When you think about your future, what do you see? How far ahead are you thinking? Who will you be with? What needs to be taken care of? Who will take care of you? Where will you live? These questions are pretty advanced in our society.
How about not being out though? One would think it is easy these days outing yourself in a progressed country such as Germany, the UK, or even Sweden. In Germany, up until 1994 homosexuality was punishable by law, §175 and §175a. Yes, the law has been lifted but what about the consequences for people being persecuted by it while it was in effect? What I mean to say is; there is a generation out there that has been implemented with the thought of “acting wrongly and living sinfully”.
Silver Rainbow wants to change this attitude. Just last month we spoke with contemporary witnesses from Germany who have been in prison and have paid fines just for a consensual physical act with another person. It took them decades to get over the fear of social damage, the guilt of wrong doing, and most recently; even to be reimbursed monetarily for what has happened to them.
I recently met Klaus, who told me of a young inexperienced boy who was scared to death. The uncertainty of his sexuality and the fears of being exposed and publicly humiliated were the worst for him.
To all those young people out there living their dream and dealing with the occasional heartbreak, do me the favor and be thankful for just one minute each day for what you have in life.
Bullying and ganging up in school, at work or in public is not okay. But think of black people who were, and still even to this day are, persecuted and treated differently. Now imagine that being done to you. No one sees my sexuality when he or she looks at me, but that doesn’t mean I am protected from hate and wrong doing.
Klaus needed many years to come to term with his lifestyle and the way he loves. Even today it is hard for him to walk down the street holding hands with his man. His shame of being who he wants the be is still rooted deeply within him, forcing him into a behavior he doesn’t understand but can’t help to change. Step by step, and little by little he comes out to prides, goes shopping with his husband and meets his queer friends.
Even though some might not feel like celebrating their sexuality in public, it is essential for us to create a visible space for each and everyone who decides to join our community. The words ‘just be who you want to be’ are more easily said than lived by.
I want to challenge you: Reflect your behavior, and look for comments, gestures or thoughts, that make you question ‘why’ someone behaves the way he or she does. Then ask yourself; do I have the right ask them why?
In German I try to avoid this question because it implies justification for an action or an opinion. Maybe should instead be asking; how did your thoughts come about? Where does the opinion come from? And more over, stop interpreting others. We often think we know what others feel, think of, or act upon when in fact we don’t. Most important though; ask, be interested in each other. People love to talk about themselves so let them and listen carefully.
Well, I strayed a little… But isn’t this blog about me putting my thoughts into writing? There you have it; a 60-year-old man teaching me valuable lessons about committing to someone else, and helping me understand how much of an impact certain statements have. Consider long-term consequence before you speak or act. Some things can’t be taken back or reimbursed by money.
As usual: Call your grandparents, drink a glass of water and please stop using plastic.