Sharing moments Young adults Bye bye Hotel Mum How you feel at home Semester abroad Language course abroad or work as an au pair? Be prepared for military training Grassrooted Pack smarter, travel better Make an impression Contraception Vegan diet Bye bye Hotel Mum – hello shared flat Big trip, small budget Finanzielle Vorsorge Planning a family Tracking fertility The right time? How men can help Fertility and diet Medical check-up What you need to know about ovulation What to do if you don’t conceive straight away Three electronic fertility and cycle trackers in comparison Planning a family and partnership Pregnancy Examinations during pregnancy Diet and nutrition Is my pregnancy progressing normally? Tips for daily life Important points for travel and holidays Is my pregnancy progressing normally? What items do I need for my baby? Where and how do I want to give birth? What do I need to pack for the hospital? How should I prepare my home for my child? Is my pregnancy progressing normally? How can I best prepare for my baby? How can I best prepare for the birth? Nutrition Parent-child relationship Preparing for breastfeeding | Sanitas Magazine Insurance Stretch marks Sleep Rupture of membranes Baby blues High-risk pregnancy Braxton Hicks & false labour Formalitites Morning sickness Family rooms Our baby Bathing baby – what you need to know How babies hear Infant first-aid kit Baby care Is my baby developing normally? Month-to-month overview of baby development Is my baby developing normally? Month-to-month overview of baby development Baby care Breastfeeding When does a baby start eating? Celebrating and enjoyment Christmas and New Year’s Eve with a twist A philosophical take on pleasure Pleasure can also be found in the soup kitchen in Zurich Tips for a peaceful and stress-free Christmas Living better with cardiac insufficiency Alejandro Iglesias Hana Disch Patrizio Orlando Vaccinations and travel first-aid kit Hay fever Everyday help In pursuit of happiness Seven tips for a happier daily life Kids in lockdown Online addiction Heart attack symptoms in women Be active Active during pregnancy Sport and exercise during pregnancy Antenatal exercise classes Standing properly Healthy eating Green smoothies Vitamin D Good eggs, bad eggs Diet plan Healthy fats Feed your muscles How much sugar should we eat a day? How much fat should we eat a day? Lactose intolerance Healthy diet, strong immune system Low Carb E-numbers and other additives in food Personalised diet Healthy heart Interview with Christophe Wyss Heart-friendly sports How the mind affects the heart Taking blood pressure correctly High blood pressure: what you need to know Healthy teeth Home remedies: relief for sore gums Changing habits Interview Stortpsychologie 10-step guide to changing habits Try, try, try again Fitnessmotivation Running coaching Running ABC Race in Sarnen Factors affecting condition Weekly planner Running shoes Strengthening exercises Running nutrition Complementary sport Warm-up Stretching Functional clothing Fitness tracker Shopping – sportswear Running tips for women Relaxation technique Recovery New lease of life thanks to Sanitas running coaching Running training The first half marathon Training and heart rate Running Ticks Sport after childbirth Postnatal exercise Taking the strain off your shoulders Kangatraining Workout while walking Expert tips Stress and relaxation Moving air Fight stress with yoga What is stress Learn how to relax Dealing with stress What is burnout? “The first step was to create boundaries” Juggling family and a career Reduce stress Stressor factors The most beautiful Swiss saunas Sweating in the sauna Breathing exercises for relaxation The right rest & recovery: debunking myths Mindfulness Sleep Trend sports Fitness boxing Slackline Bouldering Fascia training Stand Up Paddling Keeping fit efficiently Swing with a smile! Vertical workout Hiking Altitude sickness Seven stroller-friendly hikes Needed: a hiking-friendly pushchair There goes the other sole! Tips on hiking with a baby Mountain lakes Planning a family: Fertility and exercise Stair climbing Pumptrack Kids’ back Back exercises Sitting properly at work Forest fun Playing for life Promoting health and fitness Motivation Sledging Curling glossary What do you get if you cross a kite with snow? Snowshoeing Preventing falls Inline skating Swimming Swimming Wings for Life Stretching Bike tips Stretching exercises for cyclists koerper-und-kaelte Healthy teeth thanks to dental hygiene and preventive care Putting wishes into practice Tips for healthy teeth Hometraining Investigating teeth-related myths 10 tips to ease anxiety Hand care How our body regenerates Bauchübungen Keeping fit on holiday Swim training aids Wie viel Sport ist gesund Gathering mushrooms – the right way | Sanitas Magazine Check-ups Dehnübungen in fünf Minuten Gehirntraining Rückenschmerzen Living together today Digital life Online addiction Digital temptation Children and digital media Smartphone neck Our brains love habit Change my habits? You’re joking! Planning a family: Difficulties trying to have a baby Planning a family: Myth vs fact Solidarity study Newcomers Living together tomorrow Digital nomads Giesserei multi-generation house The blind film director Help instead of rent Working on the move Medical practices of the future Our skin – layer by layer Generational discussion: wishes for life Hausarzt und Corona Safe return to work Corona crisis: singing together Corona crisis: Working in intensive care Corona crisis: working in a nursing home Rest and recovery: learning from children Corona crisis: voluntary work for the needy Second opinion Relationships and children Gute Nacht! Drei Fragen, die uns den Schlaf rauben Outing The nature of lying Vorsorge Gute Gesundheitsinformation im Internet Developments for the future App check Aqualert SRC blood donor Codecheck Forest Freedom Freeletics Moment Three sleep apps reviewed PeakFinder Findery Six fitness apps reviewed Internet use High-tech trousers Prostheses Hospital of the future New skin for burns victims Online-Therapien How drugs are developed Generics Sanitas newsletter

“By coming out, I was finally able to live my life as I wanted.”

For people who don’t meet society’s “norms”, showing the world who you really are can be a gruelling experience. As a gay man himself who gives advice on the “du-bist-du” LGBT platform, Dominik Steinacher knows from personal experience that even today, coming out is one of the biggest issues for young gay people.

Interview: Katharina Rilling; Photos: Karin Heer

Dominik, when did you notice that you were attracted to boys?

From an early age, when I was about eleven. But I didn’t really want to accept it, and I needed a good five years to come out. I grew up in a very rural area. Homosexuality was taboo and no one really talked about it. I first told myself my feelings were just a phase and that I would grow out of it. I got along with girls fine, but I could only fall in love with boys. As these feelings grew stronger, I started to worry. Why me? What will my friends and family think? I couldn’t stop thinking about questions like these.

You struggled with these questions for five years. What finally prompted you to come out?

There wasn’t a particular trigger. But when you’ve been carrying a secret around with you for so long, at some point the pressure just gets too much to handle. And at 16, I was slowly wanting to get to know other gay men without having to lead a double life. My mum was the first person I told. I wrote her a letter and put it in her make-up drawer. I was totally overwhelmed and couldn’t have said it to her face. After quite a long time – I still don’t know whether she needed the time for herself or only found the letter later – she asked me about it.

“Many people say they’ve got nothing against people being gay. But how is it when your son is homosexual?”

How did she react?

Positively. I didn’t really expect anything else to be honest, but I still found it really hard. That moment when you say it out loud and it suddenly becomes reality:  then it’s out, and you can’t take it back. And there’s always an uncertainty: many people say they’ve got nothing against people being gay. But how is it when your son is homosexual? And then there are the inhibitions about love and sexuality you have as a teenager anyway. As a gay teenager, you have to talk to your parents about it at some stage. You can’t simply turn up at home with a partner without getting funny looks. But it’s not easy to stand there and say: Hey mum and dad, I’m gay.

When did your dad find out?

I was eating with my family. My brother and I were texting under the table about who we fancied. When I wrote a boy’s name, he was shocked, but only for a minute. And then I immediately told my dad. He needed a bit of space for a few days, because he was overwhelmed by the news. But he soon came round.

What’s the most difficult thing about coming out?

For me, it was accepting myself. It really helped me to talk to other gay people and to realise that I wasn’t alone and didn’t have to feel ashamed. On the contrary: It’s completely normal and a beautiful thing! There are so many amazing and open people who’ve been through the same thing. I was lucky, because my friends and family took it well. Not all people are so fortunate. Many people live in fear of being rejected or beaten up when they come out (see box below). Or they’re teased and bullied.

“People around me have become more sensitive.”

How did you feel after coming out? Did you encounter any hurtful comments?

More than anything I was very relieved. People around me have become more sensitive. When I was 15, I was hurt when my father made homophobic jokes. Time and again, friends or acquaintances would make homophobic remarks without even thinking about it. That changed when I came out. I also found gay friends. I was able to meet them and openly acknowledge these friendships. And suddenly I could talk about boys with my female friends, and that was cool. Of course, there was gossip and one religious friend didn’t want to see me any more. But by coming out, I was finally able to live my life as I wanted. That’s really precious.

Does it get easier over time to come out?

Definitely. The more often you tell people, the easier it gets. I didn’t really have any problems in school. I handled my coming out there relatively self-confidently, so bullies didn’t really have a chance to make fun of me. By the way, you don’t only come out once: it’s something you have to do all your life, for example whenever you meet someone or start a new job. It’s always a topic.

“Don’t put pressure on yourself. Wait for the right moment.”

Do you have any tips for anyone who wants to come out?

Most importantly: don’t put yourself under pressure. Wait for the right moment. You don’t need to come out to everyone right away. You can do so, for example, by giving a presentation on the topic at school. But I would advise you to start with people you trust. It helps if you have a friend who always supports you. And remember that you don’t owe anyone anything. If you prefer to come out by text message – then do it. It’s fine. Once you’ve come out for the first time and had a positive experience, it gets easier and easier. I’ve found that the more casually you address the topic with friends and family, the less of a problem it is for the other person. Another tip is to get to know people from the community and talk!

Where to find information, advice and protection

  • The du-bist-du.ch site provides anonymous and free advice for all LGBT+ issues. For example, you can find information on coming out (German only): https://du-bist-du.ch/infopool/coming-out/
  • The Schlupfhuus shelter in Zuich offers immediate and safe temporary accommodation. Its services are available to young people from other cantons, too. The Schlupfhuus hotline is open 24/7 on 043 268 22 66. If Zurich is too far away, they’ll search for other accommodation for you.
  • The LGBT+ helpline provides help and advice if you suffer homophobic or transphobic abuse.
  • Risk of suicide: In urgent cases, professional counsellors are available to talk or offer support in crisis situations at any time under the number 147 (only in German). The support is anonymous and free of charge.