Tagged: photos

Jon Fe, Painter, 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

Jon Fe, in his own Splanglish words: “Que significa ser gay para ti?

Que te gusten personas de tu mismo sexo, no es un “look” o una actitud. Una forma de vida que No tiene alternativa forzada.

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

No muchos, he sido afortunado. En secundaria si me molestaron mucho hasta cuando ni sabia que o era. Me maquillaron a la fuerza y me tomaron fotos. Ahora no tengo “retos” mas que encontrar una pareja que me complemente y viceversa.

Como es la comunidad gay en Panama?

Emm, pequena. No es una graan comunidad, pero es algo. Mejor que la de Central Point, OR hahaha. Tengo mas amigos gays, y menos amigas lesbianas. Diria que la comunidad gay se divide en dos principalmente. Los que van a discotecas gay, y los que aun quieren pretender ser straight hahah (closet boys)

Cual es tu historia al salir del closet?

Le conte a mi mama primero, fui MUY directo y honesto. Le hice entender que ya era un hecho y que estaba pasando. She was talking trash of an old high school friend, telling me she was a slut. She reached my boiling point so I told her I was dating a 24 year old guy (17 at the moment, a month away of my bday) and just because I wasn’t going around telling everyone I had sex it didn’t make me more or less of a slut. She didn’t say aything but she’s always been fairly accepting within her own education and cultural beliefs she grew up with. I really can’t complain, she’s met my friends and boyfriend and she’s been fairly accepting.

My dad asked me weeks later and I totally dismissed him and gave him a silly excuse I didn’t think he’d believe. Maybe a year later I told him I was applying to scholarships and grants and there a few for gay guys. He asked me why would you apply for a gay schoolarship. I told him with a obvious tone to my voice, “because I’m queer”. He said he wanted to take me for a drink and talk about it and he invited me to a appletini and he had a beer and it was nice. He was really funny about it. One of my brothers always knew and the other one saw a picture of me kissing my ex. It was hilarious hahah.”

Michael, Interactive Media Marketing Coordinator, 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

Michael, in his own words: “To me, being gay doesn’t mean anything different than being straight. There are the obvious things, of course, like who I’m staring at in the gym versus who the guy I’m staring at is staring at, but being “out” is an entirely different thing. It’s gratifying in a way that I can scarcely find words to describe. It’s like when you envision your future self, you project a great future that often times seems light years away. Then one day, you find that some part of your dreams has been realized. Having come out recently, I feel that I can accomplish my other, more outward goals and become the future self that I envisioned now that I have an internal foundation that is absolutely fundamental to my adult development—literally a launching pad.

As far as challenges go, I’ve been terribly lucky. I have immensely supportive family and friends that I can count on, and I am very fortunate to have been born after a generation of great civil rights progress, although we are perhaps in the middle of our biggest victories to date. The real challenge for me has been growing into myself and identifying what I want, or more importantly, figuring out what I don’t want. Since I moved to New York in late 2011, I have definitely been the kid in the homo candy shop. It’s been absolutely fantastic but sometimes the things you think will make you happy end up having the opposite effect. Regardless, I advocate this trial-and-error.

Being gay in New York is perfect and horrible. On one hand, there is relatively no judgment from the public, an acceptance I’ve been starving for since I was young. Also, there are so many men with similar stories to my own, and it seems like they’re everywhere; it’s easy to find a community here. But that’s also the biggest issue when it comes to relationships: there are so many options to choose from for everything—food, clothes, significant others—, investing in any one thing is difficult. Relationships are easily strained.

I still consider myself lucky though. Growing up in Kansas, I really did think that the “phase” I was going through would pass, that I would straighten out and be just like everyone else. When I realized finally that it wasn’t a phase, I never really beat myself up about it. To me, it was matter-of-fact, and I am very rational. Even though those days were only two years ago, it feels like ages. Now, things are good. I’m good. I can look forward to what’s ahead, and only because I’ve experienced what’s behind.”

James, Stylist, Panama City

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

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

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

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