Tagged: zurich

Dirk and Christian, Zurich, Switzerland

photo by Kevin Truong
Dirk (left) and Christian (right)photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Christian (left) and Dirk (right) photo by Kevin Truong
Christian (left) and Dirk (right) photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Dirk, in his own words: “(Being gay) is nothing special. I am what I am.

Ich habe mich schon vielen Herausforderungen in meinem Leben stellen müssen, und auch schon einige Erfolge erzielt. Aber keine davon hat etwas mit meiner Sexualität zu tun.
Ich stehe zu meiner Sexualität, aber sie steht in meinem Leben nicht im Vordergrund!

(My coming out story) Auch die ist sehr langweilig und unspektakulär. Da ich schon im Alter von 17 Jahren zuhause ausgezogen bin, und mir erst mit 21 klar wurde, dass ich schwul bin, war es für mich nicht sehr schwer, meinen Eltern zu sagen, dass ich schwul bin. Was sollte schon passieren??
Ich hatte schon mein eigenes unabhängiges Leben in einer Stadt 60 km von meinen Eltern entfernt. Meine Mutter war erst sehr geschockt und traurig, aber mein Vater sagte nur: “Aber du bleibst trotzdem mein Sohn”.

Die gay Community in Zürich ist sehr klein. Es gibt leider nicht sehr viele Bars, Discotheken oder dergleichen. Ich empfinde es oft sehr oberflächlich. Einer möchte schöner sein als der andere. Ich mag so etwas nicht, von daher gehe ich nur selten schwul aus. Außerdem glauben alle Veranstalter von schwulen Events, dass wir Schwulen eh viel Geld haben und alles bezahlen. Darum verlangen sie unverschämt teure Preise für Eintritt und Getränke. Es nervt, nur weil es eine schwule Veranstaltung ist, fast das doppelte an Preisen zu bezahlen!!!

(Advice to my younger self) Mach alles genau so wie ich es schon gemacht habe. Sei du selbst, lebe und genieße dein Leben!Akzeptiere deine Sexualität, aber stelle sie nicht in den Vordergrund deines Lebens!!Sei einfach du selbst!!!!”

In English:

“(Being gay is) nothing special. I am what I am.

I have already had to face many challenges in my life, and already achieved some success. But none of them has anything to do with my sexuality.
I stand by my sexuality, but it is not the most important thing in my life!

(My coming out story) is very boring and unexciting. Since I moved away from home at the age of 17, it was only until I was 21 that realized that I was gay. It was for me not very hard. I had moved out on my own in a town 60km from my parents. My mother was just very shocked and sad, but my father just said, “But still, you remain my son”.

The gay community in Zurich is very small. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of bars, discos and the like. I find it often very superficial. One wants to be more beautiful than the other. I do not like such a thing, so I’m rarely out. In addition, all organizers of gay events believe that we have a lot of money and that gays can pay for everything. That’s why they charge outrageously expensive prices for admission and drinks. It sucks, just because it’s a gay event, we have to pay almost twice the price!!!

(Advice to my younger self) Do everything exactly the way I’ve done it. Be yourself, and enjoy your life! Accept your sexuality, but do not put it in the forefront of your life!! Just be yourself !!!!”

Christian, in his own words: “Ich würde sicherlich nicht behaupten stolz zu sein, dass ich schwul bin. Aber ich bin es gern und hatte auch nie den Gedanken es nicht sein zu wollen. Allerdings hatte ich auch das grosse Glück, in diesem Zusammenhang die beste Familie der Welt zu haben! Mein Coming Out verlief von daher relativ unspektakulär……

Zwar war ich schon 20 und bin mir die Jahre davor langsam bewusst geworden, dass ich auf Männer stehe, aber in der Kleinstadt fehlten mir dann doch die Bezugspunkte zur Schwulenszene. Ein halbes Jahr vorher, ich war mit meiner besten Freundin Shirley nach einem Spaziergang voller Schweigen auf dem Friedhof gelandet, fragte sie mich die alles entscheidende Frage: “Bist du schwul, oder was??” Das nächste halbe Jahr sollte sie die einzige bleiben, die es wusste….. (so dachte ich).

Es war 1995 und Pfingsten stand vor der Tür. Ich las im Schädelspalter, einem Veranstaltungsblatt für Hannover, vom “Tummelplatz der Lüste”, dem schwullesbischen Pfingstwochenende. Von da an nahm es seinen Lauf….. Ich nahm meinen ganzen Mut zusammen und fuhr nach Hannover zum Strassenfest am Steintor. Es war schon ziemlich aufregend, fehlte mir bis dahin doch jeglicher Kontakt zu anderen Schwulen. Um dieses “Überangebot” erstmal zu verdauen, fuhr ich am Nachmittag wieder heim (Ich wohnte noch bei meinen Eltern, eine halbe Stunde von Hannover entfernt), um dann schon unterwegs im Zug zu beschliessen, am Abend wieder in “die grosse Stadt” zu fahren, um abends auf die Party auf dem Pelikanareal, einem alten Werksgelände, zu gehen. Meinen Eltern erzählte ich, mit Kollegen auszugehen und über Nacht dort zu bleiben. Von da an nahm alles seinen Lauf…. Mein erster Pride, meine erste Gayparty, mein erster Kuss, mein erstes Mal und meine erste Beziehung…… all dieses sollte ich in dieser Nacht erleben, bzw. sollte in dieser Nacht beginnen. Die Beziehung hielt 17 Monate und es war eine wirklich sehr schöne Zeit…..

Eine Woche später war ich schon wieder “mit Kollegen unterwegs”. Zumindest war es das, was ich meinen Eltern erzählte. Komisch nur, dass ich vorher noch nie etwas mit meinen Kollegen unternommen hatte ;0))

Nach diesem Wochenende sagte ich zu meinem Freund, dass ich mich am Montag bei meiner Familie outen würde. Er hat es mir nicht geglaubt.

Aber gesagt – getan! Ich kam am Montag Abend von der Arbeit nach Hause, rief bei meinem Bruder und seiner Freundin an, dass sie doch bitte vorbei kommen sollen, da ich was zu verkünden hätte und sie gern dabei hätte. Meine (inzwischen) Schwägerin war sehr ungeduldig und hakte alsbald nach, was denn nun wichtiges sei? Und da fielen sie auch schon, die berüchtigten drei Worte:

“Ich bin schwul!”

Mein Bruder, an die Wand gelehnt, rutschte zu Boden. Er dachte, ich würde Vater werden . Von meinem Vater kam wie aus der Kanone geschossen: “Das wusste ich schon vor zwei Jahren!” Ich dachte nur: “wie schön – ich nicht…..”

Der Rest ging von ganz allein. Meine Mutter hat es dem Rest der Familie verkündet, am nächsten Wochenende hat Sven mich bei meinen Eltern abgeholt und das Wochenende darauf hat er das erste Mal bei mir geschlafen. Zu Silvester war eine Party im Hotel, in dem ich damals meine Ausbildung machte. Ich nahm ihn mit dorthin und habe ihn um Mitternacht einfach vor versammelter Mannschaft geküsst. Somit war das dann auch erledigt ;0))

Wie schon erwähnt hatte ich grosses Glück in der Familie und im Freundeskreis und weiss durchaus, dass es viele nicht so einfach hatten oder haben. Dafür möchte ich mich ganz herzlich Bedanken!

Mit Dirk bin ich jetzt seit 16 Jahren zusammen und fast 13 Jahre glücklich verheiratet ❤️.

2010 sind wir in die Schweiz ausgewandert und leben seitdem sehr glücklich in Zürich. Die Szene ist hier überschaubar, aber unsere Sturm – und Drangzeit haben wir eh hinter uns gelassen. Gerade sitze ich im Bus von Zürich nach München. Dieses Wochenende ist dort Christopher Street Day und wir werden bei der Parade mitlaufen. In der Hoffnung, dass es auch in Deutschland und der Schweiz bald die Ehe für alle geben wird – mit allen Rechten und Pflichten!”

In English:

“I certainly would not claim to be proud that I’m gay. But I like it and have never thought about not wanting to be gay. However, I also had the good fortune to have in this context the best family in the world! My coming out was therefore relatively unspectacular ……

Although I was 20 and slowly became aware that I was attracted to men, in the small town I lived there were no reference points for the gay community. A year later, I was with my best friend Shirley and after a walk of full silence in the cemetery, she asked the crucial question: “Are you gay, or what ??” The next six months she would be the only one who knew it ….. (so I thought).

It was 1995 and Pentecost was approaching. I read in Skullsplitter, an event journal for Hannover, the “playground of Earthly Delights”, the gay and lesbian Whitsun weekend. From then on it took its course. I took all my courage and went to Hannover for the street party at Stone Gate. It was pretty exciting, until then I had not had any contact with other gays. In order to digest this “glut” at first, I went in the afternoon back home (I was still living with my parents, a half hour from Hanover), and then to decided on the train, in the evening in “the big city” to go to the evening party at the Pelican area, an old factory premise. My parents told me to go out with colleagues and stay there overnight. From then on, everything took its course. My first Pride, my first gay party, my first kiss, my first time and my first relationship, all this I experienced on that night. The relationship held 17 months and it was a really lovely time.

A week later I was back “with colleagues on the go.” At least it was what I told my parents. Just funny that I had never done anything with my colleagues; 0))

After this weekend, I said to my friend that I would come out with my family on Monday. He did not believe me.

But said and – done! I arrived on Monday evening from work to home, phoned my brother and his girlfriend that they should please come over because I had something to announce and she would have liked it. My (now) sister was very impatient and probed immediately what was so important? And then came the infamous three words:

“I am gay!”

My brother, leaning against the wall, slid to the ground. He thought I’d be a father . From my father came as if shot from a cannon, “I already knew two years ago!” I just thought, “How beautiful – I did not …..”

The rest went of their own accord. My mother had announced to the rest of the family, next weekend Sven picked me up at my parents and the weekend after that he slept with me for the first time. New Year’s Eve was a party at the hotel where at the time I was training. I took him there and kissed him at midnight just before the assembled troops. Thus, it was then completed; 0))

As already mentioned I was very lucky with regards to my family and friends and am well aware that there are many who have not had not so simple an experience. I would like to express my sincere thanks!

With Dirk, I am now 16 years together and happily married almost 13 years ❤️. In 2010 we have emigrated to Switzerland and now are very happy in Zurich. The scene here is manageable, but our storm – und Drang period, we have always left behind. Right now I’m sitting on a bus from Zurich to Munich. This weekend there runs along Christopher Street Day and we are at the parade. In the hope that there will be marriage for all soon in Germany and Switzerland – with all the rights and obligations!”

Robi and Ernst, Retired, Zurich, Switzerland

Robi (left) and Ersnt (right), photo by Kevin Truong
Robi (left) and Ersnt (right), photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Ernst (left) and Robi (right), photo by Kevin Truong
Ernst (left) and Robi (right), photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Robi (left) and Ernst (right), photo by Kevin Truong
Robi (left) and Ernst (right), photo by Kevin Truong
Robi and Ernst, in their own words: “Ernst: We have been together now for 59 years. And we met when we were 26. We met at the Kreis. and Robi was performing on stage as a lady. And I thought this is a woman and it’s not a man doing this. I bet 100 franks and I lost it, and I found Robi. He was in the theatre group of the Kreis. And he was the star in the Kreis. I was working with the section of the editors of the magazine, in the three languages of the magazine in German, French and English. Since I spoke these three languages I became familiar with all three editors.

Robi: I was also very happy in the Kreis because theater was my life. In private I was always in theater, and I had a main part in a Swiss film also. So theatre and cinema is just a big part of my life and I was very pleased all the time.

Ernst: But you started when you were a boy.

Robi: Yes, when I was seven years old my mother worked in theatre, and the director came and asked her ‘You have a boy, can you bring him once?’ And from that time, I had children’s parts and so many things in the theatre.

Ernst: The Kreis, was a homosexual organization, the only one existing in Switzerland, it was founded in 1932 and it went on until 1967. It at first had a different name, but it was always the same organization. And they also had a magazine, first in German only, and it had a different name, but then it also started to get subscribers in the French speaking part of Switzerland, so it was in two languages, the Kreis and le Cercle, and then after 1943, they started with the third language, in English. And then the Kries became an international magazine, since it was the only one in the market with subscribers all over the world. And very good connections especially to America, because the Mattachine Society was founded in 1951 in Los angeles and they started with a magazine called ‘One’, because it was the first of the gay magazines in the USA. And they had connections with the Kreis, and that was going to and fro, and similar with Paris, and other organizations in the Netherlands, in Denmark, and Sweden and Norway. And in Germany. In Germany of course, very clandestine, only hidden, because they still had the Hitler paragraph of their famous paragraph 175, and it was all forbidden. (Back then being gay) was very difficult.

Robi: Yes, you had to live a double life because it was not popular and homophobia was very big at that time, also in Switzerland. So it was quite difficult for us. We couldn’t go together walking, or I never went to the school where Ernst was working. It was really impossible.

Ernst: And the most difficult thing for us was that for the first 30 years when we were a couple, we could not live together, we had no flat together, because it was two dangerous!

Robi: And they would not give an apartment for two men, two women was good, but two men, no.

How was your coming out?

Robi: For me it was very easy. I feel when I was very young, 10, 12 years, I looked always at boys, I had never the will to go with a girl.

Ernst: And you were dressing like it!

Robi: Yes, and I was dressing like it. And that was another thing, I looked androgynous when I was young.

Ernst: You tried to act a woman’s part as a child already, drag gin up, I think you were gay before you were born! (laughs)

Robi: Maybe. (laughs)

Ernst: I knew from very young that something was different, and I didn’t like to play with boys. And I knew I had to hide this. And then when I was 11 I found out that I was looking after young men and just at the same time that my comrades at school started to look after girls and I thought, ‘They’re so silly’ and I found out, ‘Well you’re looking after boys, well you’re just as silly! Actually, and you feel the same but the other way around. But you can’t tell this to anybody, not even at home. Well this is my secret.’ And it was a big secret, indeed. And I thought I was the only one. I looked up in all sorts of lexicon, and I didn’t find any hint on what I was feeling. Until I finally found the word homosexuality, but that was in medicine and medical illness and psychological illnesses and pathology. And I knew I was not ill, this is part of my nature. All these learned men writing this lexicon, they don’t know anything about it. But I know.

Robi: My family was quite normal, they accepted me like I was. It was never a problem. And when I met Ernst, my mother was very very happy for me to have a young friend. And she was always saying to me, ‘Be serious and don’t leave Ernst, he is wonderful for you.’

Ernst: My family, well for my family it was a no go. I felt this immediately so I never talked anything about it. It was a total secret. Also in schools, because they sent me to Christian schools, which was interesting, I was interested in christian religion, and just finding out that I don’t believe in all they say. But it was an interesting way of making philosophy with the hypothesis that there is a God creating everything. And I thought, ‘This is wrong, this is against nature to believe in a God.’ But then again, I was not to say this to anybody because this was a religious school and I would have left it. And so there were several secrets, on the whole, this was an interesting time because the teachers were very good and I could learn a lot. I was not a very good scholar, because I was interested in more things that were outside of what was taught in school. And I read lots and lots of books on Indian philosophy and on French modern literature, on Existentialism, and all this was no subject at the school.

What is the secret to stayng together for so long?

Robi: We respect each other, and we won’t change the personality of the partner. We accept him like he is. And we speak always openly, we never lied. And when one had an adventure we told the other, and that makes it good.

Ernst: Because also we had sort of an open relationship, we had some friends outside, but we talked to each and we introduced them to each other, and sometimes we had sex the three together and it was fun, and we thought ‘Well this is going on very well like this.’ But in the deeper part, we never wanted to separate. we knew we belonged to each other, and we would never find anybody else to whom we have the same feelings. I love Robi because he is a little androgynous and he always has new ideas and he never can decide on this or that, it’s always me that has to tell him, ‘How do you think, I think this is better for the moment, what do you feel like?’ And then he finally makes his decisions. This is a kind of game and it is every day new.”

Robi: And this is very good, I learn a lot from Ernst, and it makes our partnership so wonderful because he helps me an in a way I help him also.

Ernst: Yes sure, I would have gone lost without you.

What advice would you give to someone struggling to come out?

Ernst: First of all try and accept yourself as a gay individual. This is your nature and you can’t change it. When you start to accept this fact, as part of yourself, then you can also start talking to a close friend, girl or boy, about your difference of the majority and you then can go on opening yourself slowly. Coming out is not done at once, it ’s a long process, and it’s always going in as well, accepting yourself, and then you can go out again. This is a long process. But once you have finished really to get through, you accept yourself, and you are accepted by the others, then you are a ripe personality and you are further with lots of things than many of your colleagues who had not to do this process.

Robi: I’m very happy I am gay, it’s perfect for me.

Ernst: I couldn’t imagine myself being hetero, the whole life would have been different. And I’m sure it would have been much more dull.”

The movie, The Circle was made about Robi and Ernst lives. Robi and Ernst were the first couple to have their registered partnership legally recognized in Zurich.

Philipp, Systems Engineer, Zurich, Switzerland

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Philipp, in his own words: “Schwul zu sein heisst für mich, dass ich erkennbar anders bin. Ich bin Teil einer Gruppe, die potentiell Ächtung, Diskriminierung und Verfolgung ausgesetzt ist. Gleichzeitig gibt mir Homosexualität – vielleicht gerade dadurch – eine besondere Perspektive: ich nehme die Vorgänge z.B. in Russland und Ägypten mit Sorge zur Kenntnis, auch wenn sie mir nicht täglich durch die Medien in Erinnerung gerufen werden.

Und, meine ganz persönliche Meinung, Homosexualität erlaubt es mir, freier zu sein. Niemand erwartet z.B. von mir, dass ich eine Familie gründe. Und ohne diesen unterschwelligen Druck, ohne diesen normativen Zwang, so habe ich den Eindruck, kann ich mein Leben freier leben. Gleichzeitig bin ich mir aber auch wieder bewusst, dass Homosexuellen in vielen Ländern diese Freiheit noch immer verwehrt ist.

Wenn ich über mein Coming Out nachdenke, war mein „inneres Coming Out“ wohl meine grösste Herausforderung – und mein grösster Erfolg. Es war sehr schwierig für mich, meine Homosexualität zu akzeptieren. Ich habe sehr viel Zeit und Energie damit verschwendet, meine Homosexualität zu ignorieren, zu verdrängen und zu verstecken – bis ich mir dann eingestehen konnte, dass ich schwul bin (auch wenn meine Eltern und Familie nie irgendwelche Andeutungen gemacht haben, dass dies ein Problem wäre).
Mein „inneres Coming Out“ und später bei meiner Familie war dann auch ein Befreiungsschlag. Es mag wie ein Klischee klingen, aber jetzt, wo ich mich nicht mehr verstecken muss, fühle ich mich frei und kann all die Zeit und Energie, die ich früher aufgewendet habe um mich zu verstecken, sinnvoller einsetzen.

Mein eigentliches Coming Out war sehr einfach, aber der Weg dorthin war steinig. Wenn ich zurück denke, dann fühlte ich mich noch nie zum anderen Geschlecht hingezogen. Es hätte mir auffallen können, als sich in der Schule die ersten Jungs mit Mädchen anbändelten. Ich für meinen Teil… interessierte mich nicht dafür. Warum auch? Die 80er Jahre waren das „goldene Zeitalter“ der Computertechnik, die Zeit des Atari 800, des Commodore C64, der ersten IBM PCs. Ich fand das alles viel spannender…

Irgendwann fiel dann im Biologie-Unterricht das Wort „Homosexualität“ und mir fiel auf, dass ich Jungs attraktiver fand als Mädchen. Ich versuchte mich über das Thema zu informieren. Ohne Internet war meine erste Informationsquelle ein alter medizinischer Brockhaus, in dem Homosexualität noch als psychische Störung beschrieben wurde. Ich wusste noch nicht genau, was mit mir los war – aber ich war mir sicher, dass ich nicht geistig krank war.

Viel später, ich war bereits aus dem Elternhaus ausgezogen, geschah es dann und ich hatte meine erste Beziehung mit einem Mann – und es traf mich wie ein Schlag. Nach ein paar erfolglosen Beziehungen mit Frauen war da jemand, für den ich wirklich Gefühle hatte. Und das hiess wohl: ich bin tatsächlich schwul. Die Implikationen, so schien es mir, waren gewaltig: ich war schwul. Ich war anders. Ich müsste es meinen Eltern, meiner Schwester, meinem Schwager sagen. Ich würde keine Familie gründen.

Letzteres wog besonders schwer: nachdem meine Schwester und ihr Mann sich entschlossen hatten, keine Kinder zu haben, fühlte ich mich, als läge es an mir, die Familienlinie weiter zu führen. Dass ich keine Familie gründen würde und die „Blutlinie“ mit mir enden würde, machte mir sehr schwer zu schaffen und machte es mir extrem schwierig, meine Homosexualität zu akzeptieren. (Ich möchte hier noch einwerfen, dass meine Eltern und Familie nie eine Andeutung machten, dass sie mich als schwulen Sohn nicht akzeptieren würden – oder dass sie Kinder von mir erwarteten. Ich habe mir diesen Druck ausschliesslich selbst auferlegt.)

Es zogen etwa zwei Jahre ins Land, bis ich meine Zweifel abgeschüttelt hatte und bereit war, mich bei meinen Eltern zu orten. Allerdings wurde mein Vater in dieser Zeit plötzlich schwer krank – und verstarb bedauerlicher Weise bald darauf. Ich hatte das Gefühl, dass meine Mutter nun eher Unterstützung von mir brauchte, als dass ich sie nun zusätzlich belaste.
Es dauerte dann nochmals etwa zwei Jahre, bis ich mich dann bei ihr outen konnte: Ich reiste anlässlich der Europride 2012 nach Warschau und ich hielt es für richtig, ihr zu sagen, warum ich nach Warschau reiste – und dass ich schwul sei. Ihre erste Reaktion war ein fast schon klischeehaftes: „Oh, dann habe ich wohl keine Enkelkinder“. Die zweite Reaktion war das mindestens ebenso typische „Ach, aber das habe ich doch schon lange vermutet!“
Ich denke, sie tat sich anfangs schon noch etwas schwer damit und das Thema war ihr, wohl aus einer Unsicherheit, wie sie damit umgehen sollte, etwas unangenehm. Das alles änderte sich aber schlagartig, als sie und meine Schwester meinen Freund kennen lernten: beide schlossen ihn sofort ins Herz und ich glaube, meine Mom ist – wie alle Eltern – einfach nur froh, dass ihr Kind glücklich ist.

Ja, ich habe eine einzige negative Reaktion erlebt: meine Schwester beklagte sich, nachdem sich meine Mom am Telefon mit ihr verplappert hatte, warum ich es ihr nicht sofort gesagt hätte…

Zur schwulen Szene in Zürich kann ich nicht viel sagen, da ich mich kaum in Szenelokalen aufhalte. Ich habe einige schwule Freunde, engere und losere, die ich als sehr herzlich, aufgeschlossen und wichtig für mich beschreiben würde.

Welchen Rat würde ich meinem jungen Ich geben?
Mach’ Dir keine Sorgen – alles wird gut!”

Philipp, in his own words:“Being gay for me means, being recognizable as „different“. I am part of a minority, which is prone to discrimination, ostracism and persecution. At the same time, homosexuality gives me a different perspective: I am worried about what is happening e.g. in Russia and Egypt – even if the mass media do not remind me every day.

And – in my very personal opinion – homosexuality allows me to be free. Nobody expects me to start a family and have children. Without this subliminal pressure, without this normative restraint, I feel that I have free rein to do with my life what I feel is „right“. Never the less, I am aware that homosexuals in many countries are still deprived of this basic freedom.

When I think about coming out, I think my „inner coming-out“ was my biggest challenge – and my biggest success. It was exceptionally difficult at first, to accept my homosexuality and I have spent an awful lot of time and energy, trying to ignoring, hiding and blocking it out until I could accept the fact, that I was gay (even if neither my parents nor my family ever indicated in any way that this would be a problem).

My „inner coming-out“ and later on, coming out to my family, was a „coup de liberation“ for me. I know it may sound like a cliché, but as I now do not need to hide any more, I feel free. And I am able to make constructive use of all the time and energy I spent trying to hide.

My actual coming out was easy, but it was a bumpy road getting there. When I try to remember, I have to say I was never really attracted to the opposite sex. I could have noticed when the first boys started to have crushes on girls. Me… I did not. And why should I? The 80s were the „golden age“ of information technology. It was the time of the Atari 800, the Commodore C64, the first IBM PCs. The IT revolution seemed much more interesting than girls…

At one point, the term „homosexuality“ was mentioned in biology class and I suddenly noticed I liked boys more than girls. I tried to gather some knowledge, but without the internet, my only source of information was an aged medical encyclopedia, which still listed homosexuality as a „mental disorder“. I still did not quite know what was up with me – but I knew for sure I was not mentally ill.

A few years later, after I moved out from my parents, it suddenly happened: I had my first „relationship“ with a man – and it hit me like lightning. After a few (unsuccessful) relationships with women, there suddenly was someone whom I actually had feelings for. It was clear, what that meant: I was actually gay. The implications seemed unbearable: I was gay. I was different. I would have to tell my parent, my sister, my brother-in-law. And I would not have children.

The latter seemed most severe: after my sister and her husband decided not to have kids, I felt it was my duty to carry on the family line. The fact that I would not start a family and the „bloodline“ would end with me, made it extremely difficult for me to accept my homosexuality. (at this point, I would like to note that neither my parents nor my family ever indicated they would expect kids from me – or that they would not accept me being gay. It was all just in my head).

Another two years passed until I was finally ready to come out to my parents. Sadly, my father fell terminally ill and passed away shortly after during that time and I felt that my mother needed my support much more that she needed me to come out to her.

It took another two years until I could finally come out to her. I was traveling to the Europride 2012 in Warsaw and it seemed right to tell her the truth about the trip – and that I was gay. Her first reaction was an almost stereotypical „Oh, guess there won’t be grandchildren then…“. And her second statement was an almost equally typical „Well, you know, I always suspected…“

I think she still had some trouble adjusting to the fact and – I assume because she did not quite know how to handle the situation – got a bit insecure whenever the topic came up. But it all changed when she and my sister got to know my partner: they both immediately took him into their hearts and I think my mom is – just like every parent – just glad that her kid is happy.

Did I get any adverse reaction? Yes, but only one, from my sister: after my mom accidentally mentioned to my sister, that I was gay, she called me and complained that I did not tell her earlier…

I cannot say much about the gay scene in Zurich, as I seldom frequent the usual „scene bars“. I have a couple of gay friends, some close, some less, all of which I would describe as kindhearted, open and dear to me.

(Advice to my younger self) Don’t worry – it will all be well!”