Growing up gay, you search for role models where you can–in the passing comments of an older friend that suggests they might be queer, in the photos of celebrities who are rumored to be in same-sex relationships. The Internet has made role models easier to find than ever, but there can never be enough resources for gay youth seeking guidance.
The Gay Men Project, a website created by photographer Kevin Truong, is an attempt to bring together as many photos of gay men around the world–and their lives–as humanly possible.
Truong created the website for a class project at the Pratt Institute. “My classmates were interested in photos, but I was always more interested in stories,” he says. “I thought the photo project would be a way to build towards working with community.”
That was four years ago. In 2012, Truong set up his public site, which is modeled after fashion blogs like the Sartorialist. From the beginning, he wanted the project to be international, so he spent a week in London during a gay pride celebration to snap some photos. Today, he’s taken photos of hundreds of gay men in 40 cities.
For the first two years, The Gay Men Project ran purely on Truong’s passion. But since raising $33,000 on Kickstarter this past spring, he has devoted all of his time to the project.
“Essentially, I’m trying to create a resource–something I would have benefitted from when I was a 16-year-old kid in Oregon and trying to find these other stories,” he says.
Check out some of Truong’s favorite photos from his collection in the slide show above.AS