Dr. Dezso Mate

 
Dr Dezso Mate is 37 years old and identifies as Romani LGBTQI. Dezso is originally from Hungary, but now he lives in Essen, Germany. He is currently working as AiE Postdoc Fellowat Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (KWI). 

He is a social researcher and Roma LGBTQI activist, for his final PhD research topic Dezso chose: Being social resilience and the values of different Roma generations. “I was curious about the values of the different Roma generations from the 1960s to the present day, the emancipatory social movements they had developed in different eras and the forms of social activism present in their lives.” According to Dezso’s research, the movement of first-generation Roma intellectuals between the 60s and 80s was based on cultural emancipation. At that time, the goal for society was to recognize that the Roma were an equal part of society and that the community gained visibility through the fine arts.
 
Dezso was in the closet for many years, but his coming out helped him to build his self-confidence. He also did the coming out for himself, he didn’t care about the society around him, he just wanted to live a full life. For Dezso being Romani and at the same time being part of the LGBTQI makes him feel one of a kind and he is proud of it. 
 
Dezso’s parents passed away at his early age, so in that sense, he didn’t have the coming out to them, but his mother knew that he is gay – every time Dezso asked about something that seemed to be girly, his mother always bought it for him without any hesitation or questions. His father would have had more questions about it, but they never had the opportunity to discuss it.
 
Dezso’s older sister knew that he is gay, but she was happy when he told her because it is a form of trust within the family. If you are open to your family members, it also means that you are honest with yourself. He also had his coming out to his brothers, they accepted it but with some question marks. They are not making fun of him, they are not making homophobic jokes, but they are afraid to ask him about it. It is not their fault, because they grew up in a society where it was taboo to talk about it. 
 
Dezso explains that in our subconsciousness everybody who is in minority positions behave as they think that they should behave in front of the majority. Romani LGBTQI people sometimes behave as they think that they should behave in front of their or majority community. Therefore, in Romani communities, they don’t talk about LGBTQI topics, because they think that it is normal not to talk about them. There could be some Romani cultural patterns as well, but of course, it is different in every family, so every story is different.
 
Dezso’s message to the younger generation is to sometimes go against the flow, to be brave and resilient. They must be proud of themselves, and they mustn’t have to take care of what society thinks, because they have only one life, only one chance to be proud of what they are. It is a huge power and privilege to have the encouragement to come out as Romani LGBTQI because once they do it anything is possible in front of them.