Meet Brian & Khoa

For Pride, we’re featuring some of our fab friends from the LGBTQIA community. To close out our series, Brian and Khoa lead The March at NYC Pride 2017.

Khoa, left, and Brian, right. Photography by Jane Kratochvil for Fab.

Who or what inspires you?

BRIAN: I’m inspired every day by my fabulously creative friends: musicians, writers, painters, designers, singers, photographers … I’m lucky to know some truly gifted artists and their creativity inspires me to make my everyday life more beautiful.

KHOA: Frida Khalo. She’s the woman I idolize most, except for my mom, of course. She taught herself how to paint and created her own style while living in an abusive relationship and then almost dying in a bus accident. She lived her life without regret.

Where is your happy place?  

BRIAN: It doesn’t get any better than New York City! I know it’s not for everyone, and even people who live here love to get away when they can, but I just thrive on the hustle and bustle, the different lives and paths, the millions of things to do and places to go. I could never be bored here.

KHOA: My own head. I love to go back through my memories and relive my happiest moments. Or, in the real world, anywhere there’s food. I love food. So much.

Khoa, why is fashion an important form of self-expression for you?

KHOA: Fashion isn’t just about a piece of fabric you wear in your daily life. It’s about your sense of self. It’s a way for me to be different and rebel against all of the “norm” around me.

Brian, you manage the volunteers that escort the iconic balloon arches that lead the march. Why has this, along with marching with the balloons annually, been an important form of self-expression for you?

BRIAN: Being big and round myself, I feel a special connection to balloons! But seriously, the NYC Pride March has become a very important part of my life. Every year that I would go and watch I would get all teary eyed just seeing the people from ALL walks of life getting out in the street and saying they’re proud of who they are: social groups, sporting groups, clergy, families, drag queens, service organizations, and yes, even the go-go boys. When you get that many people coming together it really makes a powerful statement. So when I first was invited by a friend to volunteer with the balloons, I couldn’t wait. It was an early morning and a lot of hard work, but once we hit the street the energy was just electric. The balloon arches are one of the first things in the march, so all of the spectators are cheering and hollering and you’re just whooping it up right back with them. It’s fun, but it’s also an important statement. This march started in 1970 to commemorate the Stonewall riots, and until we reach full equality, we’re going to keep marching every single year, us and our giant balloons, to let everyone know that we’re here and we’re just like everybody else.

Complete this sentence. When I _______, I feel fabulous.

BRIAN: I feel really fabulous when I make myself look great. I’m a jeans-and-t-shirt guy on most days, so when I have the opportunity to get a good hair cut, put on a nice pair of shoes and some good looking clothes, and hit the streets, I stand about a foot taller.

KHOA: Eat! Did I mention I love food? Halal, street food, anything with noodles…I love it all. I like to taste the rainbow!

How do you show pride?

BRIAN: I show pride every day by simply not hiding who I am. I know I’m lucky to live in New York and work in the performing arts industry, so I don’t have to worry as much as other people do. But I haven’t danced around my truth in several decades, and I think that’s the number one way to show pride. Be yourself, without apology, and without fear of judgment.

KHOA: By being myself, and not worrying about how others think I should act or behave. I take pride in living my own path, and being different without regrets.