This is to all my Republican friends: Many of you have told me that while you yourself have more liberal social views, you vote Republican because you see that party as being for limited government and a strong economy. PLEASE CONSIDER THIS, THOUGH: Your actions in voting Republican are leading to the death of the planet, as your leaders disavow climate change and are indeed working to ban even the phrase. Your leaders, putting corporate profits above ecological sensibility, continue to push for deregulation of corporate oversight, and that deregulation and lack of oversight leads to increased pollution. This, despite a mountain of evidence that our earth is changing quickly, and not for the better. Devastation of species and the environment are imminent, and YOUR VOTE LED THIS TO HAPPEN.
Many of you have told me that while you personally support LGBT equality, you feel that Republicans actually are–at their heart–LGBT allies, but are just appeasing the louder voices of the party’s right wing base. But your actions in voting Republican are leading to laws which discriminate against the very people you claim to support. People can be turned away, simply from ordering a meal, or holding a job, or having a roof over their head just because they’re gay. What year are we living in, you may ask? Good question. Just remember, YOUR VOTE LED THIS TO HAPPEN.
Many of you have said that while you support tighter gun control, to avoid the kind of mass shootings we’ve seen, you don’t want your guns “taken away.” Well, guess what? In the last 10 years, your guns HAVEN’T been taken away, have they? At the same time, your vote has led to inaction on behalf of stricter laws. We DON’T HAVE tighter gun control laws, which means senseless killings and mass shootings will continue, and YOUR VOTE LED THIS TO HAPPEN.
Many of you say that you think Republicans are better in terms of national security. Yet the biggest terrorist act against the U.S. occurred during a Republican President’s watch. YOUR VOTE LED THAT TO HAPPEN.
Many of you say you want a peaceful, diplomatic foreign policy, yet voted for a man who led us into two ill-considered and expensive wars, killing countless in the process. YOUR VOTE LED THAT TO HAPPEN. Meanwhile, Democratic Leadership is trying to bring peace to areas of strife. You might not agree with every decision made, but it is all with the goal of peace–yet the Republicans in Congress seem determined to screw up even that. Just remember, if an Iran agreement isn’t reached due to Republican interference and war occurs, YOUR VOTE LED THAT TO HAPPEN.
And finally, for those who vote Republican due to fiscal concerns, just remember this: It was your Republican President who got us into the financial crisis and collapse in the first place, and it was a Democratic President who got us out of it. The economy has now gained nearly five times more jobs under President Barack Obama than it did during the presidency of George W. Bush, and the unemployment rate has dropped to just below the historical average. Corporate profits have nearly tripled, and stock prices have soared. ALL THIS ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT, from a Democrat, not a Republican.
Now, you may want to quibble the details–and I’m sure many of you will–but my point is this: YOUR VOTE MATTERS, and your vote is killing the planet, creating discriminatory laws against LGBT people, ensuring pay inequality for women, enforcing a lower-than-liveable minimum wage which leads people to poverty, and so much more–none of it good. Yeah, the Democrats have problems too. Lord knows, they ain’t perfect. But they aren’t trying to kill the planet either. Peace.
The Gay Men Project is an online attempt by photographer Kevin Truong to capture self-identified gay men in their environment to give viewers a sense of who they are and the life they lead. Subtle and unshowy, the photographs provide glimpses into gay men’s ordinary and extraordinary lives. Often, the portraits are accompanied by the subject’s personal story, which are just as interesting as the photographs. Truong has photographed over two hundred men in four countries thus far, with plans for many more.
While initially the Gay Men Project began as a venue for his own photography, the series has since expanded and Truong is actively seeking photo contributions from anyone interested in being a part of the project, as well as participants for the photographs he himself shoots. Truong recently shared with me his inspiration and goals for the Gay Men Project, and his reasons for expanding the project to include contributions from others.
Kergan Edwards-Stout: Kevin, I’m so glad we’re able to talk further about your Gay Men Project. A friend shared it with me, and I was really taken with both the photography and the stories. I was also impressed with your goal of capturing the gay community in these slice-of-life moments.
Kevin Truong: Thank you!
Edwards-Stout: Tell me a bit about yourself and how you came to be a photographer.
Truong: My mom is a Vietnamese immigrant and I was born in born in a refugee camp in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Later, we moved to Oregon, where I grew up. I got my first degree in Economics and worked for nonprofits for a few years, which culminated with me going into the Peace Corps when I was twenty-six. That experience led to my becoming interested in photography and coincided with my coming out.
Edwards-Stout: How so?
Truong: Through the Peace Corps, I was placed in Belize, a country where it is illegal to be gay. When I found that out, I immediately contacted the Peace Corps to ask what I should do. The Peace Corps is the holy grail of nonprofits, and they encouraged me to go ahead and go. I hoped that they would be right and that it would be manageable, but as I had just come out as gay to my mom, going back into a situation where I was told to be “discrete” was easier said than done. (more…)