Martin, in his own words: “(Being gay) is my life, I can’t imagine not being gay actually. That’s what I am.
(The LGBTQ community in Switzerland) is a very old one, it’s a traditional one, it’s a tiny one. Switzerland, being in the heart of Europe, has lots of tourist coming here. Zurich, especially, and Geneva are very liberal cities, it’s nice for gay people here.
(There are still) political challenges, we want total equality. We don’t have it, we almost have it, but that is the biggest challenge, but in the normal daily life it is quite good.
When I think of the last twenty or thirty years there has been a lot of changes (in Switzerland). (LGBTQ) people used to be in a sort of ghetto, which was the community, now it is mixing up. Society has changed a lot. It is quite a liberal society, nobody has a problem even when you are at work and tell them you’re gay or bring along your boyfriend. That’s changed a lot. I think that wouldn’t have been possible twenty years ago. And so in Switzerland we had a public poll about gay rights and gay marriage and more than 64% saying yes to this, which is amazing.
20 years ago when I came out and started working as a politician it was quite sensational. But now even the mayor of Zurich is an open lesbian and it’s nothing special anymore. Even from the conservative parties, there are now some openly gay people in the Parliament, some colleagues of mine, this wouldn’t have been possible just ten years ago.
I still think that it is important to talk to people, not just going to the internet. I’m working for several gay organizations and we have lots of phone calls and personal discussions, that’s what people really need now, when they’re 16 or 17 years old and coming out, to have contact and speak with people, not just to chat on the internet.”