Tagged: pictures of gay men

Julian, Sociologist, Lima, Peru

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
Julian, in his own words: “Ser gay significa para mi tener la convicción de que cada uno es libre de amar y querer a una persona de su mismo sexo. Decir que soy gay es un reto a las posibilidades de amor que la sociedad impone.

Aceptar mi sexualidad ha sido uno de los más grandes retos que he tenido. Antes era horrible como mi mente trabajaba en que cosas decir y que hacía o que no para que la gente no lo note. Era agotador y siempre me sentía intranquilo. En mi hogar me veían molesto siempre y no sabían por qué y yo tampoco sentía que podía decirlo. Luego de aceptar quien soy todo comenzó a mejorar y ahora siento que las relaciones que tengo con los demás son más honestas que antes.

La comunidad gay en Lima es aún pequeña, no hay mucha visibilidad pero creo que se están abriendo grandes oportunidades y avances que la gente está consiguiendo. Creo que de aca a unos años seremos más fuertes y con capacidad de presión para generar políticas públicas hacia la población y una sociedad sin discriminación.

Yo sabía que me gustaban los hombres desde pequeño y en secundaria comenzaron a sospechar pero la reacción de ellos no fue nada bueno así que lo negué. Fue recién en el verano del 2009 gracias al apoyo de mis amigos que les dije que era, fue todo un proceso y sigue siendo. Mi madre hace unos meses me dijo “lo único que quiero es que seas feliz”, ella tiene miedo de cómo la gente me pueda tratar en el futuro, por eso también es que decidí luchar por mis derechos, para demostrarle que su deseo y el mío son posibles.

Le diría que ser gay no es el fin del mundo, que nadie me va a castigar, es un camino duro pero aceptarse es lo mejor que te puede pasar y que hay gente que te seguirá queriendo incluso aún más por ser honesto contigo mismo.”

In English:

Being gay means to me to have the conviction that everyone is free to love and love a person of the same sex. To say that I’m gay is a challenge to the possibilities of love that society imposes.

Accepting my sexuality has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever had. Before it was horrible as my mind worked about how to say things or act for people not to notice my sexuality. It was exhausting and I always felt uneasy. At home I always looked annoyed and people did not know why and I felt that I could not say what was happening. After accepting who I am everything started to improve and now I feel that I have more honest relationships with others than before.

The gay community in Lima is still small, there is not much visibility but I think they are opening great opportunities and developments for people to receive. I think from here in a few years we will be stronger and able to pressure to generate public policies towards the population and have a society without discrimination.

I knew I liked men since childhood but my parents began to suspect when I was 16 but their reaction was not good so I refused to accept my sexual orientation. It was not until the summer of 2009 thanks to the support of my friends that I told to my parents, it was a process and remains so. My mother a few months ago said “all I want is your happiness” she is afraid of how people can treat me in the future, so I also decided to fight for my rights, to demonstrate her desires and mine are possible.

(To my younger self) I would say that being gay is not the end of the world, no one is going to punish you, it’s a hard road but accepting it is the best that can happen and there are people who still love you even more for being honest with yourself.”

Ian, Human Resources Executive, Manila, Philippines

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
Adrian, in his own words: “Being gay is being who you are. It is about authenticity in everything that you do, unafraid of what people might think or feel about you. It is about freedom to choose who to love. It is about being resilient despite oppression from the society. It is about being an outlier and proud of it. It is about challenging the status quo and standing firm on being unique. It is about celebrating and valuing differences. It is about being a community.

Climbing the corporate ladder as a gay man is difficult for me. People tend to put labels and compare gay men with people who work in salons. That did not stop me for working hard. Every day, I try to outdo myself. I train and study really hard to get an advantage. I see my situation as opportunity to make a statement. Now at age 28, I am the youngest member of the senior management team in our company.

My ex-partner and I frequent the province to visit my parents, though I have introduced him to them as my best friend. When I received the new iPhone 4, I gave my old phone to my dad. So excited, I forgot to delete photos and messages. My parents discovered that my ex-partner was more than a friend. While washing the dishes, my mom went to me to confirm the relationship. She promised that she will pray for me every Wednesday and dedicate a novena for me to so that god will change my preference. They are not okay with my lifestyle. Since then, my relationship with them was not the same but I make the most of every opportunity to make them feel that I love them.

Manila has an active gay community. There are hotels, restaurants, bars, and clubs, who deliberately market themselves for LGBT. Despite religious issues, Filipinos are starting to accept the idea of homosexuality, largely due to media, gay celebrities and other contributing factors. LGBT-themed indie films have grown in numbers, thanks to the support of few establishments who advocates equality. Filipinos are used to gay stand-ups and comedians who perform on television and in bars for weekend comedy shows, which are almost always sold-out. Sad thing, however, I haven’t heard someone with power or influence who really came out of the closet and supported LGBT causes. While on the other hand, Quezon City recently passed an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance to ensure gender equality and promote LGBT rights.

(Advice I’d give my younger self) Take it one day at a time – don’t spend too much time wandering and searching for answers that only experience and encounters with people can provide. It’s always 101% or nothing. Give love, expect nothing in return, have no regrets. Love can always be renewed.”

Ryou, Advertising, Tokyo, Japan

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

Ryou, in his own words: “Gay only means this person has a different sexual preference. It doesn’t take away anything from who they are. I’m always looking for somebody who would end up being the same group to me not by skin color or nationality or religion, sexuality, but by lifestyle, sense of value, beliefs and stance and such.I always look pass everyone’s difference. Soon I forget they are gay, bisexual or lesbian because I don’t judge anyone.

Can’t think of (any challenges),but in the next 3 years I have to challenge myself to create my own media.

I haven’t yet (officially) told my mom and dad (I’m gay). When I applied to grad school at the Department of Cultural Anthropology five years ago, I wrote essays about the gay scene in Japan and my parents found it, and asked me about my sexuality. I pretended like it was just a subject and that me myself was straight, and they said okay. They have already noticed, and at the same time don’t want to accept it maybe.

(With regards to the gay scene in Tokyo) I’ve never felt so lame personally. There’re so-so many gay clubs, bars, events. Ni-chōme further distinguishes itself as Tokyo’s hub of gay subculture, housing the world’s highest concentration of gay bars. But that doesn’t mean the city itself is gay friendly.

In the social scene, the dominant trope in mainstream television and journalism is male homosexuality as gender crossing. In other words, male homosexuality is inextricably linked to a form of gender misalignment that results in feminine males. Homosexuality is still a taboo in Japan. Many dialogues are still taking place among queers. LGBT politics in Japan isn’t that simple, but some people are trying to change it.

(this year,Tiga ishikawa<石川大我> aimed to Become japan’s first openly gay parliament member,but he couldn’t.)

(Advice I’d give my younger self) Never try to be somebody who you are really not.”

Paul, Photographer, Lima, Peru

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
Paul, in his own words: “What does being gay mean to you?

No estoy muy seguro de esto, ósea sé que soy gay porque es la palabra que define mi atracción por los chicos pero más allá de eso me identifico como un ser humano en busca de la igualdad para todos

Uno de los problemas con el que lidio continuamente es la desaprobación de la sociedad que me rodea, vivo en un país represivo y con miedo al cambio que prefiere repetir una historia mil veces antes que intentar hacer algo distinto.
Podría decir que el desafío más fuerte que tengo ahora mismo es conmigo. 
He dejado que muchxs hagan la lucha por mí, lucha por mis derechos, lucha por mi reconocimiento como persona. El año pasado sufrí un ataque de homofobia, fui golpeado solo por defenderme de una burla por usar pantalones apretados, en su momento lo deje pasar pensé que era algo que tenía que suceder de todas maneras solo por mostrarme como quiero. 
Luego me di cuenta que es el pensamiento más tonto que pude haber tenido ¿cómo pensar que ser golpeado es natural, solo por ser homosexual? Cuando vi lo absurdo que era creer esto, decidí hacer un cambio. 
Ahora cada vez que puedo trato de ayudar en algo con esta lucha, cuando alguien suelta un comentario tonto sobre la homosexualidad o hace algún chiste sobre ello, trato de hacer que entienda que no es un tema que se puede tomar a la ligera, la homosexualidad es parte importante de alguien más.

La comunidad gay es muy diversa como todo grupo, hay gente que es más activista, gente que lucha solo cuando les afecta de manera personal y gente que no se identifica con la comunidad. Imagino que todo eso está bien ya es muy personal como uno decide compartir con los demás. Lo que si aún me parece mala onda es cuando algunos homosexuales dan la espalda a otros solo por no compartir un mismo status o por no tener un parecido físico a ellos sean marrones o blancos. 
 ¿Si todos en el fondo sabemos que somos lo mismo porque no ayudarnos?

Siempre he sabido que soy homosexual, hasta cuando no sabía que existía una palabra con la que me pueda definir, sabía que soy gay. 
Desde niño las personas han asociado mi feminidad con mi orientación sexual, por lo tanto nunca tuve que salir oficialmente del closet, hasta los 16 que fue cuando termine el colegio y se lo dije a mi mama, por que sentí que era algo que necesitaba decirlo con todas sus palabras. Fue algo complicado porque ella ya me había preguntado sobre mis gustos cuando tenía 14, yo conteste de manera muy general sin una afirmación o una negación. Mi papa no toca mucho el tema por temor a decir algo que me incomode pero cada vez que yo tengo la oportunidad de compartir algo con él lo hago, porque quiero enseñarle que no tener miedo de lo que su hijo es.
Igual aun a veces se me complica cuando tengo que aclarar mi orientación sexual con ciertas personas, sobre todo con las mayores porque están cerrados en una sola idea del homosexualismo, entonces hacerles comprender algo nuevo es medio difícil pero ahí voy, haciendo lo que está en mis manos para ayudar con la causa.

El consejo que me daría a mí mismo, es que no existe una manera correcta de hacer las cosas, solo tú puedes hacer que el camino que estas tomando sea el mejor para ti. Que disfrute el momento porque no todos los años tendrá 22 para hacer las cosas que solo puedes hacer a los 22.”

In English:

“What does being gay mean to you?

I’m not sure about this, I know I’m gay bone because it is the word that defines my attraction to guys but beyond that I identify myself as a human being in search of equality for all.

One of the problems with continually feeling the disapproval of the society around me, I live in a repressive country that is afraid of change and prefers to repeat a story a thousand times rather than trying to do something different.
I would say that the strongest challenge I have right now is me. I let many thing make me fight, fight for my rights and my struggle for recognition as a person. Last year I suffered a bout of homophobia, I was beaten and mocked and made to defend myself simply for wearing tight pants, at the time I thought it was something that would have had to happen anyway. Then I realized that’s the dumbest thing I could have been thinking, how could they be beaten naturally, just for being gay? When I saw how absurd it was to believe this, I decided to make a change. Now whenever I try to help in this fight, when someone drops a silly comment about homosexuality or makes a joke about it, I try to understand that it is not an issue that can be taken lightly, homosexuality is an important part of somebody else.

The gay community (in Lima) is as diverse as any group, there are people who are more activist, people who struggle only when it affects them personally and people who do not identify with the community. I guess being gay is very personal and one can decide whether or not to it share with others. What I think is not cool is when some gay individuals criticize other just for not sharing the same status or not having a physical resemblance to them, for being brown or white. Everyone deep down knows we are the same.

I’ve always knew I was gay, even before I knew there was a word that could define me I knew that I am gay. Since childhood people have associated my femininity with my sexual orientation, so I never had to officially coming out until around 16 when I finished school and I told my mom that I felt it was something I needed to say. It was tricky because she had asked me about my interests when I was 14, I answered very generally without an affirmation or denial. My dad does not play much with the issue for fear of saying something that bothers me but whenever I have the opportunity I share something with him about what I do, because I want to teach him not to be afraid of what his child is. Sometimes it troubles me when I have to clear my sexual orientation with certain people, especially the elderly because they are stuck on one idea of homosexuality, I hope to make them understand something new is kind of hard but there I go, doing what is in my hands to help with the cause.

The advice I would give myself is that there is no right way to do things, only you can make the path you’re taking, and decide what is best for you. Enjoy the moment because not everyone has 22 years to do things you can only do 22.”

Alonso, Economist, Lima, Peru

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
Alonso, in his own words: “Ser gay para mi significa ser consecuente conmigo mismo, es decir, pensar, sentir y actuar de la misma forma. Sin duda es lo mas difícil, pero si lo logras te liberas de cargas muy pesadas. Ser gay para mi también significa ser libre e implica una realización personal en todos los aspectos de mi vida.

Mis mayores logros en la vida tienen que ver por un lado con mi vida personal y por el otro con mi vida profesional: Por el lado personal, el hecho de tener una familia unida desde niño junto a mis padres y mis hermanos y el hecho de que me acepten como soy tiene mucho valor para mi. Por el lado profesional, el hecho de haber obtenido el titulo profesional de economista, a pesar de tener una discapacidad física, no muy notoria por cierto, haber concluido la maestría en Bélgica.

Vivi en Bélgica un poco mas de dos años en la universidad de Lovaina lo que permitió conocer a personas de muchos países y una sociedad completamente distinta a la peruana, especialmente en materia de los derechos LGTB. Una sociedad donde todos tienen los mismos derechos. Esta experiencia me ayudó mucho a aceptarme cuando regresé al Perú.

La comunidad Gay en Lima es grande, pero la gran mayoría se encuentra dentro del closet (a veces la mitad a fuera y la mitad adentro), especialmente por miedo al rechazo a la familia o creencias religiosas. (la iglesia tiene mucha influencia en la educación y las decisiones políticas en el Perú). La comunidad esta conformada por mucho grupo y organizaciones con diversos fine y objetivos. No es una comunidad unida, existe mucha discriminación al interior de la mima, lo que no permite dar un mensaje común que represente a todos y todas cuando se hace incidencia política por la lucha de nuestros derechos. Sin embargo, debo señalar que que a pesar de las diferentes opiniones y formas de hacer activismo, la comunidad LGBT la comunidad se muestra unida cuando hay que defender nuestros derechos. Eso es lo mas importante después de todo.

Mi historia para “salir del closet” no tiene nada de espectacular porque mi familia nunca me atacó por ser como soy. Fui yo quien tenia un miedo exagerado de hablar. Decidí hablar con mi madre luego de terminar una relación hace mas de cuatro años. Mis padres sabían que tenía una relación “especial” con un chico y fue cuando mi madre me vio casi llorando que decidí hablar. Fue muy simple, mi madre solo me dijo: Siempre lo supe, ya conocerás alguien especial”. Desde ese día mi madre apoya la lucha por la igualdad de derechos y está muy al tanto de mi trabajo como activista.

El consejo que le daría a los mas jóvenes es que no tengan miedo de lo que sientan. Toda persona pasa por un proceso de aceptación, el cual mucha veces es duro, especialmente cuando hay rechazo por parte de nuestro entorno inmediato, es decir, la familia, la escuela, etc. Creo que es muy importante hablar con alguien, ya sea con un amigo o alguien de confianza en la familia. Ahora existen mucho grupos y organizaciones que brindan apoyo donde uno puede conocer amigos. Lo importante es una persona no se quede callado o no se aisle.”

In English:

“Being gay to me means to be consistent with myself, that is, to think, feel and act the same way. It’s definitely the hardest, but if you succeed you free yourself of heavy loads. Being gay to me also means being free and involves a personal achievement in all aspects of my life.

My greatest achievements in life has to do on one side with my personal life and on the other with my professional life: On the personal side, having a close family as a child with my parents and my brothers and the fact that they accept me as I am is very valuable for me. On the professional side, the fact of having obtained a professional degree in economics, despite having a physical disability, not very visible indeed, and having completed a masters in Belgium.

Living in Belgium a little over two years at the University of Leuven which allowed me to meet people from many countries and experience a completely different society than Peru, especially in the area of ​​LGBT rights. A society where everyone has equal rights. This experience helped me to accept myself when I returned to Peru.

The Gay community in Lima is great, but the vast majority are in the closet (sometimes half outside and half inside), many especially fear rejection by family or religious beliefs. (the church is very influential in education and policy making in Peru). The community is made up of very diverse groups and organizations with fine objectives. It is not a united community, there is a lot of discrimination within the spoils, which does not allow us to represent a common message to everyone when advocacy is the struggle of our rights. However, I must point out that despite the different opinions and ways of doing activism, the LGBT community stands together when we have to defend our rights. That’s the most important thing after all.

My story for “coming out” has nothing spectacular because my family never attacked me for being me. It was I who had an exaggerated fear of speaking. I decided to talk to my mother after ending a relationship over four years ago. My parents knew I had a “special” relationship with a guy and when my mother saw me almost crying I decided to talk. It was very simple, my mom just told me, I always knew, you know someone special From that day my mother supported the struggle for equal rights and is well aware of my work as an activist..

The advice I would give my younger self is not to be afraid of what you feel. Everyone goes through a process of acceptance, which many times is hard, especially when rejection from our immediate environment is a possibility, i.e., family, school, etc. I think it’s very important to talk with someone, either a friend or someone you trust in the family. Now there are a lot of groups and support organizations where you can make friends. The important thing is a person does not remain silent or isolated.”

Diego and Ivan, Designer and Fashion Designer, Lima, Peru

Ivan and Diego, photo by Kevin Truong
Ivan and Diego, 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
Ivan and Diego, photo by Kevin Truong
Ivan and Diego, photo by Kevin Truong

Ivan, in his own words: “Ser gay para mi es y ha sido un constante desafío. Vivir en un país donde no es “normal” ser gay en ciertas partes, te hace mucho más fuerte, hace que te valores más y que estés preparado para los desafíos que vengan. Por otro lado, ser gay también para mi ha sido una alegría, alegría de saber que conozco personas que de verdad me aman, como mi pareja, mi familia y mis amigos, lo cuales me quieren por lo que verdaderamente soy. En verdad si me preguntan cómo me siento siendo gay, no podría responder con una palabra u oración, es extraño, tengo muchos adjetivos para eso; pero al final de cuentas son una combinación de esas dos: Alegre y desafiante.

Siendo gay he tenido muchos más desafíos que éxitos, claro si solo nos referimos a ser gay. Sin embargo, uno de los mejores éxitos que he tenido, siendo como soy, es armar eso a lo que yo llamo “familia”, esta familia no engloba solamente a mi familia genérica, sino que también entran mis amigos y, principalmente, mi pareja. Armar ese circulo que me rodea ha sido una de las cosas más difíciles que me he propuesto hacer y ahora, después de casi 5 años, me siento feliz de decir que he encontrado un equilibrio y, finalmente, llegar a tener una familia que me quiere como soy, unos amigos que me apoyan incondicionalmente y una pareja con la que poco a poco estoy armando una vida.

Si me preguntas como es la comunidad gay en el Perú, yo te diría que es extrañamente plural, puedes encontrar de todo; pero algo que nos une es que queremos igualdad para todos. Eso, aunque tengamos diferencias, problemas de por medio o simplemente no haya un lazo de amistad, nos une, y eso nos lleva a otra característica de la comunidad gay en el Perú, que al final de cuentas somos una familia, y nosotros luchamos para preservarla y defenderla ante todo.

(With regards to coming out) Bueno, comencé a decirle a mis amigos del colegio, fue extraño, algunos no me creían. Tiempo después, “salí del closet” de modo general cuando me enamoré de mi actual pareja, y le dije a mi madre… Esto ocasionó fuertes peleas, peleas que parecían que nunca iban a terminar y que causaron el alejamiento de mi familia; sin embargo, después de tiempo estas fueron cambiando y con ellas mi relación con mi madre y mi familia nuclear. Posteriormente, las cosas fueron viniendo como tuvieron que venir y la verdad es que del 100% de personas que conocía el 90% siguió siendo parte de mi hasta la actualidad. Salir del “closet” es algo bien complicado; pero que a lo largo del tiempo te causa alegrías y tranquilidad.

(if I could give my younger self advice) Iván no importa lo fuerte, triste o complicado que se pongan las cosas, sigue luchando y conseguirás todo lo que te propongas.”

In English:

‘Being gay to me means being constantly challenged. Living in a country where it is not “normal” to be gay in certain parts, it makes you much stronger, makes you value things more and makes you ready for the challenges to come. On the other hand, being too gay for me has been a joy, joy of knowing that I know people who really love me, as my partner, my family and my friends, who love me for what I truly am. Indeed if you ask me how I feel about being gay, I could not answer with a word or sentence, it’s strange, I have many adjectives for that; but in the end it’s a combination of the two: Alegre and challenging.

Being gay I have had many more challenges than successes, of course if we refer only to being gay. However, one of the best success I’ve had, being as I am, is that to build what I call “family”, this family includes not only my generic family, but also my friends and my partner . And that circle around me has been one of the hardest things I’ve have to build and now, after almost 5 years, I am happy to say I’ve found a balance and finally get to have a family that loves me as I am, a few friends who support me unconditionally, and a couple that I’m slowly putting together a life with.

If you ask me about the gay community in Peru, I’d say it’s strangely plural, you can find everything; but something that unites us is that we want equality for all. That, although we have differences, a bond of friendship unites us, and that brings us to another feature of the gay community in Peru, which in the end is that we are a family and we strive to preserve and defend first.

(With regards to coming out) well, I started to tell my friends at school, it was strange, some did not believe me. Later, “I came out” in general when I fell in love with my boyfriend, and I told my mother … This brought heavy fights, fights that seemed would never end and that caused the estrangement from my family; however, after time these were changing and with them my relationship with my mother and my nuclear family. Afterwards, things were going as they had come to be, and the truth is that of the 100% of people I knew 90% remained part of me until today. Escaping the “closet” is something very complicated; but that over time will cause joy and peace.

(if I could give my younger self advice) Ivan it does not matter how strong, sad or complicated things get, keep fighting and get everything you propose.”

Diego, in his own words: “(What does being gay mean to you?) No estoy muy seguro, a decir verdad nunca me había puesto a pensar en eso. Creo, que más que un significado es un sentimiento, porque saber que soy gay y quererme, saber que mi familia y amigos saben que lo soy y que no tengan ningún prejuicio (por lo menos los que yo amo) se siente bien, se siente correcto, es una parte de mi libertad, de poder decidir a quien amo sin que nadie tenga el derecho de reclamarme nada.

(With regards to challenges) Amor. Aprender a quererme como soy, a no dejar que nadie me haga sentir mal sólo porque no me gusta lo mismo que a ellos. El encontrar a alguien que quiero mucho, y que apesar de los problemas que aparecieron, saber como superarlos.

Aprender de que todos somos diferentes por lo tanto pensamos diferente, que tu familia al principio puede que no lo entienda y reaccionen mal, pero que todo toma tiempo, porque al fin y al cabo ellos sólo están preocupados porque estés bien y que el mundo en donde vives te trate bien.

(The gay community in Lima) Tiene un poco de todo, pero si algo tiene en común es de que todos quieren que Lima sea un lugar donde puedas vivir tranquilo y es por eso que siempre están apoyando las marchas y las inicitivas para que paren los abusos contra los gays.

Me di cuenta de que era gay en secundaria, cuando mi mejor amigo en ese entonces me dijo que estaba enamorado de mi, y pensé “Por qué no intentarlo?” Y ahí fue cuando sentí que por fin todo era como debía de ser y sentirse.

A las primeras personas que les dije fue a mis amigos, luego a mi tía. Pero toda mi familia se enteró el día en que llevé a mi novio a la casa, estábamos en mi cuarto y estábamos a punto de besarnos cuando mi mamá entró, nos vio y enloqueció. En realidad, a mi mamá le tomó una buena cantidad de tiempo aceptar la noticia, sobretodo si se enteró de esa manera, pero ahora todo está tranquilo entre los dos porque sabe que soy feliz con mi decisión.

Me diría que debo ser fuerte y que todo mejora con el tiempo.”

In English:

“(What does being gay mean to yuo?) I’m not sure, actually I’ve never thought about it. I think that more than one meaning is that it is a feeling, because knowing I’m gay and loved, knowing that my family and friends know that I am and do not have any bias (at least the ones I love) feels good, feels correct, it is a part of my freedom, to decide who I love, no one has the right to claim me anything.

(With regards to challenges) Love. Learning to love myself as I am, to not let anyone make me feel bad just because I do not like the same thing as them. Finding someone I love very much, and that despite the problems encountered, to know how to overcome them.

Learning that we are all different so we think differently, your family may initially not understanding and react badly, but everything takes time, because after all they are only concerned that you’re ok and that the world treats you well.

(The gay community in Lima) It has a bit of everything, but if it has something in common it is that everyone wants Lima to be a place where you can live in peace and that is why they are always supporting inicitivas marches to stop abuses against gays.

(With regards to coming out) I realized I was gay in high school, when my best friend at the time told me that he loved me, and I thought “Why not try?” And that’s when I finally felt that all was as it should be and feel.

At first the people I told were my friends, then my aunt. But all my family found out the day I took my boyfriend to the house, we were in my room and were about to kiss when my mom came in, saw us and went mad. Actually, my mom took a good amount of time to accept the news, especially considering she found out that way, but now all is quiet between us because she knows that I am happy with my decision.

(Advice I would give my younger self) I would say stay strong and that everything gets better with time.”

Alejandro, Professor, Lima, Peru

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
Alejandro, in his own words: “Somos personas como cualquier otra, ni más ni menos, nos nombramos políticamente como homsexuales, como gays porque reivindicamos nuestra orientación homosexual, nuestra capacidad de amar, de desear a personas de nuestro mismo “sexo.”

El principal desafío: luchar contra el prejucio propio, de mi entorno y de la sociedad, desafío en el que sigo, porque nuestra sociedad sigue siendo muy TLGBfóbica. Las normas son necesarias pero es indispensable luchar contra el prejuicio cotidiano, contra el prejuciio que se da al interior de las familias y de las escuelas, en el trabajo y en la calle. Ese es el desafío más grande. Las normas sancionarán los actos de discriminación, pero es indispensable generar la condena social contra el prejuicio y las fobias.

Es complicado hablar de “comunidad” gay, mejor si hablamos de ambiente gay, éste es muy diverso en Lima. Oculto y soterrado en muchos espacios, con mucho closet y muy explícito en otros- Mucha violencia entremezclada con la etnia, la clase social y la identidad de género. Las nuevas generaciones son mucho menos prejuiciosas en cuanto a la orientaciòn sexual pero tambien hay mucho conservadurismo y las religiones contribuyen con ello.

En mis años de adolescencia y hasta los veintitantos viví en el closet, cuando conocií a Carlos mi parej fue mi primera salida personal del closet, asumirme y reinvindicando mi diferencia en mi encuentro con el activismo, luego salí del closet con mi familia cuando les comenté que al día siguiente (hace por lo menos 12 años atrás) iba a salir en televisión hablando sobre el matrimonio entre presonas dle mismo sexo y confirmarles lo que ya sabían o intuían que Carlos era mi pareja. Posteriormente las marchas, en el trabajo, con lxs amigxs, etc.

Consejo parafraseando a la Agrado de “Todo sobre mi madre” de Almodòvar: Porque serás más auténticx cuanto más te parezcas a lo que has soñado de tí mismx.

besos y felicitaciones por el proyecto que està fabuldivinregio (fabuloso, divino y regio).”

In English:

“We are people like any other, no more no less, politically called homosexual, because we claim gay as our sexual orientation, our capacity to love, our wish to be with people of the same “sex.”

The main challenge: combating prejudice, my environment and society, challenges that I follow, because our society is still very homophobic. Regulation and policy is necessary but it is essential to combat the everyday prejudices that occur within families and schools, at work and on the street. That’s the biggest challenge. The rules penalize acts of discrimination, but it is essential to generate social condemnation against prejudice and phobias.

It is difficult to talk about the gay “community”, it is very diverse in Lima. Hidden and buried in many areas, with many in the closet others experience much violence interspersed with ethnicity, social class and gender identity. The new generations are much less judgmental about the sexual exposure but there is much conservatism as a result of religions.

In my teens and even twenties I lived in the closet when I met Carlos which was when I first came out of the closet, I assumed and reinvented my difference in my meeting with activism, then I came out with my family when I mentioned the next day (at least 12 years ago) I was going to be on television talking about marriage between same sex persons and that confirmed what they already knew or sensed, that Carlos was my partner. Subsequently marches, at work, with Anarchist amigxs, etc.

If I could give my younger self advice, I’d paraphrase “All About My Mother” by Almodovar: Because you will be more authentic the more you look like what you’ve dreamed of mismx.”

Joseph and Jason, Graphic Designer and Chef, Lima, Peru

Joseph and Jason, photo by Kevin Truong
Joseph and Jason, 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
Jason and Joseph, 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 and Joseph, photo by Kevin Truong

Jason and Joseph, in their own words: “(Being gay means)That I like men, I guess.

(With regards to challenges) Well sometimes people can be really stupid. But it’s not their fault, there just has to be education and mutual respect. We’re not asking for permission.

(The gay community in Lima is) small, divided, and to some extent, comforting.

(With regards to coming out) Joseph: My family always knew.
Jason: At first it was a shock, but then one day my mom said “if he’s ugly I won’t like him.”

(Advice we’d give our younger selves) Be true to yourself, you’re not alone on the world.”

Morgan, Painter, Portland, Oregon

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
Morgan, in his own words: “I’m not quite sure what it means to be gay. Its such an abstract concept, one that is constantly being manipulated by each individual that uses it. I do know what it means to feel an indescribable joy after a great first date, to be hurt by someone, to be deeply affected by someone. I do know what it means to be in love.

(With regards to challenges) People are mean. Kids are meaner. The kids that I went to school with never let a day go by without getting their chance to say things like “You know you’re a fag, right?”, or laugh at me as I walked down the hall. This was my normal. It changed me in such a way that I physically and mentally retreated. I lived in such fear of being a target that all my energy went into keeping my effeminate qualities in check at all times. After years of this sort of upkeep, the mental exhaustion of always hiding forced me to realize that I was torturing myself as much as my former classmates. I learned to let go of all those fears and anxieties. I learned to look at myself and say “It’s okay. You’re okay.”

I’m not extremely involved in the gay community in Portland, but the impression that I have is that it is positive and supportive, yet small. Portland seems like a city where anyone can feel comfortable being whoever they want to be.

My coming out story is relatively simple. In high school, I tried dating girls. By college, I had realized that dating girls was not fulfilling. So I tried dating guys. Essentially, that was the most fulfilling decision I have ever made. Despite having previously dated women, I never really came out to my friends and family. I’ve always been open about my personal life with loved ones and when I started dating guys, it was no different. It was a smooth transition and no one seemed to question my decision. I say that with a definite sense of gratitude.

I would advise my younger self to always walk with a head held high and to learn the phrase “Fuck off!” by the 5th grade. A little confidence and an unapologetic attitude go a long way.”

Dave, Lawyer, Millerton, New York

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
Dave, in his own words: “If I could speak to my younger self I’d advise myself to come out earlier, because there has been no down side to it. (I only came out six years ago.)”