Dr. Dezso Mate


Dr Dezso Mate is 37 years old and identifies queer. 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 LGBTQ+ 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 generations from the 1960s to the present, 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. He just wanted to live his life. For Dezso, being Romani and gay makes him feel, he is one of a kind and he is proud of it.


Dezso’s parents passed away at his early age, so he didnt experience a coming out with them. His mother knew that he is gay though – every time Dezso asked about something considered as girly, his mother always bought it for him without any hesitation or questions. Dezso assumes his dad would not have the same approach as his mother, but he had never had a chance to discuss it with him.


Dezso’s older sister knew that he is gay, but she was happy when he told her himself, since she felt they are building stronger trust. If you are open to your family members, it also means that you are honest with yourself. He also claimed himself being a gay in front of his brothers. They accepted him, but with some question marks. They are not making fun of him, they are not making queerphobic jokes, but they are afraid to ask him about his identity.


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 LGBTQ+ people sometimes behave as they think that they should behave in front of their community or majority. Therefore, in Romani communities, they don’t talk about LGBTQ+ topics, since they don't see it as something common.


Dezso’s message to the younger generation is to not be afraid to 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 who they are. It is a huge power and privilege to have the encouragement to come out as Romani and queer because once they do it anything is possible.