Tagged: portugal

Carlos and Emmanuel, Lisbon, Portugal

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong, Carlos (left) and Emmanuel (right)
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Carlos, in his own words: “(Being gay) is as normal as waking up, it is who I am and always have been, it means Love.

The biggest challenge was trying to find myself, growing up was not easy and I didn’t want some bad experiences to define the way I related to other people, it’s a struggle still, but one of my successes is my marriage. Meeting my husband allowed me to change and finally be myself, accept myself and others.

I never did a coming out, I remember my younger brother read out loud some of my texts from my first crush in front of my mother and that was that, we never talked about being gay, for my family it was who I was, and a funny fact, after me my two younger brothers also came out as gay but never needed to say anything, we were lucky.

(The gay community in Lisbon) is very active, tolerant and laid back. Lisbon has a sparkling night life where you can have lots of fun.

(Advice to my younger self) Just go for it. You’re stronger than you can imagine and you deserve to be happy, and most important you deserve and will be loved.”

Emmanuel, in his own words: “(Being gay means) Nothing: Like being French or having glasses. Having 3 brothers and sisters and dark hair. It is a part of me.

Everything: Being gay takes a huge part in your self-acceptance process, it changes your sensibility to the world, teaches you that maybe there will be obstacles, maybe there will be hard times, maybe I am different, but everyone is and so I have the rights to ask and grab everything I want for my life, as anyone.

(A challenge was) accepting who I am. Sharing who I am with my family and friends. Understanding what I wanted for my life. Starting a new life in another country. Building a life with my husband.

(My coming out) a letter. In it I told everything to each member of my family. Who I am. What it felt like dealing with this secret during my teenage years. What they meant to me. The importance of having them by my side. But the willingness to sacrifice that in order to accept myself and live the life I want to live. The relief of their tears of joy and acceptance. The second part of my life begun.

A trip. To go and see all my closest friends. And tell them one by one. The weight on my shoulders and the pain in my stomach getting smaller and smaller each time. The chance to have these people as my friends.

(The gay community in Lisbon is) diverse, Fun, Open, Easy Going.

(Advice to my younger self) The sooner you’ll accept yourself, the happier you’ll be.

Being open to everything. Don’t make plans, let them happen, you’ll be surprised.”

Rafael, Comparative Literature Researcher, Lisbon, Portugal

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Rafael, in his own words: “I would start with the very idea of being “something”. I seldom perceive me, myself, as being part of a static and defined category that is imposed on me a priori, regardless what I have to say about that. There are social expectations preceding the self, in this case the sexual self, against which I must struggle if I want to preserve my “voice” and therefore my self-respect. In what concerns my agency as human being, these expectations, in the end, might virtually not belong to me, thus contaminating the multiple relations that the Other establishes with me.

That being said, I consider that being gay means that I have an erotic predisposition, either real or imagined, towards the male of my species, regarding its sexual and gender realms.

I would intertwine my challenges and successes with my coming out experience. My biggest challenge was the fulfilling of a sentence built on what was an utterly complicated standpoint: “I am something that is not expected from others”. My process of coming out as a person who has a non normative sexual orientation was firstly an individual struggle. Usually we tend to think that coming out is a process of revealing, which with no doubt is a political understanding of coming out; but one does not come out, actually comes in. My closet was a hidden and nameless face which I had to describe with words untaught. Thus the symbolic act of naming was at the same time my biggest challenge and success. In the end, we are always our worst enemies. Other than that, I was very fortunate to have a lot of disinterested love around me, which indeed played a great part in all this process.

A community is born out of a survival principle. And a gay community is born out of a marginalization phenomenon that originates several spaces of belonging for and/or from those who are put aside, from a cruising spot to an institutionalized NGO. In Lisbon, today, the gay community, and the sense of community, is rather refracted due to the fact that we are no longer facing a survival situation, without taking into consideration the multiple power relations and structures that still affect our citizenship, nationally, such as the adoption rights or the pathologization of transsexual/gender citizens. There are different social organizations with several aims that are vital to the LGBTQ+ visibility and that work fiercely for a voice and a better future for everyone. Lisbon also has an intense nightlife, in which the gay community is diverging from the “gay nightlife” paradigm to a more diversified notion of it. Some venues still preserve a very stereotyped idea of what a gay “place” is, starting from the very idea of “a gay place”. Although I must say that these places have an incomparable aura of safeness for those who might need a place to be. At least what was, and in a way is, Lisbon’s gay neighborhood lost the ghetto frame that usually materializes geographically a gay community.

I think, therefore I deconstruct.
P.S.: Fall in love with yourself if you want to fall in love with other self(ves).”

Manuel, Opera Singer, Lisbon, Portugal

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Manuel, in his own words: “I really do not think too much about (being gay)… it’s part of me, it’s what it is, it’s who I am.

(With regards to successes) Personally: long term relations
Professionally: I have achieved what I proposed myself to be/ do

(With regards to challenges:) To stay true to myself and to my beliefs.

I really didn’t have (a coming out story). I have never lied about my sexual orientation, didn’t need to. First because I believe my sexual life only matters to me and to whom I’m with, and second, because I feel very comfortable with it.

It’s very comfortable to be gay in Lisbon, people are gay friendly (most of them :-) there are many places to go to, mixed and gay, it’s not as strict and rigid, as in some other countries, people normally do get very comfortable and enjoy being with everybody. It’s a gay friendly city.

(Advice to my younger self) Always be yourself, try not to think of what others may think of you, of your sexual orientation, it’s part of you, but shouldn’t be what defines you. You are much more than that. Make others respect you for what you are, not only for what your sexual orientation is.”