Beginning of this year Thomas Hitzlsperger, a famous former football player from Germany came out as gay and generated intense media interest. In Germany, as in many other countries, soccer players have been very cautious about sharing information about their private life. Hitzlsperger came out in an interview with the newspaper ZEIT. In the conversation with Carolin Emcke he explains his secret and reasons why he wasn’t honest and open about his feelings for a long time.
DIE ZEIT: Mr. Hitzlsperger, you asked us for a conversation. Why?
Thomas: Hitzlsperger: I want to speak out about my homosexuality. I want to initiate a public discussion – the discussion about homosexual professional athletes. The topic is always stuck in stereotypes. Professional athletes always seem to be “disciplined”, “hard” and “hyper masculine.” Homosexuals on the contrary seem to be “touchy”, “weak” and “sensible.” It does not fit together. A homosexual professional athlete? Contradictions are being generated and I was always irritated by it. These contradictions are shared in pub talks as sensations.
It was fascinating to me, that Hitzlsperger chose an interview setting for his public outing. He shared the delicate news about his coming out not in a well-worded statement, but in a conversation. In the very first sentence of his interview he also shared about his anger on the impact of pub talk and bar level conversation about homosexuality. It seems, as if the silence about homosexuality but also the settings in which it is being discussed are telling.
Where is homosexuality discussed?
Where are setting in which a serious and fair conversation is possible?
And even more: where a conversation WITH and not ABOUT homosexuals is possible?
It seems as if homosexuals are scared to be honest. And it seems as if most of the
others are either scared to talk about too or that they are not interested in a honest conversation. They rather stick with their stereotypes.
‘Life is so full of amazing things.
I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest.’
(Robbie Rogers, soccer player)
It appears as if the solution to a new perception and approach to homosexuality lies in the way we talk about it and with whom.
In his book “Over Coffee,” Dave Thompson shares a coffee-house conversation between himself and a small-town pastor concerning a gay church member who desires to be partnered in the church.
„I am arguing the case for allowing two gay Christians, (…) who desire to live by the same standards as all other Christians, to be partnered together. This provides the means fort hem be able to keep God’s first commandment, that His creature should not be alone.“
(Dave Thompson – Over coffee. Kindle Electronic Edition. Location 244 of 752).
What I like about the book is, that Thompson enfolds different standpoints in his fictional book. He enters different worldviews, biblical standpoints and life experiences. And he connects this – sometimes even differing – opinions in a conversation over coffee. It is not about wrong or right, not about convincing or giving in. It is about a honest conversation. The conversation itself reveals a new approach.
I would deeply appreciate a second edition of the book. The case study “what to do about the homosexual, who wants to be partnered” could need a second edition. A conversation WITH the gay person. My experiece shows, that getting to know someone in real and drinking a coffee together helps more than reading a dozen of books and doing biblestudies.
We should have more conversations over coffee!
Who do you want to meet?