Homosexuality was accepted in prehistoric times
Homosexual from Zug hid "I've prayed for years that I would be straight"
For a long time he hid an essential part of his personality: his homosexuality. Only about seven years ago, the now 46-year-old Matthias Ebneter came out. Although he already noticed in puberty that he was more attracted to men.
"I wasted the best 20 years of my life trying to be heterosexual and appearing that way on the outside," says Matthias today. He denied his sexual identity, forced himself into heterosexual norms.
The gay, "the bad man"
Matthias grew up in a Catholic village in Switzerland. Back then, homosexuality was "consistently viewed as abnormal and something bad". Gays were considered “perverted or pedophile”, as Matthias says.
"I have disappointed a lot of people."
There were bad village rumors. «When I was a child there was talk of a gay person in our village. It was said that he wanted to seduce children. We were warned about him: He was a bad man and we should stay away from him », says Matthias. He was just ten years old at the time.
That shaped him. He grew up with the fact that homosexuality was something frowned upon, even something bad. "I've been praying for years that I would get straight and have a girlfriend."
Met like-minded people abroad
Matthias had relationships with women. But it never felt right. "I have disappointed a lot of people," he says today. "Because I had to act out something that I wasn't myself."
He was able to stand by his sexuality for the first time when he went abroad as part of his studies when he was almost 30 years old. Nobody knew him. He approached gay men openly and met like-minded people. He learned that homosexuality is not a bad thing, that there are people who live homosexuality openly and are accepted by families and friends. And that nobody should be excluded from society because of their sexual orientation.
During this time Matthias was really in love for the first time, he had his first sexual experiences. At a time when many of his friends were already married.
Back in Switzerland: not outed for another 10 years
Back in Switzerland, however, Matthias no longer showed his homosexuality and lived it in silence. He still stayed silent when he had to listen to rude jokes about gay men so he wouldn't have to come out.
"My outing allowed me to break out of years of prison and take off my straight mask."
Over the years, however, the desire for a permanent partnership solidified. Matthias got to know his current partner, with whom he has been together for almost ten years. He and his partner decided to officially register the partnership. That was the moment when Matthias gathered all the courage to come out and stand by his sexuality. First with good friends and family, then at work, where he had to announce the registration of the partnership for the regulation of the pension fund, among other things.
"It was an enormous relief for me," says Matthias. But even then it wasn't easy. "Many reacted with incomprehension and turned away." He doesn't regret his decision - even if the behavior of others hurt him. "After all, my outing allowed me to break out of years of imprisonment, to be myself and to take off my straight mask."
Kisses advertise the extended penal norm
Numerous pink posters are currently promoting the “Yes to protection against hatred”. Public calls for hatred, humiliation and discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals are not punishable in Switzerland. On February 9, the Swiss population will vote on whether that should change.
Actions took place such as the “Sweet Kisses” campaign in front of Zug's Läderach (Zentralplus reported). In Lucerne, too, around 40 people set a sign of same-sex love with kisses and hugs at a Lucerne Juso campaign:
Article of the law should lead to more acceptance
The vote is important to Matthias. He is also committed to the acceptance of LGBTIQ people. Private and professional. Today he works for the legal department of a global company, where he is also responsible for diversity and, in particular, LGBTIQ issues in Switzerland.
Opponents say the expansion will not protect against discrimination, hatred and hate speech. Nobody changes his worldview because of it.
"I find it almost tragic that you have to study for a long time whether you should accept or reject the enlargement."
Incomprehensible to Matthias. “I find it almost tragic that you have to study for a long time whether you should accept or reject the enlargement. Because nobody can find discrimination, hatred and degradation in order. " A yes would not necessarily lead to more court cases, he says too. "But the legal consequences are not in the foreground for me either."
It is important for the Swiss population to think about whether homosexual or bisexuality can be publicly “condemned” - or not. «The law article will create more acceptance for homosexuals and bisexuals. It is a clear statement: namely, that the majority of society says that they will no longer tolerate crude slogans, hatred and discrimination based on sexual orientation. "
Matthias fears that if they say no to the submission, opponents will be encouraged in their behavior - and will continue to express themselves homophobically, want to chase gays to the devil and publicly propagate that "gays should be treated".
A fatal sign, says Matthias. Just now. Because after the brutal attacks on gays in Zurich's nightlife, many homosexuals are unsettled. Gays wonder how much they can show of themselves in public. Whether they can still show that they love their partner. Other gays let go of their partner's hand at night because they have a queasy feeling (Zentralplus reported).
"Nobody should hide because of their sexual orientation, as I still had to do," says Matthias.
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