What do I say to my daughter

Do you love another woman This question from his wife was the beginning of the end of his marriage, but also the beginning of his coming out. That night, sometime in 2004, while they were lying sleeplessly next to each other in bed after an argument, Matthias Wingerter confessed his confusion. Because the second question of his wife “Or are you gay?” He could only answer with “I don't know”. That night shook him. A move and a thyroid disease made him rethink his life. “My dilemma: I was the head of a Catholic educational institution. Neither a divorce nor an outing as a gay man are easy things there, ”he says. And the most important consideration for him: how do I tell my daughter? Anna-Lena, born in 1992, was twelve years old at the time. Matthias Wingerter had a particularly close bond with her since she was born.

At the end of these considerations, I went to a self-help group in Göttingen. They were called gay fathers. There he met his current friend - Matthias. Not only is the name the same, he is also the father of a daughter. It hit both of them like lightning, the emotions went on a roller coaster. But first some things had to be clarified before they could live this love. It was important for Matthias Wingerter and his wife to speak openly with their daughter. "On a summer day after going to the outdoor pool together, my wife hesitated to talk to me, but I wanted to go through with it," said the now 50-year-old. Anna-Lena's reaction to the news - we split up because I'm gay - was initially shocked, as expected, and she cried. The shock was quickly followed by understanding and a lot of questions. What's next now? Are we staying a family? Many evenings of conversation followed. His parents were also confused and shocked by the news. The mother quickly said, "You are our child, and we love you."

Initially, the teenager stayed with his mother in the shared apartment. But after she announced her move to her old home, Anna-Lena asked her father: May I move in with you? In one fell swoop, Matthias Wingerter became a single father, and her mother saw the girl every two weeks on the weekend. Were there issues between father and daughter for which he would have liked a woman's opinion? "We have always had a good bond, we were able to talk about everything," said the education officer. No matter whether it was lovesick or an argument with a girlfriend - all things were shared. "Every woman wants a gay best friend," he says with a smile today.

It was exciting for Anna-Lena to meet Matthias, her father's new boyfriend, for the first time. He lived in Halle an der Saale, and the two men had a long-distance relationship for seven years. They visited each other every weekend and whenever time allowed. “I fell in love over and over again every time,” enthuses Matthias Wingerter. Today they live together in Loschwitz and have kept this love.

The chemistry between daughter Anna-Lena and the new man in her father's life was also right, although at first she was unfamiliar with watching kisses between the two. “Our daughter grew up with two dads and a mom and their boyfriend - at some point it was completely normal for her.” Before telling her friends or partners about her father's love life, she was always a bit nervous and was afraid of someone negative reaction. Fortunately, that never happened, says Matthias Wingerter.

But he had to experience negative reactions himself at one point or another. "When we were walking through the street holding hands on vacation, a group of young people came towards us and spat on the floor in front of us," says Matthias Wingerter, who now works as a consultant for the Arbeitswohlfahrt at Schillerplatz. There are also more goofy looks when he shows himself with his partner in public.

To encourage other men to come out and stand by their sexuality, Matthias Wingerter founded the self-help group "Gay Fathers" three years ago. They meet once a month. "Many men live two lives for years, they do not want to lose their family and therefore stay in their marriages," he says. They get the sex somewhere else. The group should encourage them and give them space to talk about their problems and experiences. The gay fathers will be guests at an event organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation next week. Such a group helped him himself. And she brought him love. Matthias and Matthias will seal this love in 2018 and get married.

The next meeting of the "gay fathers" is on Thursday at 7.15 pm in Gerede eV. on Prießnitzstraße 18.

The event “And what do the children say?” Of “Thinking ahead - The Heinrich Böll Foundation” will take place on October 20 at 7 pm in the Villa Augustin literature house on Antonstr. 1 place.