Even though many people seem to be open about homosexuality, it turned out to be untrue when I showed people photos of homosexual couples in intimate moments. Most of them found the photos disgusting and unacceptable. This reaction was a source of inspiration to me. My goal was to make photos about homosexuals that incite feelings of romantic love that is natural and beautiful. I chose to capture casual daily activities of the couples that can be familiar to anyone. By doing so, I hope to make the audience become interested, then gradually empathize with homosexual people.
Many projects/artworks on homosexuality in Vietnam tend to focus on either deviances (especially in movies, with images of homosexuals portrayed in ridiculous clothing and make-up, mincing, shrewish or rude manners…) or symbolic images. In photography, homosexuals are not presented as themselves in pictures. And if they are, they’re usually photographed from behind or with masks on. These all foster weird and absurd images of homosexuals rather then present more understanding perspectives. In turn, homosexuals become even more intimidated and isolated.
The Pink Choice has a different approach as it seeks out personal stories using direct language: documentary photography to capture real moments and real people.
Moreover, stories about homosexuality in Vietnam and also in the world usually end in tragedy, especially in movies. On one hand, this tragic style of storytelling can make audience become more sympathetic and understanding of the difficulties that homosexuals experience. On the other hand, the drama of homosexuals can also cause misunderstandings that lives of homosexuals are vulnerable and regretful, and that the choice to “come out” is an incredible effort against the community’s way of life. The point is, in real life, there are many homosexual people who live happily with their identity. There are homosexual couples who love, nurture and build a happy family life together.
The Pink Choice is a series of photos about the love of homosexual couples which focus on living spaces, the affectionate touches, and more importantly, the synchronized rhythm of lovers sharing life together. Viewers may not feel the personalities of the subjects in the photos, but hopefully they can feel the warmth of their love and caring. In way, I wanted to show what I see of homosexual people and not how they see themselves.
Recently my grandmother found out I’m queer. Her response was to tell me that she disapproves of me living with my “friend” (i.e. my girlfriend) and that I should give up my vile queer ways and become a Christian (Lol). She even sent me a bible. Here are its remains, which I made into black-out poetry.
Poem 1: Bisexual (from Leviticus 19:9)— “Have sexual relations with her. Have sexual relations with him. Have sexual relations with both a woman and a man. Have sexual relations with yourself. Vomit on everyone who does not respect you.”
Poem 2:Fisting (from Judges 8:5)— “water/ lap the water/ drink/go down to drink/your hands/go down/I give into your hands/go down/encouraged/down/on the seashore/the whole hand/your hand/inside/I get to the edge/and shout/grasping/crying out/Beth/Beth/Beth/Beth/Beth/God/I came”
Poem 3:A Letter to the Exiles (from Jeremiah 28:13) — “Ze said: ‘Do not let lies name you, nor harm your heart. Gather. Raise the sword against them. They scorn and reproach, for they have not listened— again and again have not listened.’ “
Poem 4:Child (from Ezekiel 16:22) — “Your father and your mother rubbed salt in. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough for you, for on the day you were born you were despised. Live! Grow. I looked at you and saw you were enough.”
Poem 5:Father (from Ezekiel 16:22) — “You never adored us. You became very angry. You took some out on us. Your sons and daughters were not enough? You slaughtered— in all your detestable practices— our youth.”
Poem 6:Misandry (from Acts 27:41) — “Dangerous men should be broken.”
The question which we so often have been offered—is the NFL ready for a gay player?—is backwards. Powerful interests are rarely “ready” for change, so much as they are assaulted by it. We refer to barriers being “broken” for a reason. The reason is not because great powers generally like to unbar the gates and hold a picnic in the honor of the previously excluded. The NFL has no moral right to be “ready” for a gay player, which is to say it has no right to discriminate against gay men at its leisure which anyone is bound to respect.