A Note to All My WordPress Followers…

Hey everyone, first off, thanks to everyone who has been following and supporting the Gay Men Project. I’m putting all my resources into this project because I believe in it, I think it can do a lot of good, and so all your support means a lot. I just wanted to give you all a quick note, that the blog is no longer hosted on WordPress, I’m self hosting now (I wanted full control and access to Google Analytics.)

So if you’ve be following me through WordPress, I’m pretty sure my posts will no longer appear in your feed, so please be sure to keep visiting me directly at:

www.thegaymenproject.com

Once again, thanks for all your support!

Noam and Daniel, Architects, Boston

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

Noam and Daniel, in their own words: “Tel Aviv is quite a liberal place within a not-always-liberal country. It is a bubble, in many ways parallel to how NYC is viewed within the US.

Gays are an influential part of the society in Tel Aviv: in politics, in media and in culture. Before moving to Cambridge, we both worked full time as journalists in Ha’aretz Newspaper’s culture section, covering arts and architecture on a daily basis. We were one of the only couples there, and perhaps the only gay couple. Personally we can’t say being gay had any negative influence on how we were viewed, it never created any special challenges. We never hid our sexual orientation, quite the contrary.

Though we are pretty new in Boston / Cambridge, we can already say that it is very very different in terms of gay community when compared to Tel Aviv. First of all, Tel Aviv is smaller and everyone knows everyone. Then, of course, Israel is a Mediterranean country: it’s hot, temperamental, edgy, alive all year round and it’s extremely sexual. These things are different in Boston, which is way more introverted and quiet, more educated and calm, more homogeneous in its gay population. It seems sometimes that maybe because gay marriage and being gay has been OK here for a pretty long time, the character of the gay community here has become very institutional.

As for a coming out story. Both of us went to arts high schools and studied classical music (Daniel-piano, Noam- tuba). For our parents, our coming out was not such a big surprise in hindsight. There were phases of therapy in both cases, but today our parents are super accepting. And both parent-pairs are friends with each other too, which is great. They are our family and we think that they see we love each other, they see how we develop and flourish together, and they trust us that we’re OK and that they don’t need to be worried for us.”

Michael, Writer/Song Writer, 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

photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong

Michael, in his own words: Michael Martin is bi-coastal, soon to be global. He has performed in film, television, and stage. He’s a published writer, and his twin Michael Bright is also a published writer in Hong Kong as well as the USA. The Michaels write for Reductress, I.T Post, television, and film. Michael Martin is an accomplished songwriter as well. He’s been paid to do comedy for 20 years.

“I don’t identify as Gay, Straight, or Bi, but I’m LGBTQ for sure. Even straight people have days when they feel queer.

I’m a performer, so sometimes I get to put on dresses .People always laugh. I don’t like wearing them because my goodies get cold from the wind.

I think the season for challenging who I am is almost over, or, more to the point – the season for me paying attention to naysayers is coming to a close. The gay scene in New York is supportive, judgmental, warm hearted, bitchy, uplifting and mean.

Mean is a math term that means average. I’ve always tested above average. Just slightly, I’d say.

I went through a phase in high school. People threw rocks at me, so I made them laugh a lot. Then I practiced. I sang, played instruments, spoke languages, invented languages with my brothers, and lovers.

I don’t want to paint myself a victim. I won acting and writing awards. I was class president. Swim team captain. By the end of school I had lovely, wonderful friends.

My teachers were supportive or cruel, depending on my classes. Sometimes they were both supportive and cruel.

My favorite teacher ever was a man named Jose Quintero. He directed the first runs of many Tennessee Williams plays.

I kept a diary in high school. I still do.

I like Vonnegut and French existentialists. I want to ruminate on the Tao.

Together As One.

I’m learning to meditate so I can forgive myself for the voice in my head that says I’m not good enough.

That’s all I have to say about that.”


Click here to check out Michael’s personal blog, “Piefolk”.

Jose, Comic Book Colorist and Chair of Illustration Department, Baltimore

photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong

photo by Kevin Truong

Jose, in his own words: “Being gay means having an opportunity to look at life from a different angle, sideways if you’d like. Being part of a minority always gives you a view with a unique perspective, and makes you examine many things that others take for granted. It also makes it easier to empathize with other minorities and unpowered people.

Being a gay man of my generation also means to me that I am part of the last to care about what has been called the “Gay Canon”: The places in art and culture where our kind has survived and have reflected their joys and longings through the ages, from Sappho to Michelangelo to Oscar Wilde to Tennessee Williams… With acceptance and tolerance LGTB people are quickly being assimilated into mainstream culture and this “secret knowledge” is getting lost..

I grew up in the turmoil of a changing Spain during the transition from dictatorship to democracy. All my adult life has been in Baltimore. Having only lived in big cities, I have not had as many problems as those living in rural areas. The biggest hurdles for me have been legal: growing up in Spain homosexuality was illegal, and when I arrived in this country it also was illegal (you could not even get a student visa if you were an out gay person). So for many years I was in constant jeopardy of being evicted, fired, arrested or deported.

The gay scene in Baltimore is small but very, very friendly and unpretentious. There are a handful of bars and clubs and everyone is always welcome. We also have a very active LGBT community center with lots of events and groups…

I came out to my friends at 16. In a way, we all came out, since we decided that “everyone was bisexual”… I was out since then to everyone but my mother. I came out to her 20 years later, at 37, after wanting to do it for many years. At first she did not take it well, but now she is part of a support group of parents of LGTB people in Madrid, and, after ten years, has become a leader and example for parents that attend the group.”

A Note from San Paulo…

“Hello,

I love the project, it’s so simple yet deep. Thanks for letting this out in the world and not being just an idea.
You made it very well executed.

My name is R and I’m from São Paulo, Brazil. Me and my brother are gay, and we live together with our grandmother who is very accepting. We both have long date boyfriends (5 and 8 years) and we’re both pretty young (23 and 27).

I guess this would be a different story to feature on your blog. Let us know if you’re thinking of coming down here, we’d love to participate.

Thanks,

R”

(R, thanks for writing!! i’m trying to get down to Brazil this fall, so i’ll be in touch!!!.. xoxo kev)

Denny and James, Educator and Producer, Boston

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

Denny, in his own words: “Part of where I’m going, is knowing where I’m coming from” –Gavin DeGraw.

I’ve spent a significant chunk of my life wrestling with the second part of that song lyric and with various aspects of my identity. For me, understanding who I am has always been a complex, fluid process. Born in South Korea and adopted by white parents when I was three months old, I had many questions about race at an early age. I constantly felt torn between whether I was white or whether I was Asian. Upon starting college, another wrench was thrown in my quest to understand myself as I started to reflect more deeply on my sexual orientation.

Coming from a staunchly Evangelical Christian family I wrestled with religious issues, began thinking about what it meant to be gay in a world that often perpetuates hegemonic masculinity, and was surprised about how closely my sexual orientation was tied to both my anxieties and hopes for my future. Often I live by the cliché that being an adopted Asian and being gay are only small parts of who I am—that they don’t define me—and that I’d rather dwell on other things like my passion for social justice, education, and running. When I settle into bed at night, however, I can’t help but reflect and be faced with the fact that my race and sexual orientation play a huge role in how I look at the world, react to others, think, and act.

Within the past three years, I’ve spent a ton of time dwelling on an end point—that moment where I will fully understand who I am. Sitting here, writing this now, and gathering my thoughts, I’ve realized that I’ve lost sight of process. I might be chasing some point of equilibrium that doesn’t even exist. What I can say now, is that the questions I’ve had about being adopted and being gay, the conversations I’ve had with my friends, and the time as well as experiences I’ve been able to soak in, have done something to me. At one point in my life, I lived with a sense of fear about who I was, perhaps the plain fear of not knowing. Now it’s time to continue moving, twisting and shifting. Ultimately that is the “where I’m going” part of my life.”

James, in his own words: “It’s weird. I feel like my life can be split up pretty cleanly between two columns. On one side you have who I was and everything about my life before I moved to Boston. And on the other side, there’s who I am and everything that’s happened to me since.

Having been born and raised in a small town in rural Georgia, the only representation of “out” gay people I was given was from tv or movies. Gay men, the media told me, existed solely to accessorize the stories of straight characters – a silly distraction, a tragic allegory or, when whatever I was watching was being particularly direct in its thoughts on the matter, simply the nefarious “other.” So, when you couple that with the general unease most Southern folks have about gay men in particular, it was a pretty easy choice to stay in the closet. Though my parents weren’t particularly religious, my brother and I ended up joining the youth group at a local Southern Baptist church just before I started high school. Around that time, I started thinking about being gay pretty much every second of every day. What did that person mean by that joke? When I made eye contact with that guy in the hallway, did he think I was staring at him? Did something about the way I talk or the way I move seem gay? (Because, again, as the media taught me, there is a “gay way” to be and act and talk and, I don’t know… breathe. Stop breathing so gay, James!) It was pretty much a nonstop anxiety barrage from age 12 until I graduated college. Well, that’s not true. Then, instead of being anxious about my classmates finding out, it was coworkers and roommates. It bears noting that I never had a smidgen of sexual contact with a guy until I was 24. (Oh my god… I can’t believe I just wrote that.) So, it wasn’t like I was ever in any situation where someone could catch me actually doing anything. It was this very particular form of thought terrorism I was complicit in visiting upon myself. And it continued until I got on a plane, moved to Boston and started the second of those two columns I mentioned earlier.

Though it’s trite, the best way to put it is… since I moved to Boston, I’ve become who I really am. I made a very conscious decision to be out and open about who I am from day one. At work. Socially. And, after a few months in the city, I finished the process by coming out to my parents. The thing about my parents is that they are both extraordinarily loving and intelligent people, but in different ways. Neither my father (a jocular, pragmatic Vietnam veteran) nor my mother (a reserved, creative writer) had ever given me reason to believe they would react poorly to me being gay. Yet I never found the courage or the timing to tell them in person. I never did, actually. I came out to my parents by writing an email addressed to both of them one night. I wrote it in one sitting, read it back to myself, took a shot of whiskey and hit send. The next morning, there were two emails waiting for me. One from my father reading, “Son, though this isn’t the life I imagined for you when you were a little boy, to thine own self be true. I love you and will always be proud of you.” The second email was from my mother, addressed to my father and cc’d to me. It read, “Jim. I have never loved you more than I do right now.”

In the time since, both of my parents have slowly grown more comfortable with idea of me being gay. And that’s fine and understandable. It took me 25 years to accept it, I couldn’t expect them to do it in a day. It’s been a process for them and for me. But, once that piece was done, there was all this free space in my head and my life to fill with things other than fear and pain and doubt. Strangely, by coming out, I didn’t have to think about being gay all the time. I had time and mental space to explore and nourish other facets of who I am. And, in a lot of ways, I have Boston to thank for that. Sure, you can knock Boston for being insular and a bit standoffish. (And, real talk? The gay scene could use some work. I mean, there are more gay bars in Providence…) But, it’s my home now. And, I’m not sure where or who I would be without it.”

Zion, Problem Investigator, Boston

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

Zion, in his own words:“Being gay is a part of me but its not what defines me. There is so much more to me then my sexual orientation.

Sadly, being a gay minority is pretty much a “double minority.” While growing up with a mother in the military I have lived all around the country. All the different places my mom was stationed in I have experienced racism in different forms , which made me more of a stronger person. When I came out the closet I thought that I would be accepted in the gay community but I have also noticed it there as well. It would be nice if we lived in a nonracial Utopian society but unfortunately we don’t.

The gay community in Boston is nice filled with a variety of gay people. Never a dull moment.

(With regards to coming out) I would say I thought I was little bit different from the rest of boys back in middle school. I came out to my mom while she was serving in the military at the age of 16. Talk about being scared out my mind because my mom was a military police officer. When I told her she responded to me ” honey child I already knew you was gay, I was just waiting for you to tell me”. Talk about a Hallmark moment.

Adrian and Yalman, Speech Therapist and Journalist, 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

Adrian, in his own Spanglish words: “Well I can start by saying that I’m really proud of two things in my life: first is being gay y Segundo de ser latino. Yes, because being gay and being a latino gay man is not the same. I’m from Colombia, un hermoso país lleno de cultura, alegría, sabor y gente linda. On the other hand it is a religious, macho and homophobic country. Being gay there wasn’t easy for me. Siempre supe lo que era de hecho estaba feliz de serlo, that is why I always knew that being gay wasn’t synonymous with being sick, as many people there think. I had the fortune to grow up in a pequeña, trabajadora y unida familia. My mother taught me the respect for God, without bibles or restrictions, just respecting everybody and trying to be a great human being, taking care of the small things and nature. Sin embargo decir “Soy gay!” en un país donde el color rosado, el cabello largo es cosa de mujeres no fue facil. Coming out wasn’t easy, at least not for me, not when I was 17, not when I thought I wasn’t prepared for that (who is?), not when I hadn’t told anyone, though they could have figured it out probably. Yes, because I was never the kid who played soccer with his friends, nor the strongest, nor did I like cars. I was bullied in school just because I seemed different, indeed they were also different in my eyes: They couldn’t dance like me, they couldn’t paint or draw like me, they weren’t excellent students like me, they didn’t dream like me, y sin embargo siendo un niño no los odiaba, solo me parecian ignorantes nada más. I didn’t talk about this with anyone. A phone call from my first boyfriend that wasn’t answered by me was the beginning of this “gay life out”. I thought everything came down when all my family knew I’m gay thanks to one of my uncles answering the phone instead. In the next few days (including Christmas eve), my home seemed like a funeral home. I mean no one spoke to anyone, some of them cried, some of them looked at me with sadness and disappointment. My brother (2 years older) held my hand and told me “en unos dias todo estara bien.” And he was right. The topic of being gay wasn’t mentioned again. My mother and my brother were always supportive, also my best friend, Adriana. Cuando digo que soy afortunado de tener la familia que tengo es por que hubiese sido todo diferente si no tuviera esa madre y ese hermano que la vida me dio! I went to the capital Bogota to study. It was another story, experiences like living alone, having a wallet with money on a Saturday night and crazy friends, I mean gay friends, falling in love (well it was what I though at that moment) and discovering myself were simply amazing. Hoy en día soy un Fonoaudíologo, Especialista en Audiología, y Master en Patología de Habla y Lenguage, feliz de mi vida. Yes, being a Speech & Language Pathologist in the U.S., speaking English, dancing ballet and having a diamond ring on my finger (left hand) that means I’m going to get married soon are just some of the amazing things I now have in my life as a gay man.

In this point of my life and after all the things I have been through I can say being gay is simply great! I have an amazing fiancé; we have a beautiful present and a desired future. Extraño mi familia, I miss my family a lot. They live in Colombia and I visit them once per year. They are ok there, and I’m ok here because this is my life. I moved to New York three years ago. Im very happy here I have the life I wanted, the life I dreamed before. Last winter my fiancé and I visited them (just like a friends) they respect me a lot but I know they are not interested to know everything about my gay life. That is a beginning of acceptation, they don’t ask too much but it doesn’t mean they disapprove that; it is just the way they perceive life. Few days ago I told my brother (Who is military) that I’m engaged. Su respuesta literalmente fue “Adri, yo no soy nadie para juzgar eso y sabe que Adri pense nunca decirlo pero Dios me lo bendiga y si es su decision que sea la mejor y que sea muy feliz por que eso es lo importante oyo chino feo”. He just expressed and wished to me happiness and good wishes just like a real brother can talk to his brother that he loves. My mom is still working in that, I mean she prefers not to ask and I respect her position, every night I call her and she hasn’t change her beautiful and warm greeting to me, then that “Hola hijito hermoso” fill my body and my soul, make me feel that just don’t talk about my sexual orientation is an act of respect, acceptation from the bottom of her heart but with the carefulness that do not make me feel susceptible to the critics of the ignorant people.

I don’t have enemies, but homophobic people can think I’m their enemy by the mere fact of being gay, to them I just have thanks, thanks a lot guys because they make me give the best, in a world that is changing and that is more “open mind” and respectful today, but that still need more love not only toward LGBT community but also for the other person. Poco a poco voy cambiando la mente de las personas que creen que no se puede ser feliz y exitoso siendo gay. In this way I’m happy changing the way that some people think wrong about gay couples, we are the example that it is possible to match the words success, happiness and gay.

Then If my words didn’t answer the question… well in a short, being gay is indulge yourself with simple details such as gym membership, shopping (specially bags and shoes), beauty treatments, party, drinks, Halloween, study, work, great vacation, good food, amazing friends, and other things but especially love yourself, accept yourself as you are and be happy. That’s the key.

What getting married means for me?

That is simple; I feel that with my future hubby I have everything in life, what I have dreamed of, what I love, what I need.

What is the trick?

Mutual support, honesty, trust and understanding are important, but also are making an effort, responsibility and seriousness.

Adrian.”

Yalman, in his own words: “When I came out in the early 1990s, it only meant one thing for me (and for many other gay men and lesbian women at the time I believe): the freedom of being who we are and to love whom we please. It didn’t mean having a family, a husband, kids and all the other things my straight friends started dreaming about when they got into their 20s or 30s. But over the last few decades, my thoughts, along with our community and the society-at-large, have evolved to include these dreams as part of my identity. So getting ready to wed the love of my life and have kids with him through a surrogate feels normal now — well almost. I still sometimes catch myself being amazed at how far we’ve come along since the Stonewall riots in 1969, and how much distance I’ve traveled in my journey.”

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.”