It wasn’t easy for my German grandparents to get married. He was a Catholic, she was a Protestant. Seventy years ago this was a real problem, and his family didn’t approve.
My father was from Ghana, and my mother is from a small Bavarian town. She is white, he was black. Thirty years ago this was still a major problem. After my German grandfather had learned about their relationship he did not talk one single word to my mother — until the day he died. He has never seen his grandson.
I came out as gay when I was 18 years old, which still wasn’t easy in Germany in 2003. My mother hugged me and said: “I have learned from the history of my parents. You are my son, no matter what happens. And the most important thing is that you are happy.“
Belonging to a minority isn’t easy. Not even in Germany, a tolerant country compared to most other countries in the world: The majority of Germans support “gay marriage“, some 90 percent wouldn’t mind if Jérôme Boateng (a German football player with Ghanaian origin) was their neighbor. I consider myself well integrated, and yet I sometimes feel strange or misunderstood — for example, when someone talks to me in English just because of the color of my skin. Or when someone yells „Get outta here!“ to my face — in Frankfurt downtown, and I know that he means all people who do not look German.
No, belonging to a minority isn’t easy. If you, as a man, hold hands with another man, or, as a woman, hold hands with another woman, you still are in need of a thick skin. In many African and Asian countries homosexuality is severely punished, sometimes by death. Homophobia is extremely common, especially in many forms of Islam.
It is important that the LGBT community defends the progress it has fought for over the past decades. And it is imperative that we defend our democratic values — especially when lots of people with differing values come to our country.
However, it is not okay that parts of the LGBT community recently make islamophobic comments, that they parrot populists’ slogans and that they obviously agitate against other minorities. It is not okay that they spread hatred against Muslims and put them under general suspicion.
Belonging to a minority isn’t easy. But the right way to handle it is fighting for your own values. It is plain contemptible to compensate for your egotism, your frustration, your fear by publicly spreading hatred against other minorities.
Dear LGBT community, I only ask you for one thing: Don’t vote for these people!