Has the social change towards homosexuality had any personal effects on you or on how you deal with yourself in your private and professional life in relation to your sexual orientation?
I think I can't answer the question very well because I never, because I never had to live with aversion and stigma. Nothing has changed in my social environment. Because for them it has always been: love is love, and human is human. In my private as well as in my professional environment, that was never an issue. Everyone can do what they want, was always standard. That's why nothing really changed for me. I think if I had grown up in a different environment, the steps would have been more meaningful. But for me it was a fluid process.
Understandable. How specifically do you think you, as a doctor, are contributing to the equal treatment of LGBTQI * people in Germany?
(Laughter) Of course I'm the hero in this field. No, I think that everyone has a life worth living, everyone equally. And everyone is treated equally, no matter what problems or what sexuality, religion, color, whatever which ... diversity. It's just a variety, which is defining us. It just doesn't matter to me. I see a person in front of me who needs help. And he gets it. But if I notice that a person is crossing borders and restricting the freedom of others, then I say something. I use my position as a doctor and as a bit of an authority figure and try to intervene. I have no example specifically for LGBT, but I have an older gay man who has a problem with our junkies in our surgery. I intervene because his freedom ends where he restricts the freedom of others. Point. He doesn't have to cuddle with them. He doesn't have to sit on their lap with them either. But he has to accept them, as a patient and above all as a person who seeks help in my surgery. And then I intervene very strongly. I definitely say: if you don't like this, then you have to look for a surgery, where this is not the case. That sets a very clear edge, and I am also very clear in the definition of what I allow in my rooms. This is my kingdom, I have built it.
Does it often happen that patients complain to you in your surgery about the diversity of patients?
No. They are patients, they are selected. Patients who come to me would definitely not go to other doctors. And these ones, who go to others, would never come to me, because my type is just too different and also from the environment, from the clientele, that really selects itself out. That is quite amazing. I never believed that before, but in the old surgery there was still a certain clientele of patients, I knew exactly that they would go to one colleague and no other. That was very clear. You already knew from seeing that they were going to this specific doctor. And I think that's how we select it out too. That's why something like this happens, no question, but they'll never come back, that's why you didn't have this problem.
Very interesting. Okay, then we're almost at the end. I only have one question left and that is usually my favorite question: Do you have any advices for queer young people in Germany with regard to your personal life story?
The problem is that I'm quite old when it comes to gay life. And the time when I had to admit my homosexuality was completely different, 20 years have passed. At that time there aren´t any cell phones, a face-time conversation like the one we have, for God's sake, video telephony, I didn't even know that. Nowadays you can get and send dirty things with your cell phone. So the approaches to communication and for sexuality have become completely different. I mean, there used to be no internet with any porn sites, that's what young people use today at 14. So and that's why so much has changed. Here in Germany in big cities it is no longer a problem to say: hey, I'm gay or I'm lesbian. No, even in front of the family ... they live in the country and their girl is 15 and can say: No, I'm a boy now! And that is ... For the fact that it is a rural region, in your circle of friends, as far as I can tell, no problem at all. So I think the generation that is now in puberty or around 18, 19 no longer see this as a problem as much as we may have seen it or as the older generation may see, here in Germany and in certain regions. In the dark brown Saxony that is something else. But apart from that I can only say to everyone that it makes sense to be authentic, it just doesn't make any sense to lie to yourself because you are unhappy with it, because then you simply cannot live your life like that and you will never experience satisfaction, because you always have to hide something, always have to pretend somehow. It makes sense to talk to family members about it with people you trust and to know that you have a certain basis. I think that doesn't always work, but there is someone you can trust in the environment, otherwise it won't work. And for very desperate people, who of course there will be in youth, because you are simply not at peace with yourself.
Do you know what is much worse? It is much more problematic for trans-ident people, for whom there is an even stronger conflict with themselves. I can really only say that there is always a way out of this, trough therapy or youth groups and so one, whatever. But suicide is never the way out. Never. And here we have to encourage young people to stand by themselves, to communicate that and even if there will be setback, always: get up, straighten the crown, move on ...
Thank you very much, that is a simple and beautiful final sentence. The subject of suicide is a very terrible but also an important one. Unfortunately, in Russia this is a big problem among LGBTQI * youth, especially trans-youth.
Yes, it makes sense that this is an even bigger topic. We only get what is presented in the media. I don't even know what the reality is like in Russia. But, if that's really what I'm getting conveyed and these propaganda laws ... and when you see these people being mistreated on street demos, then I can very well imagine that you feel very bad and like a monster when you are now suddenly feels that there is something different in me. And if you then … also the stories about Chechnya, if everything is so true with the persecution ... If you then grow up in a family like that, where you know that you will be killed by the family if you say so. Well then in many cases suicide is the solution for many people. But it just isn't. Out of my sight. Of course I can understand people, but I think there is always another way.
I understand. Thank you. We have reached the end. I will stop recording at this point.
Interviewed by Alexander Charkov