Tagged: queer

Rey and Chris, Ipswich, Australia

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong, Rey (left) and Chris (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
photo by Kevin Truong, Remi (Right) and Chris (Left)
photo by Kevin Truong, Rey (Right) and Chris (Left)
Chris, in his own words: “For me being gay has become just another part of who I am, sometimes important, most times not so much. I have come to understand myself as just another kind of being human, part of the variety of human existence. Being gay means an appreciation that I am different from the majority of the rest of humanity, but similar to a significant minority of others, so I have come to understand that I share my essential humanity with all other humans, but my sexuality with only some. In general I count my values more highly than my sexuality and I share these with my friends, and it therefore doesn’t usually matter to me whether they are gay or otherwise, even though it is becoming increasingly true that most of my friends are also gay.

There have been times when being gay has been a great source of anxiety for me. I am grateful for the great social strides that have been taken over the past two or three decades that have allowed me to take my place in society with my head held high, to openly live with my partner and to acknowledge my relationship at work. I am also grateful my progressive friends and work colleagues who have created a welcoming and nurturing environment. Of course there are still hangovers from the bad old days, but now the photograph I have of Rey and I on my desk is no cause for comment. Except periodically, from older gay men who remember – as I do – when you just wouldn’t dare, maybe not even dare to enjoy a relationship.

So on another, perhaps more important, level, being gay now means for me the opportunity to live life honestly and openly, authentically, without fanfare, but in a way that I consider normal. The opportunity to discuss the ups and downs of relationships, the odd things that I and Rey do, life in general, all in the broader context of friendly discussion; the opportunity to be (in most ways) like everybody else, these are special to me. The social benefit (perhaps the political benefit) is normalisation. I am encouraged when I see young people carrying out their relationships in an open and positive way and I’m even more gratified when I see my peers doing the same. Being gay, welcoming gayness, is not just about embracing diversity in myself and others, for me it’s about living diversity as un-self-consciously as I can – and encouraging others to do the same.

I think the biggest challenge for me has been the challenge of authenticity, whether that has been acknowledging my sexuality to myself, family and friends, understanding and negotiating/re-finding my faith, and/or thinking through the next stages of my life. So far I think I’ve been reasonably successful (I hope so). But I count the biggest successes those times in my life when I have been part of something that has made a positive difference in someone else’s life. These are the opportunities to look out for. Right now, though, the biggest challenge ahead for us is the renovation of our house. :-)

I tried a couple of fairly abortive attempts at coming out when I was younger, first when I was 18 and the next when I was about 25 or so. Neither were particularly successful and I retreated back into my protective shell, denied myself, tried to live in other ways, but at age 40, I finally came to a stage when I decided I no longer cared, that hiding/denying really didn’t matter any more and made no sense whatsoever and that it was time to live authentically whatever that might turn out to look like. And as it happens it has worked out well. I have great friendships, I met Rey and we clicked, we met each other’s families and clicked; we all genuinely like each other and we have a wonderful family life – and for that I am very grateful. That is what I hope for for others because it is so beneficial.

I’m not so sure there is a gay community as such here in Ipswich. There are lots of gay people in the city, of varying ages and life experience – and lots of them know each other. There have been one or two attempts at creating a regular gay venue, that I know of, with little real success. Well, Brisbane, the State capital, is literally just down the road. We are a University city and I suppose if I were going to look anywhere for a gay “community” here in Ipswich it might be on campus, not so much elsewhere. Perhaps people are making their own communities and we don’t feel the need to create an overarching one. That’s certainly my own feeling on the matter. Rey and I have two very close gay friends here in Ipswich (in fact our best and closest friends) and they are part of our “community” of friends (we are always open to making new friends), but I don’t have any particular sense of a wider gay community as such in Ipswich. Perhaps in one sense that’s actually a good and healthy thing if that means that local gay people are finding community with their families, colleagues and friends, but we have rural centres close by and I’m not sure about where the supports come from for those there and more locally who are vulnerable because of their sexuality – and that is, perhaps, a challenge.

I have thought long and hard about this. I’m not one for giving advice and I tend to think if I had an opportunity to meet my younger self, we would have a long conversation about what lies ahead, the good and the not so good. But I think at the moment if there was a short message to give to my younger self it would be that “Gay is OK; it’s OK to be gay” and maybe, “Don’t leave it so long to come out.” Would I have believed myself and accepted the challenge? I’m not sure, but I’d like to think that I would have thought about it :-)”

Hoang, Illustrator, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Hoang, in his own words:“People are born in a game of life and gay people are born in harder level of the game.

To me, being gay doesn’t mean anything, being yourself is matter. Because when you are who you are, what you are you will know what to do. During my “boy-time” being gay was all about discovering my own questions and gave myself the defend when hearing that is not ok, is freak and unnatural, especial with a shy boy like me.

My (coming out) story, it happened a bit late, I always wait for the right moment and it happened when I was 25. First I came out to my close friend, I think she is ready for it, and it was relief to me with her caring: “that’s why I took you to see another gay friend of mine”. That made me more confident to talked to another friends. But it didn’t work easy to my mom, she was confuse and hasn’t believed it yet, she still think everything has its cure… she believe it is a choice and can fix it. This gonna be a challenge, still is my challenge…

But now with more confident to be who I am , what I am to care less about people’s opinions to care more about what I wanna be and how I wanna be. As a gay man I believe we should not to sensitive about what people think and say about gay. I believe that love is fair to everyone, has no different and I believe gay is a part of the life, no one can deny. That is a fact and I’m happy to be a one of it.”

Chad and Tim, Louisville, Kentucky

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Chad and Tim, photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Chad and Tim, photo by Kevin Truong

Chad, in his own words:“I grew up in LaGrange, a suburb of Louisville, KY. I had a wonderful childhood with a very close and very Christian family. My parents were always supportive and involved in all my extra curricular activities in school such as band, choir and theater. Being raised in an Assembly of God church, Christianity was a big part of my life. I even lived in the Christian dorm at the University of Kentucky which is where I would meet my future wife. Yes…I was married…to a woman. I got married when I was 20 years old because I loved her and that was “what I was supposed to do”. After a year and a half, I decided that the relationship was a farce and I was tired of fighting the internal battle that was my sexuality. I came to the conclusion that God would want me to be happy and not in a state of constant struggle. Looking back, I can realize that I was gay my whole life but denial and the fear of going to Hell is a powerful thing. The thing I remember the most from coming out to my parents is their response. “We still love you but we’re not gonna give up hope on you” At the time, I was just relieved that they didn’t disown me. I didn’t realize it was going to be a journey for them as well…one that, thankfully, ended at acceptance.

I don’t regret anything I’ve done in the past because that journey is the reason I am where I am and what I am today which is truly happy and in love with my partner, Tim. I knew from our first date that this was the man that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. Not only is he gorgeous but he’s smart, outgoing and adventurous. As far as characteristic traits, he’s the perfect “yin” to my “yang”. His spontaneity, at times, challenges me but makes me love him more in the end. I like to plan our adventures…he doesn’t. It’s not uncommon for him to unexpectedly pick me up from work with a change of clothes and we’re off!

Wherever our life takes us, it’s a comfort to know that we will be side by side through it all.’

Tim, in his own words:“I grew up in the suburbs just outside of Louisville. For most of my childhood and early teen years, I was an active member of the rural Southern Baptist church that my family still attends to this day. That church was the center of most of my family and social activities, so needless to say, it seemed like we were there whenever the doors were open. I was happy there. It felt safe being surrounded by my family & friends and though some will probably find this odd, even as I began to understand and deal with the realization that I was gay- I felt more comfortable at that small church than I did in my middle school or high school. Although I was being taught beliefs at my church that I would eventually have to part with, at least I was never called a “fag”, was never questioned about why I never had girlfriends and was never bullied about being more interested in singing than in playing sports as I was during middle school and the first years of high school. Although my religious beliefs have changed- I still look back at those years as some of the safest and happiest of my childhood.

I began to “come out” to close friends in my early twenties. It was such a fun, scary, exciting & awesome time for me! I had spent so many years making sure that I acted a certain way or said the right thing so that no one would suspect anything and more importantly, so that everyone would like me. It was during this time that I began making friends who liked me without any of my normal walls or guards in place… and that feeling was simply amazing. I also started a relationship with a man that I would eventually move to Atlanta, GA with for several years. There, I was able figure out and become comfortable with who I was, develop my own thoughts and rules about my life, and meet some amazing friends! When that relationship came to an end, I decided it was time to leave Atlanta and head back to Louisville. Little did I know what those years in Atlanta were actually preparing me for!

After arriving back in Louisville, I bought a house, fixed it up, started a new job and adopted my wonderful dog “Jadie”. I was settling in to what I thought would be a long span of being “happily single”….and then along came Chad! To say meeting him caught me off guard would be an understatement. I was so attracted to him from the second I saw him. He is the most open, candid, & confident person I have ever met- not to mention the obvious fact that he is so HOT and has eyes that will freeze you in your tracks! Before long, we were loading up the UHaul and he was leaving his apartment downtown for the quiet life in the ‘burbs! We’ve been together almost 5 years now and still my favorite part of the day is when I see his face show up on my phone and when I hear his car door shut in the driveway when he comes home from work.

Before I met him, I had labeled many pivotal moments in my life such as moving away from home, leaving jobs, and making it through the end of friendships and relationships as failures or low points. My partnership with Chad quickly made me realize that all these events, no matter how difficult and painful they were to go through, were preparing not only to meet him, but to truly be settled enough, smart enough and mature enough for the possibility of a life-long partnership with this amazing man. Over the years, we’ve been lucky enough to watch our separate families come together and form wonderful friendships and to bring our family of close but previously separate friends together and witness even more close friendships develop from that..”

Things are great and getting better- not only for me on personal level, but also for the gay community as a whole. The dramatic changes that have taken place over recent years only adds to the excitement I have about my future with Chad!”