Tagged: sydney

Phillip, Student Services Administrator, Sydney, Australia

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
Phillip, in his own words: “Being gay to me is about being happy and proud about who I am and living life accordingly. It also means not being straight which I love. I think that for some gay people it is important for them to get married, have children etc but I am not one of those men. I have no desire to get married or have children and relish that difference from straight people. I think this whole idea of conforming to a “straight life” is really unappealing. Having a gay identity means being slightly different which I think should be celebrated.

I have had a number of goals in life, to find a job I enjoy, to travel and live overseas, to buy my own apartment which I have achieved. I guess the one success I feel was the most important was moving to London when I was in my mid 20’s. It enabled me the freedom to become more comfortable with my sexuality but more importantly it gave me the confidence to become the happy gay man that I am today. The experience of living in London really shaped me and I think sometimes people need to leave from where they live to grow, develop and work out who they want to be. The biggest challenge I have had to face in my life was when my father passed away when I was 16. I didn’t know it at the time but it was a defining moment in my life. It took me a number of years to deal with the grief and really recover from this event. I guess the challenge I am currently facing is trying to meet someone whom I can share my life with. This is an ongoing challenge but I am hopeful that I will meet the right guy soon – not that I want to get married or anything!

For me coming out was a very gradual process, I came out to myself when I was in my early teens and then went back in the closet only to come out again in my mid 20’s to my friends. I think the reason it took me a while to become comfortable with my sexuality may have had to do with my traditional Italian background. In reality I was fooling myself in thinking I could be straight. I always remember in high school being picked on for being gay. I think the fact that I was made to feel “different” from an early age has had a huge impact on the way I feel my gay identity. Telling the family took a a little bit longer as I was living in London – it meant I had to do it on one of my trips home to Australia. I was in my early 30’s and they were all very supportive. I still have not come out to my mum and that is something I contemplate on a regular basis. She is from a different generation and I struggle with what might happen if I do tell her.

The gay community in Sydney is pretty much like any gay community in a big city. There are the various “gay tribes” like the bears, the Muscle Mary’s, the twinks etc and I feel very comfortable in not belonging to any of these. I think having a clear idea about my own indentity is much more important than belonging to some clichéd gay tribe. I do love going out to gay bars and clubs as I think it is so-o important to the gay community that we do have places to go out. So many places have closed down or changed to “mixed” venues in Sydney recently and I think it’s a shame really.

The advice I would give my younger self is to be honest with yourself if you really want a happy life.”

Francisco, Journalist, Sydney, Australia

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
Francisco, in his own words: “I think (being gay) has the same meaning like being straight, Christian, Muslim, Colombian, Australian, rich, journalist or Latino. I mean it’s just a part which describes something small in a human being.

Being gay is a vital part of my life, I was born that way and that means my spirit is attracted to people with similar characteristics like me but it is not the only thing that I have to offer to humanity, because that part just describes a part of my feelings, my intimacy and part of my expressions and culture.

(A challenges is) finding a way to teach to society in my country that being gay is nothing wrong, negative or evil, like some religions try to show. We’re just humans and our sexual orientation is just something which belongs to our essence and diversity as humans.

One of my greatest challenges in my life was when I decided to create the first two LGBT radio stations in Colombia. It was huge, with over two hundred thousand listeners per month in my country and Latin America. It was a chance to teach people and our LGBT community the responsibility to be ourselves, it doesn’t matter what society says about us. We tried to start a revolution in growing a young generation in which only five years ago was trying to find their own expression. Thousands of people around Colombia transformed, Radio Diversia and El Eden Radio into two communicative models to express their feelings, their music, their news, their artists and their own stories about how it is living as am LGBT guy in Colombia and how to be happy and change their environment into a good place to live instead of one with discrimination and violence.

After that another great success in my life was when I started as a Director and Television Anchor in my own Television Magazine about International Showbiz through international news TV Network (NTN24) for Latin America and the Latin Community in United States. It was like a professional dream, my biggest challenge and a huge responsibility as a Journalist.

This is not exactly the way to coming out, but I was in the middle of a big argument with my mom, who found some Gay guides in my room and she started to yell at me about that, I was so angry and I just said to her “Yes, I’m Gay!” after that, it took over a year for my mom to start to understand why I’m Gay and why I was born Gay. Currently our relationship is very honest about my Gay life, my friends and my boyfriend. She understands I’m more than my sexual orientation, I’m her son.

(The gay community in Sydney is the) same thing like everywhere: having some fun, sometimes a boyfriend, depending on the moment, a long term relationship, a husband or just a summer love. I found my country (Colombia) a better place to get a stable relationship because my culture and traditions are more aligned with the fact that Latinos are more passionate, closer to each other and more communicative. In Sydney people are busy all the time, sometimes they don’t have time for close relationships or it just takes a long time to get that.

On the other hand, Sydney is a better place to express one’s feelings because it is a capital of the world. It is a place with people from everywhere, a city growing up with minorities, even gays and lesbians have here in Sydney one of the most beautiful and biggest celebrations in the world, the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras which is awesome because in Colombia we don’t have something similar, just the gay pride in June, but it is smaller, not very organized and is not visible like the Mardi Gras is in Australia and around the world.

(Advice to my younger self) Don’t be afraid about what society says about you, sometimes society represents the dumbest things of humans, just be yourself, take some risks to be happy and always think about conquering the world, because you are more than just another gay; you’re brilliant, smart, a nice guy, you can do whathever you want, just try to find the way to get it and enjoy this fantastic journey which is life because you only live once.”

Alex Greenwich, Member of Parliament, Sydney, Australia

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
Alex, in his own words: “In Sydney, we really celebrate and accept the LGBTI community, it plays such an important role in the fabric of our Sydney. Across Australia, the LGBTI community also plays a really important role. I think it’s really important that people in city areas remember that in rural areas of Australia it’s a lot tougher being gay, and it’s really important that we continue to support our brothers and sisters in rural centers.

We know there’s really high risks of mental health and high risks of youth suicide, particularly for LGBTI people in rural Australia, so it’s important that we continue to support counseling groups and support groups for those areas. Across Australia I think we have a number of challenges still facing us. Obviously, Australia has not embraced marriage equality yet, and that’s something I continue to push in our Parliament. Also, there’s a number of anti-discrimination laws that need improvement. In New South Wales, you can be expelled for being gay, or you can be fired as being a teacher if you’re gay. I’m hoping to change those things. Generally I think Australians love the LGBTI community, but there’s still a lot of work to do, both in the community and in the Parliaments.

I got into politics out of the marriage equality campaign. I led the marriage equality campaign here in Australia for about five years. Then an opportunity came up where I could run for state Parliament, with the endorsement of my predecessor, the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, and do so as an Independent. So I’m really proud to represent an electorate which has one of the highest LGBTI populations, the most same sex couples, and is exciting, diverse, and very accepting of all types of people.

I think it’s really important to be out in public office. I’m able to speak from first hand experience, in the Parliament about how discrimination affects me, and affects my community. We’re also able to be role models for people and hope that people can always be true to themselves in whatever field they’re in. And if someone in public office and in the public eye can be out and proud, it helps people that could be working in a bank or in a library or in a butcher—or in any other profession, to know that it is also OK for them to be out and proud in their workplace.

For me one of my proudest recent accomplishments is getting overseas same-sex marriages recognized in New South Wales law (that’s the state that I sit in the Parliament) and continuing to be a voice of our community in the Parliament.

I think for those people across the world in countries where they’re not as lucky as we are here in Australia, where they do face regular stigma and regular discrimination, the message I would say is definitely it get’s better. And I hope places like Australia, the US, Canada, Argentina and other countries can give hope that things will change.”