Mansur Seddiqzai works among other things as an Islamic teacher in the Ruhr area. Here he meets two teachers from his school days again. They lived gayly at Seddiqzai's school days, and unsettled him.
In my Islamic religious education, there are always two to three students per class who speak openly homophobic. Homosexuality is "pedophile", "sick" or "against God". They know all common clichés. Of course, many think: typical of a school with a high proportion of migrants.
Although the current Shell study also shows that adolescents whose families come from Muslim-influenced countries tend to reject homosexual couples in the neighborhood more often than those without a migration background. But homophobia is everywhere. At a high school with children, all of whom came from the upper German middle class, I experienced the same thing. "Bah, disgusting!" Commented a girl about the topic of homosexuality in my class. There were no protests in the classroom.
Homophobia among adolescents arises from their own sexual insecurity, the strong desire to be considered "normal" and not to be an outsider. This attitude is nevertheless hostile to mankind. And unfortunately she is no stranger to me. In my youth I thought and talked similarly. In elementary school we told gay jokes in the playground without understanding what being gay means. My parents never talked about it, probably because the topic of sexuality was generally taboo. Even in the majority society, homosexuality in the eighties was still considered a perversion for many people.
Then I went to a grammar school with a high percentage of migrants. We did not know homosexuals personally, they seemed as exotic as unicorns. But we were confronted with two teachers who lived openly gay. My classmates and I bullied these teachers.
Almost 25 years later, I sit excitedly opposite the two in a café in Cologne. Michael von Wyhl is now retired and looks back on a long teacher career. Reinhardt Millner * is still working as a Catholic religion teacher. He does not want to see his real name published because he does not know how the Archbishopric will respond.
While Millner looks a bit more casual with designer glasses and a polo shirt than I remember him, Wyhl's Birkenstock sandals and long hair are still my picture of the '68 teacher. Hair and beards are now gray, but both act as at that time at the same time relaxed and confident on me. They remember our behavior, but they do not remember it as particularly hostile. Just because they never had to pretend, they also have many nice memories of the time. Amazing for me.
Gay was an insult to me, not a description
Before I met the two after my change of school, I was told by my new classmates that I should be careful. There are two teachers who are "gay". The word was an insult to me and not a description, so I understood her murmurs as a warning against unfair, underhanded teachers.