Welcome to day six of our ten day feature – Everybody has a Story.
Our sixth entry come from German born Tristan. Here’s his story…
- Firstly, how old are you and what do you do for a living?
I’m 29, currently living and working in Berlin in sales for a small business based in Schöneberg (a district of Berlin). Although quite often I model, I’ve done few ad campaigns.
- Please can you give us a brief background about your life?
Around the time I was born there was great unrest in Germany. Subsequently, shortly after I was born the state, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), removed me from my mother believing I should be bought up in a ‘loyal’ family. She ended up going to court as she didn’t wish to give me up, she lost her case. But this wasn’t unusual at the time.
(While all this was going on, the GDR were unaware that my mother was Jewish because after the second world war the few Jews left weren’t really in communities anymore).
I was eventually put with a family. However, I wasn’t aware that I was adopted until I was nine years old. I did have a feeling though to be honest, as I always felt different to them. It wasn’t until I spied on their documents cabinet, which of course gave me proof, that I then knew for certain.
After that, living there was a nightmare!
In the end I ended up going in to a children’s home due to the domestic violence I received from my adoptive parents.
- When did you realise you were gay?
My first experience was with another boy in the home I knew, we just stated cuddling … We both liked it. Except the other boy always put his own finger in his butt. Since I was the older one I got into trouble. The school in the children’s home met with me one day to discuss how they were going to get rid of me. Subsequently, like that, I was moved to another home.
The final report that my new home got when I left the first home stated:
“Ill with a homosexually caused by pathological kindness and in need of urgent therapy which the opportunities to do so could not be provided by themselves.”
However, in the next children’s home things were so different. I had my first sexual experiences here. There were already some openly gay guys living there which made it a much happier place to be.
- When and how did you come out?
I remember well, there was this huge hassle in the home because another boy and I, got caught having ‘sexual contact’ before we were 16. But to be honest, I always felt more attracted to the male sex and felt comfortable enough in the second home to come out. It was relaxed and since this home was very open-minded towards homosexuality they supported me.
At the age of 18 I changed cities and moved to Berlin, here I began to find out everything about myself and where I came from. I was shocked about my past to be completely honest. I felt stolen from my entire Jewish heritage. Likewise, I also discovered any attempt to contact me by my own mother had been prevented by the state and its authorities at the time.
However, it’s now been 11 years since I made the move to Berlin, I’ve been in therapy over everything that built up over the years. Hopefully one day I will know where I came from and things might start to make a little more sense.
Although, today, I can say I am Jewish, gay man and am living a happy life!
- Have you ever experienced any discrimination due to your sexuality?
I’m unlucky in that respect, I’ve face a lot of discrimination in my life. Be it because I’m gay, got red hair or because I’m so pale. Even in the (first) home I felt discriminated against for how I was.
- If you could give your younger self, or anyone else currently struggling with their sexuality what (if any) advice could you give them?
Everyone always realises what’s really valuable to them so late on in life.
It is your life and you don’t need to justify it to anyone, for any reason. Don’t pay attention to what others say what you should be, but always look to yourself to see what makes you happy. You don’t get time back, so be as happy as you can possibly be.
Just be yourself and be just as tolerant to others.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Tristan for his help with this project and for his frank honesty.
If you’d like to keep up to date with Tristan, follow him on Instagram @tristanofficialginger