Pierce, 15
Hartford, CT
 
Tell me about an average day in your life…
“I get up and get ready for school: shower, make-up, hair. Then I do my home-schooling work then I go to academy until 4:15 then I come home, study my songs, monologues and scenes. Then I have dinner, talk to my friends online (email & Facebook). Then I go to bed.”
 
What music do you listen to?
“Pop, Happy Hard-core… anything with a really colorful beat to it.”
 
When did you first realize you were gay?
“Eleven. At first it scared me but after a while I got used to it and realized you can’t really stop it.
 
Who knows and how did they find out?
“My mom, my dad, my sisters… pretty much everyone. My mom and my sister knew first and I came out to my dad a few months later and then my grandparents. My friends kind of knew so I didn’t really have to come out to them.
 
Who’s the most important person in your life?
“That’s a tough choice but I’d have to say my mom. She’s always been there for me, always. It doesn’t matter who I am or anything she’s always supporting me.”


Patrick (Pat), 22
Glastonbury, CT
 
Tell me about an average day in your life.
"After class it's basketball, basketball, basketball, every night."
 
When did you realize you were queer?
I realized I was gay from a young age, maybe when I was in the 9th grade. I realized I was "queer" this year, actually. I view those two things as very different. I like "queer" a lot more. I feel like it's a more confrontational identity that's necessary when you are in such a marginalized position. It's got a tough attitude about it that I like. "Gay" is really "nice" and "friendly" and, you know, you’re friends with all the really nice girls and you look pretty and wear your v-neck sweaters and you want to maintain your privilege. You don't want to step on anyone’s toes and you don't want to be in your face. Queer is in your face and tough and calling people out and not being afraid to speak your mind and that's more me, more of what I’m about. I like ‘queer’. I am queer."


Liz
Middlebury, VT
 
Tell me about an average day in your life.
“Wake up, got to school, get harassed by lesbians on campus, hang-out with my girl-friend, ride my horse, yell “Queer Nation!” at straight people and sorority bitties. I swing Dance. I love Twenties music. I love hip-hop and everything inbetween.”
 
Do you feel different from your straight friends?
“Yes. There is a fundamental thing that they don’t understand about me. I definitely have a big disconnect with some of my straight friends. Also, there is a part of it where they really can’t understand and even for some hetero-normative looking queers there is a huge disconnect between the different things we face. I’ve had experiences where I’ve been walking down the street and been called “dyke” or had “fuck you homo!” yelled at me where as hetero-normative people haven’t experienced that just because they don’t look the part.”  


Queen B. (Jonathan), 20
San Angelo, TX
 
Do you identify as gay or queer?
"I identify as a gay man (most of the time). I have trouble at times with the gender aspect of my life just because I view it as something very fluid and something easy to manipulate. Ever since I was younger, I remember always being attracted to male classmates or friends. In school I learned the word ‘fag" and I realized ‘that's me’. But then you also learn that you are not supposed to be that or identify with that because you'll get beat up or ostracized."
 
Do you feel different from your straight friends?
"Yes, I do. I do feel different from them because I have this perspective that they will never have. As hard as they try to sympathize and understand (which I am more than grateful for) they will never understand what it is like to be in my position, ever. Because society doesn't view them that way and they don't view themselves that way. They don't claim that identity and that identity isn't ascribed to them."


Devin, 19
Park Ridge, IL
 
When did you realize you were gay?
"My sophmore year in high school was the first time I was really attracted to a girl and the first time I acted on it. I don't know if I really considered myself gay at the time. I was just confused I guess."
 
What issues matter to you most?
"Definitely gender identity and assignment issues. Basically anything involving the government regulating gender. It blows my mind that they're even issues... intersex issues, trans issues.”


Keenan
Seattle,WA
 
Try to image your life ten years from now…what do you envision?
“I have no idea where it could go. I always on a whim. I don’t make too many plans.”


Sebastian
Denver,CO
 
Who Knows?
“Everyone…except my dad’s side of the family and my dad because my mom doesn’t want my dad to knowing yet.”
 
Have you ever been in love?
“Yes. It was amazing actually, until he really screwed me over. Still bitter about it!”
 
Try to image your life ten year from now..what do you envision?
“I think, probably, there is a brighter future for us. I think we are taking one small step at a time.” 


Ethan, 17
Port Orchard, WA
 
Who’s the most important person in your life?
“That’s a tie between two people: my mother and Leonard Cohen.”


Jay R
San Francisco,CA
 
When did you realize you where Queer?
“When I was twelve and I fell for someone in my class.”
 
Who Knows?
“My friends, and my mom.”
 
How’d they find out?
“They saw a picture of my girlfriend in my wallet.”


DeMarques, 18
Aurora, CO
 
Tell me about an average day in your life.
“If I’m not working or sleeping I’m working-out at the gym or watching “Law & Order SVU”.
 
When did you realize you were gay?
“I guess I always kind of knew when I was younger but I really didn’t know until my freshman year in high school and I was dating one of my best friends and it just didn’t feel right and then I broke up with her and that was that.”
 
Who Knows?
“Everyone.”
 
Have you ever been in love?
“I have to say no.”
 
Do you feel different from your straight friends? How?
“Yeah. I look at life differently because I have a lot more obstacles than they do, so some things I would appreciate more… things they would take for granted.”
 
Who’s the most Important person in your life?
“I don’t have one.”
 
Try to imagine your life ten years from now. What do you envision?
“I know where I want to be ten years from now! Something having to do with politics and youth.”
 
What do you think the future holds for gay people in America?
“It is sad to say but I don’t think we are going to get anywhere as far as rights and the respect we deserve as people. I don’t think it’s going to get anywhere if all of us don’t come together and unite for something that we can all agree on. So, it’s not going to go anywhere.”


Anton, 19
NYC via Trinidad
 
What music do you listen to?
“My favorite kind of music is Caribbean music… reggae and dance hall.”
 
When did you realize you were gay? Who knows?
“I was seven. My mother knows, my father knows, my aunts, my uncles, my grandmother knows, my step-mom knows, her kids know, my cousins knows... everybody knows.”
 
Who is the most important person in your life? Why?
“To be honest with you? My gay mother, Kadar. Kadasia Minaj. She has done a lot more than anybody would do. We’ve been friends for a year this month and within the year she has done so much, she’s been there through a lot for me. She’s one of the most important people in my life.”
 
What do you think the future holds for gay people in America?
“They are going to have their rights but it will take some time. It will gradually grow. But as of now? No. But eventually they will have a say.”
 
Try to imagine your life ten years from now… where do you see yourself?
“Basically, I should have a house and maybe a family and by family I mean a husband and a daughter. I just want one kid, a girl. In another state maybe down south, perhaps. Or I just might stay in New York and lay low.”


Mike, 17 (Right)
Hopewell Junction, NY
 
When did you realize you were gay?
“I think I realized I was gay when I was 12, and I was checking out guys more often than I was looking at girls. I still had my girlfriends and all that, you know, bullshit.  I came out when I was 16, my junior year and everybody was surprised because I was a football player. I’ve played football since I was 7 and no one expects a big football player to come out. Most of my friends didn’t have a problem with it. Never did and probably never will because I stand my ground.”
 
Who Knows?
“My family found out, I never really came out to them. They figured it out on their own. At first they were surprised, like anybody would be. They like my boyfriend, they have no problem with him. They’re happy for me as long as I’m happy. We’ve been going out for about eight moths and to be in a committed relationship feels really good. Straight people who think gays can’t be in a committed relationship, that’s all bullshit because I’m in one now.”
 
Do you consider yourself political? How so?
“I’m not really a democrat or a republican I’m more moderate. Everyone in the world should have equal opportunities and equal rights and as long as the president, no matter what political party he is in, that’s who I will vote for. The president right now [George Bush]  is a dick-head and he doesn’t know what he is doing. I don’t know. I don’t think a president who has a lower I.Q. than I do should be in office right now.”

 
David, 19 (Right)
Wappingers Falls, NY
 
When did you realize you were gay?
“I always knew there was something different about me, I just did not know what it was. I couldn’t really put a name to it. It wasn’t a problem for me until I got older and realized what it was and how society doesn’t accept it as much, and well that didn’t last very long because I just came out. It’s just how you are.”
 
Who Knows?
“I came out to my mom because I live with her. She didn’t take it easy at first there was a lot of arguing, a lot of confusion. But over time she realized it’s not that serious. I think she was more upset because it was her son, it was not someone else’s child. She didn’t have a problem with that, but when it was me, that was a problem for her. Not anymore. We’re all good.”
  
How did you meet your boyfriend?
“We met through friends. We will have been dating for eight months on the 17th. We’re doing pretty well. Definitely someone I see myself with. I want to be with him for quite some time.”
 
What do you think the future holds for gay people in America?
“It’s going to even out, everyone will eventually be ok with it later on, just like when black people were discriminated against. It took awhile. Women also. You know it’s just how life is, you get used to things.”


Jay O.K., 21
NYC
 
When did you realize you were gay?
I must have been 11.
 
How did you know?
I was in school and I started checking out guys.
 
Have you ever been in love?
Wow. Yes. Exciting but… difficult.
 
Try to imagine your life ten years from now…
I have an apartment, a good paying job, finished school, have a car, and just living life to the fullest.


                        Andy, 18 (Left)
                        Orinda, CA
 
                        When did you realize you were gay?          
                       “In sixth or fifth grade when someone told me the meaning of the word.”
 
                        Is your sexual orientation important to your identity?
                       “My sexual orientation is only part of my identity. A lot of people think that you are defined by                                       
                        being gay and that’s everything about you, but it’s only a small part of me.”                                         
 
                       Who’s the most Important person in your life?                         
                       “I am. Because no one else is going to watch out for me.”
 
                       Try to imagine your life ten years from now. What do you envision?
                       “I’m happy.”


Brandon, 18
South Beach, Miami, FL
 
 
When did you realize you were gay?
“I think when I was 5 or 6 years old I started having feelings for other boys.”
 
Who knows and how did they find out?
“Everyone. I’m just really classically, flamboyantly gay so I’ve always been perceived as homosexual.”
 
Who’s the most important person in your life?
“Right now my grandmother. She is just always there for me and loves me daily and accepts me for who I am.”


Tanner, 16 (Right)
Orinda, CA
 
Do you like school? What’s your favorite class?
“Yes, I do. Crafts.”
 
Least favorite?
“English.”
 
When did you realize you were gay?
“I knew a long time ago. I always liked guys and once I knew what the concept was I knew immediately. I came out when I was 13 or14, but I knew for sure when I was 11.”
 
Have you ever been in love?
“No.”
 
Do you feel different from your straight friends? How?
“Yeah, very different. My attitude towards things seems to differ from their outlook on the world and people.”
 
Is your sexual orientation important to your identity?
“Yes, it’s very important. I think it makes me who I am.”
 
What do you think the future holds for gay people in America?
“Graduated from college… a husband… hopefully I’ll be able to marry him. A little house in the country.”


Raul, 18
San Francisco, CA
 
What websites do you visit?
“MySpace, Google and Hotmail.”
 
Who do you spend time with?
“My mom and my friends.”
 
Do you like school? What’s your favorite class?
“Yeah, I love it. It’s really great. History.”
 
Least favorite?
“Math.”
 
When did you realize you were gay?
“When I was 15. I was getting to know people and I realized I liked boys and girls.”
 
Have you ever been in love?
“I’m in love with someone now. He has a crush on me too but he is in a relationship.”
 
Who’s the most important person in your life?
“It would be my mom. I can talk to her about everything I want. She’s like my best friend.”
 
Try to imagine your life ten years from now. What do you envision?
“I think I will be in a long relationship and working as an interior designer.”


Mars, 18
NYC
 
“I’m somewhere on the trans-masculine spectrum between gender-queer and binary. I think I started realizing [I was different] in 10th grade. I went to an all-girls Catholic school; it’s a little hard not being a girl there. I think the problem now is that other guys don’t see me as a guy. I’m not particularly masculine, and I don’t really try to be.”


Eleet, 20
NYC
 
“I identify as a transgender female. My family could always tell: the way I talked, the way I walked, the way I moved, the way I socialized with my peers and my family members. They always said that I had ‘a little fruit in [my] tank.’ But hey, you either love it or you hate it. Honest to say, my upbringing was a little hard for me. But all those things that I’ve experienced in my life is what made me stronger, and it made me the person that I am today. And it made me want to reach out to my community, and let someone know that it gets better. Don’t give up. Go for what you want in life.”


Faye, 21
NYC
 
“I identify as a woman. But I think there’s a lot of preconceived notions as to what feminine means, and as to what female is supposed to look like. Sometimes I identify as queer in the sense that gender is not super-relevant to me. It’s just not a priority. I’m not happy with the way that the gender binaries are so apparent. It ostracizes people and makes them feel bad about themselves, or that they’re not normal. I just think this strict patriarchal society is slanderous, and it’s dangerous, and it hurts people.”


Hari, 19
NYC
 
“In terms of sexuality, I know I’m definitely more often attracted to men than I am to women…in terms of gender, I’m kind of wading around in all those intersectional gray areas. When I was little, I was very fixated on girly things, but attracted to males. I liked the Disney princesses, and liked the Disney princes. I always wanted to wear my mom’s heels, or a dress. I was really fascinated by femininity.”


Kenny, 21
Brussels, Belgium
 
Tell me about an average day in your life.
“I wake up, I do my hair.  I love doing my hair. I eat, I got to work, I spend my day in the hair salon. I come home, I check Facebook, Skype with my friends.”
 
What kind of music do you listen to?
“I like dancehall, R&B, reggae, hip-hop, a little electro.”
 
When did you realize that you were gay?
“When I was 8. I thought ‘What the fuck is going on?’. I was in love with my nephew. I have no issues with it.  It’s normal for me.”
 
Who knows and how did they find out?
“Everyone knows. I told them.”
 
 
Have you ever been in love? What was it like?
“Of course! It was my whole world.”
 
What is your life like ten years from now?
“The only thing I want is to look pretty. [laughs]  No, no, I just want to be happy.”
 
What do you think the future holds for the gay community in Belgium?
“My dream is that everyone accepts it. That when you walk down the street that not everyone is staring at you. That everyone is accepting.”


Junior, 22
Brazil (living in Brussels, Belgium)
 
 
When did you realize you were gay?
“I always knew it. I remember when I was 4, I was in school and my friend asked me to get under the table to play, and well that day something happened. I never looked at girls the way I looked at guys. When I was 14 I was with someone for two years and that was when I told my family. Since then everyone knew I was gay.”
 
Have you ever been in a relationship?
“Yes! The longest one is three years. That just ended in January. We lived together and everything. One day we decided we could not live together.”
 
Who is the most important person in your life?
“My mom. She is everything to me. When were young (I have a sister), I was really bad, because she cheated on my dad.  We treated her very badly. When I told her I was gay, she really supported me, and I will never forget that.”
 
 
What do you think the future holds for gay and lesbian people in Belgium?
“I think it will be good. You can get married here. People here are learning to understand us. Before it was as if they had to accept us. Now, they are trying to learn to understand us. I remember when I first moved here I met a girl and when I told her I was gay she said “ Oh you fag, that is disgusting’. Three years later I met her again and she asked ‘Why are you gay?’ Three years later, things changed, she thought differently. Wow, that’s just one person, but think about everyone else. I think it’s going to be great. I like Belgium. I could not do this in Brazil.”


Lise, 21
Reims, France (living in Brussels, Belgium)
 
When did you realize you were gay?
“When I was 12 I was really attracted by a girl which I realized was unusual so I pushed it away until I was 14. Then I had my first crush. Like almost every gay person I fell in love with my best friend, which ended in a huge drama. Then I moved to Bulgaria. I couldn’t say it loud over there because it’s dangerous to say it… you can’t say this kind of thing. But at the same time I started to meet people who were gay and straight and transsexual who were living together and being true to each other. So when I moved back to Belgium I just started to live it like it was a normal thing.”
 
Who knows?
“Well everybody knows. Even my grandmother knows. I wrote a letter to her to tell her this summer and she answered me that she was the happiest person in the world to know this. Everybody knows it and everybody accepts it… my friends and family and the people I‘m working with.”
 
 
Is your orientation important to your identity?
“Yes, I think it is. The 17 years before I moved here I was always thinking it was a disease or something unacceptable. Once I started feeling comfortable about it everything turned easier. It made my life easier when I started to accept it.”
 
Try to imagine you life ten years from now…
“I think I would love to have a child actually. Not in 10 but maybe 15 years. Maybe also have my driving license. That would be good.”


Nancy & Marie, both 18
Brussels, BE
 
 
Tell me about an average day in your life
M: We wake up, She goes to work and I go to school. We meet up again after.
 
When did you realize you were gay?
M: When I saw her. Whether she was boy or girl, it was Nancy
N: Always. 
 
Who knows?
M+N: Everybody. All of our friends.
 
How did they find out?
M: I didn’t want to hide. I have an open relationship with my parents. They’ve met Nancy and they appreciated her.
 
Who’s the most important person in your lives?
M: my parents and Nancy
 
What issues matter to you most?
N: Cooking
Mar: To get my degree is the most important thing for me right now.
 
Do you consider yourself political?
M+N: No, absolutely not.
 
Try to imagine your life 10 years from now.
M: We’ll be together, to start with. Nancy will have a bakery, and we will have a house, a garden, classic stuff.
 
What do you think the future holds for gay people in Belgium?
M: We hope things will be more accepted, less taboo, and that homophobia will go away.


Po, 23
Mons, Belgium
 
When did you realize that you were gay?
“I began to think about this when I was 18, but I know that stuff was happening in my head when I was about 5. At first I really prayed to god that I did not have this problem as I was already a woman, black and disabled, so I had enough to deal with.”
 
Who knows?
“Some close friends in my hometown. My best friend had some problems with it. We spent a few months not talking. But since then, I am the president of the LGBTQ association, so it’s impossible to not know that. My family does not know.”
 
What do you think will happen?
“I think we will not see each other for a long time after that. I think I will not be in touch with my parents and my family anymore.  My parents will ask me to not make a lot of noise about it because in the Congolese community a lot of people talk. Family is important. They don’t like anything about marginal people and its important to be normal. For them, this is not normal.”
 
Is your sexual orientation important to your identity?
“Yes, I guess it makes a lot about who I am.  It’s like being black, it builds up a big part of my personality. It’s actually the same for gender. I would love that it would not be so important in the world, but it is.”
 
 
What do you think the future holds for the gay community in Belgium?
“Belgium is complicated because we have other political and legal matters that are in good in comparison to other countries. We are the second country to legalize same sex marriages.  But at the same time, the everyday life is complicated because law is very quick. It’s a big issue in this country. It is difficult to make people think differently about sexual orientation and gender. In Belgium since we have a fight for legal and political recognition, we don’t allow the queer people to be visible. I hope we will be able to welcome everyone and make everyone visible.”


Back to Top