 15. Thanks to an 18-year-old boy I spoke to I realized there is no such thing as “the right time”. He told me he came out when he was 17 and that made me realize that I was wasting time, living my life “on hold”. That was the cognitive “aha” moment that pushed me to come out. The emotional push came from a movie I happened to catch on TV. It depicted the love story of two college boys. It struck me in such a deep way that I couldn’t ignore my heart’s desire anymore. It was like I was awoken from a long sleep and it became crystal clear that I see my future with a man.

I didn’t know anyone gay so I looked online for anything I could find. I started gathering information on the LGBT community and getting guidance from community organizations. In my first call to an LGBT helpline I was in utter shock, I shivered uncontrollably and could barely speak. The funny thing is that later on I became good friends with the volunteer who answered my call and we worked side by side on gay rights struggles. I went to a social group where I met my first boyfriend and we were together for a little over a year. Once I had enough confidence I decided it’s time to take the next step – coming out to my parents. I realized I was sick of hiding who I was and that I don’t want to lead a double life. Once I started gathering information for my parents I went through a very organized process and as I was an intelligence researcher in the army it felt in many ways as if I’m putting together an intelligence brief for them. I did something not many did which was to regularly attend PFLAG meetings. It helped me see things through my parents’ eyes so I could be a better resource for them once I come out.

To “practice” coming out I started coming out to my friends. On the way to the first person I ever came out to I realized I had never said out loud the words “I am gay”. To this day I remember how, just before her house, I looked at my car’s mirror and shouted at my reflection “I am gay, I am gay, I am gay”. It became great fun to come out to friends and I was looking for more and more people to come out to. At the same time I felt like an idiot because I realized that my friends didn’t care that I was gay. Turns out the only one who really had an issue with my sexuality was me.

Three months after I happened across that movie I came out to my parents. First I told my mom, which took it well, and then my dad. His reaction was very surprising. My dad never knew anyone gay (at least that’s what he thought at the time) so my mom and I didn’t know what to expect and she was obviously anxious about it. I made it a rule that I tell everyone face to face and my parents definitely deserved the same. Nevertheless, I prepared a backup plan in case my dad wouldn’t want to talk to me – a long letter describing the process I went through till coming out. On the designated day I sat down next to him at the kitchen table, closed the television set and told him “dad, I have something important to tell you. First though, please read this letter”. As my dad read through it he got teary eyed. Thinking he probably has many unsettling thoughts about the kind of future I’m facing I told him “don’t worry, dad. I’m not going to be alone or get diseases and…” I didn’t quite finish when my dad moved his eyes from my letter, looked straight at me, and said “No Yoni, I only feel bad you had to go through all this on your own. Had you told us we could have been there for you.” It wasn’t negative thoughts about my adult life that made him sad but rather the thought that he had not been there for me in my teenage years.

And this is how I finished my letter: “I remember once, a long time ago, I cried after one of our Friday family dinners and you did not understand why. I was afraid that our family life and togetherness will be gone forever with three words – ‘dad, I’m gay.’ Of course, you didn’t know it back then but I was referring to this exact day when you find out that your son is a bit different then what you had in mind. Mom, dad, I hope you will continue to be the same parents and that you will allow me to continue to be the same son”
Luckily they have. They met my boyfriends and welcomed Avshalom to the family. In fact, we lived in their house for a year after our second date (yes, we moved in on the second date). We’ve been together for 9 amazing years since then. I’m truly blessed with a very supportive, loving, intelligent, partner and parents”

Reinier, Graphic Designer, 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

Reiner, in his own words: “I used to think being gay, meant about rejections from the people you love, about the body, about parties, about sex and I was really scare about it but now I know that being gay its much bigger than that, it’s about being who you are no matter what, it’s about to loving yourself and always be proud.

Coming out for me was really easy and I’m very lucky I have the must wonderfull mother I can ever ask for, and I thought will be harder then that because I was comparing with my other friends experiences and I told her because I was in a relationship, I was traveling all the time and I was sick of so many lies, so I decided to make her part of my life and was a very emotional momment.

I was really scared and with my brother there to support me and I told her and she was like “so? what you expect me to do? You’re my son I have to love you no matter what” and she started to cry when she was talking, then my brother was crying too, and she hug me and told me “no matter what I will be here for you, because I love you and I am proud of you” and the very next day she was treating me like always just like my brothers, my dad and my friends when I came out with them.

So my story doesn’t have drama or hate and that’s why I feel lucky and proud to be gay. When it’s about to be gay in Panama its kind of hard because there is a lot of gossips and jealousy in this country, that’s why I refuse to let those with dirty feet walk through my mind, and just be happy.”

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Guillermo and Alvaro, Communication/PR Advisor/Dancer and Drawing Artist/Clinical Psychologist/Psychotherapist/Blogger, 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
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Alvaro, in his own words: “I was always a different kind of kid, uncomfortable with big crowds and loud noises, I didn’t like people smoking around me or establishing physical contact with me when there was no need. Being in large groups with other kids wasn’t my thing. I used to play alone and I always tried to maintain some personal space since I felt overwhelmed with the stimuli. While I grew up I noticed the stimuli could not only be physical but emotional. I didn’t have a word for it but looking back I can see I was a very empathic kid, picking up on emotional signs in people from a very young age. I got overwhelmed sometimes so my first attempt at controlling the stimuli was to get away from it… from people, that is. I still need to do that sometimes.

Drawing was always there for me when I was alone and I could spend hours filling the pages of drawing pads and sketchbooks, I used to doodle everywhere, the walls, books, any piece of paper I could find, etc. I wasn’t really a noisy kid, I developed a whole universe in my head that nobody else knew about. But I remember I couldn’t decide whether my favorite color was green or blue, then I added red and I got completely confused. Back then I thought I was defective because I couldn’t make up my mind about such small things. I felt as if I was left behind somehow. Eventually I discovered my “defect” granted me the chance to appreciate all colors, switch between one or the other and mix them all together whenever I wanted to, while people around me could only see beauty in one or two things at once. I noticed I didn’t have to choose (or I chose not to choose) and I never thought of myself as “defective” again.

That’s until I hit puberty, my sexuality kicked in and I realized I was different to my peers in yet another aspect. I wasn’t attracted to girls in the same way my friends were. Even my drawings reflected my sexual orientation. I didn’t have a word for what I was feeling except the derogatory ones I had learned at school, on TV or even at home when some family members referred to non-straight people. I was lost, I thought I wouldn’t be able to control this new difference and turn it into something good. I fought my homosexuality for years, I tried to erase it, hide it, forget about it. I graduated high school and went to the University to become a Psychologist, there I tried to analyze my sexuality, interpret it, I cried a lot and got angry at myself for being like that. I feared rejection and got depressed. I rejected myself and I stopped producing any type of art for a couple of years.

I dated women, I slept with them and had a good time. I remember my dad caught me a couple of times with a girlfriend and he would only smile with pride. I was so happy he approved, I felt so validated. But one day I had to face it: I had been lying to myself and sex with women wasn’t going to work for me forever. I had sex with another man for the first time when I was 21 (I know it sounds late but that’s how it was). When I was finally building up the courage to talk to my parents about my sexuality, my dad got in a car accident. I wanted to tell him about me if only to be honest with him and because I was desperate to know if he’d still love me if I was gay, but he died before I had the chance to find out, so my question will remain unanswered forever. A month after his passing I began drawing men again, I haven’t stopped since then and now my art is one of the things that define me as a human being, as a man, as a gay man.

Eventually I “came out” to my mother and she cried and stopped talking to me. She had a whole lot of misguided ideas and I had to clarify a lot of things for her. It was a growing up experience for both of us. Now she and the rest of my family know about me and they respect me. Anonymity is no longer my primary defense and I even disagree with the expression “coming out of the closet” since I think the closet is where you keep the things you’re not using at any given time and the truth is sexuality permeates our every move, our every thought, our every emotion. We interpret life and the world around us based on who we are and our sexuality is a big part of that.

I’m a Doctor in Clinical Psychology and a Psychotherapist, I work with all kinds of people but always keep a big part of my practice dedicated to gay or bisexual men and women, same sex couples or even parents that get scared because their kids are “different”. I’m also a self taught drawing artist, which is my true passion and my subjects are mostly men, these days I use multiple colors and don’t feel defective for it, and I try to challenge myself every time. I’ve had a few partners and I must admit I’m a long term relationship kind of guy, though I’ve had my share of short and casual encounters, if you must know. I workout, eat well and try to be as honest to myself and others as I can consciously be. I recently started doing theater and for years I’ve run a blog on Psychology and Sexual Diversity. I still resonate with other people emotionally but I use it now to try and help them in my practice or to feed my artistic side.”

Alvaro’s art.

Alvaro’s blog.

Twitter: @algomprado

Facebook: Facebook.com/algomprado

George, Painter/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

George, in his own words: “I would imagine that for other gay men, the fact that they “happen to be gay” might be more of a non-issue. But for me, I came to NYC years ago to help me more fully realize my attraction for Visual Arts. What I’ve found this to look like is a search for Beauty, and an overwhelming desire to make things that I feel are Beautiful, and then to show those things to others. There’s those dual aspects to this process: First Identifying and trying to emulate the Beautiful Thing, and then showing your creation to others with a small hope for some kind of Validation. Even Cavemen who were Visual Artists would get into drawing a Bison on the Wall, and trying to really make it feel like a Bison, but then they’d want to show it to other Cavemen with the hope that they’d like their Bison Drawing too. But the thing of Beauty that I often choose is a male figure or portrait, and this means my audience is going to have to consider the gay question, consciously or not. A Homophobic person might think I’m trying to shove my Homosexuality in other people’s faces, but I’m just another Visual Artist, who’s trying to show them Beauty.

As a gay man who studied painting and visual art, I’ve struggled to figure out ways to earn a living. Each year, I tend to make more money than the previous year from my artwork, but it still doesn’t add up to a figure that doesn’t need supplementation. And the supplemental jobs cut into my art-making time. But I have to keep my focus on the positive progress, and not on the financial challenges. I’ve also struggled after sero-converting to becoming HIV-Positive in 2005. Thankfully, not as much as the Generation before this, who had little or no medical solutions. But still, the stigma that leads many to not disclose the information is real, and the ridiculous price of HIV Medication and Healthcare today is another issue that really needs attention so I try to talk about it.

I guess I always knew I was Gay, even before I had a name for it. To survive grade school & high school, you learn pretty quick that it’s something to try to hide. But in one of my first jobs, as a stock boy in an A & P Grocery Store in upstate Port Jervis, NY, a hot Italian guy from the next town over started to come in and boldly flirt with me. He’d act like he needed one more ingredient for some meal that he was making, ask where he could find it, and he’d ask what time I got off. Sure enough, he’s be there with his Z-28 Camaro ready to drive me home. This was 1986, when gay things weren’t discussed and rarely in the news, but he’d try to bring up gay topics – he played the song “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys and he told me it was a song about Homosexuality. I had to listen again to realize he was right. My mother wanted to know what a 24 year old man was doing driving me, a 17 year old boy home from work, and I somehow just came out with it: “Mom, I’m Gay.” I was done with lying to her. She had a look of disappointment that I somehow expected, and she later encouraged me to not tell anyone in my small town, but I now know that it’s just that she loved me so much and didn’t want to see me get hurt. Since I had already been accepted to an art college in New York City, we both agreed I’d be better off there. Her and the rest of my family’s love and support of me has strengthened with time and Communication. I’ve always felt very fortunate with having such a loving family.

I think it’s incredibly diverse, and that people in New York who haven’t found like-minded friends must not be looking hard enough. You can’t judge the whole “community” by looking at who is pictured in a local bar magazine like “Next”, or by who’s on a float in the Pride Parade. It used to seem that certain neighborhoods had like-minded gays (i.e. – the artists were in the East Village, the Muscle guys were in Chelsea) but now with the Internet, social networks are easier to come by. Places like the Gay Center in the West Village and Arts Organizations like the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art I find to be very inclusive and Community oriented.”

Click here to see some of George’s art.