Hans, in his own words: “Being gay means to me being able to enjoy my sexuality in all aspects. I like to have interests, points of view and a sense of life that is different than other people, BUT it doesn´t mean that i deserve less human and civil rights than straight people. It´s unfair. What I do in my bed doesn’t define me, I´m more than that: I´m A PERSON.
The challenges I have had in my life was to be openly gay among my family, some friends and at work (at first instance it was difficult, but you have to show that you deserve respect like any other person) and the fight to get equal civil rights in my country …we´re still fighting….
The gay community in Lima is so varied and different between their members, from gays who are openly gay and support LGTBI rights, to those who think and fight against their own rights (many of them are politicians and members of the catholic clergy who have strong religious beliefs ). Fortunately the young LGTBI generation and some straight people support equality and fight against homophobia, but we have a lot to do.
(With regards to coming out) I was studying medicine at university and liked to go to gay clubs. When I was 22 years old my mother asked my about my sexual preferences, and I lied: I said ” I like both men and women”. My mother was confused. The next year I decided to come out. I invited her to dinner out and while we were eating I told her : ” Do you remember when you asked me about my sexual preferences? Well, I like men, I have always liked them.” My mother’s first reaction was to say: :You have to study in a foreign country, I don´t want people to hurt you.” We came back home and didn’t talk about the issue for about two months. By that time I usually liked (and still like) “Will and Grace.” One night I was studying in my bedroom and she yelled: “Hans, come to dinner with me, Will and Grace is going to start”… and since then I knew she was changing her mind. That sitcom helped me so much, showing a positive image of gay people to my mother and all audience….
The advice I´d give to my younger self would be: “Don´t give up on what you think you deserve, always study and be nice with people who need your help.”