Shaobo Han Thesis 1 Fall 2012
The So Gay So Proud project is to inspire fellow gay men to embrace their sexuality; to take pride in their sexuality. Visibility is the key to self-acceptance; you can’t be what you can’t see. y I want my fellow gay men to let go of social judgments and be who they are. For the younger gay kids, I hope my project can show them that it’s okay to be whoever or whatever you want.
Personal Stories Teasers
It felt as though the misery would never stop. The taunting. The teasing. The constant stares produced, perhaps, by my own paranoia. Whatever it was, it wasn’t going away. I was going to make it go away...... —J.L It was an exciting time for a 25 year old but there was sadness and fear in the shadows as it was also the same period as the AIDS epidemic. It was that fear and awareness that affect ed my choices and behaviours —D.S.K Coming out was the most liberating thing I have done. I no longer have to hide who I am. I am no longer subject to scrutiny, and social interrogation. I no longer have to defend myself. —C.T
*the names are abbreviated for the privacy of the interviewees.
On a clear day, it seems as though we can see forever into the endless horizon. But there are times, when it feels as though the clouds are getting lower each day and so dense is the fog that you can’t see anything but your last breath leaving your body. And had someone shown the 12 year old me, a Youtube video telling me “it’s going to get better” while I was sitting on the cold bathroom tiles in my new home in Texas, with choice of a razor blade in one hand and a bottle of pills in another, I might have punched them right in the face. A double minority as a gay Korean boy from New York, I had
no sense of what it was like to be different outside my metropolitan bubble. That is, until I left my United Colors of Benetton nation and landed right in an Abercrombie catalogue. It felt as though the misery would never stop. The taunting. The teasing. The constant stares produced, perhaps, by my own paranoia. Whatever it was, it wasn’t going away. I was going to make it go away. But then I thought, as any cheesy story will tell you, of my parents.. And of my one and only friend that I’ve met after an entire year. A small freckled face girl by the name of Emily, who made sure that I knew I had someone to call a friend. I thought of how they would find me sprawled so unceremoniously across the marble floor. If anyone of my many bullies heard of the news, they would have won and I
would be as pathetic as they saw me...I had to prove them wrong. I just had to... I moved back to New York a few years later, came out of the closet to a whole range of emotions, and live here since. It’s been over a decade now and I look back at how much how culture has changed. How much the people have changed. How much I have changed. A decade has passed since that night and I still keep in touch with the freckled-faced girl I inwardly call my savior. A decade has passed and I have achieved my dreams of working at an illustrious fashion publication, having more friends that love me than I could’ve ever asked for, and having everything I could ever have wanted in my seemingly brief 22 years of life. Recently, I received an email from someone I initially didn’t recog-
nize. I later puzzled together that it was one of my childhood hecklers. It simply read, “I’m sorry”. How she got my email, I’ll never know... After a brief reply, I later found out she now works at the local supermarket as a cashier and the Bonnie to his Clyde “is doin’ real well” at a the local Chili’s. Apparently they never left that little town in Texas but even there, this email proved to me that things were changing for the better. Winston Churchill worded it best when he said, “ Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of one’s enthusiasm. Success is not final. Failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”. So take an oath with me with your right hand up (middle finger extended if you’d like) and promise me you’ll hang in there. Had anyone told that 12
year old me that it would’ve gotten better and this is what would become of me and the world a few years later, I never would’ve believed them. A good friend, an editor over at Vogue told me, “In the end, it will be ok. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end”. We’re getting there. I can see it now. And if you don’t believe me, then look back and just see how far we’ve gotten...!
e dick! st lik u j I
Iâ€™m not ashame of it at all.
1. conduct formal interviews 2. collect more short statements 3. branch out to social media 4. prototype more layouts
thank you so much for everyone who has help to reach this step. #sogaysoproud