Saturday, August 26, 2017

"The Truth About Who We Are..."

Armstrong, Paris, France
by thegaymenproject
photos by Kevin Truong

Armstrong, in his own words: 

"What does being gay/queer mean to you?

It means “be real”, It means “Armstrong”. It means feel free to make love with no barriers; to dance as you feel like; to be more open to this diverse world. Being part of a minority helps me to understand other minorities, and that is a gift.

I was about 20 years old [when I came out], and I just broke up with my 3 year relationship girlfriend. I started to chat with a gay guy and I realized who I was. I decided to speak with my two best friends. In the same week I spoke with my sister, the day after with my brother and the day after with my parents.

My father is a very macho man, so I expected a violent reaction, but he tried his best to understand the situation and it helped me a lot. On the other hand, my mum started crying and this led the rest of my family into tears too. I tried to keep strong.

The problem with my family lies in their religion, they are Jehovah’s witnesses and as you may know, their faith is very strong and more important than any other thing (or person) in the world. One year later I left Venezuela to Paris for my studies and it completely changed my world; it helped me to discover who I was. It also helped my family to understand that I was not having a phase but living who I really was. Nowadays, they don’t support me as a gay man but, at least they accept me as I am.

The gay scene in Venezuela is complicated because of the lack of rights to the LGBTQ, and that is just awful. It’s frustrating to see how the countries of the region are evolving in terms rights for the LGBTQ community while Venezuela stays hopeless in this issue.

Now that it’s been a few years that I am living in Paris, it’s completely different. Nonetheless, Paris is not as open as I expected. The gay marriage was legal just in 2013, but adoption does not make part of the deal. One man or a woman can adopt as a single person but not as a homosexual couple.

The real challenge was to face my whole religious family in the same week when I came out. Now that I feel free to know and say who I am, I can do whatever I want; I feel no limits.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Wow, that is a wonderful question (my favourite one, I could say).

“Dear younger Armstrong, it’s ok to be afraid, but be as brave as you can! Fight for your rights and other minorities’ rights. Your family loves you no matter what. There is no such a perfect time or perfect decision, just act as you feel it. It’s ok to feel upset but, dear younger Armstrong it gets better and love wins!!!”

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