When I was a boy, I was obsessed with space, the origin of the universe, „where did everything begin?“. Nothing is more human than thinking about its origins. As a growing child, pondering the secrets of the universe ran deep. The first attempts at painting often showed pictures of the sun and moon – which of course looked particularly friendly, with smiling faces. At the same time I asked myself: Why is the sky blue? Why do stars only shine in the night and why does the moon shine?

As time passed and me growing up, I realized that we all come from one single moment, one concentrated energy. Everything what surrounds us, the trees, the air be breathe, the people we love, their well balanced density of their neutrons, protons and electrons, the annoying crying child next to us on the plane, viruses and bacteria or the galaxies far away are a result of the same one moment, the same start. That the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. Keeping that in mind gives a wider perspective what defines us. We are all connected, everything started as a balance. 

My mother always taught me to be strong and to never be a victim. Never make excuses. Never expect anyone else to provide for me, things I know that I can provide for myself. That I should show kindness in another’s trouble, and courage in my own. Courage is the most important of all the moral principles, without courage you can’t practice any other virtue steadily. That happiness comes from myself and that I don’t have to speak a certain way to be brilliant. But what I never learned is to speak about my feelings, my insecurities, my flaws. This I had to learn by the years and I keep on learning. That therefore  you can grow with another person and say:  “I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.”

When I came to Berlin 12 years ago, the SchwuZ, at that time still on Mehringdamm, was the first queer place that I consciously noticed. (At that time I didn’t even know what “queer” meant.) I was the indie-pop boy from a small town and for the first time I heard my favorite bands in a gay club. I was in wonderland, far from gay self-hate and unfulfilled expectations. One evening, as so often, I went to “London Calling”, through the bar “Melitta Sundström”, down the stairs to the club and suddenly there was Jacky-Oh Weinhaus, without make-up and at that time not yet Weinhaus. The school friend I’ve lost sight of. I connect SchwuZ with regained friendship, unconditional love, with “know your history”, with consuming dance-mad excesses, chain smoking with the transvestites in the backstage and the question “Is there still champagne?”.

Today we have to ask ourselves: “Where have we been and where will we be? What remains when the clubs reopen?”. Without SchwuZ, I would probably not be who I am today. For me it was and is still a defining place for the queer Berlin. Or to put it in the words of Jerry Herman: “I am what I am, I am my own special creation. So come take a look, give me the hook or the ovation. It’s my world that I want to have a little pride in. My world and it’s not a place I have to hide in. Life’s not worth a damn ’til you can say “Hey world! I am what I am ”.