Jannette Flores


38 Years, Hamburg

“It is important to speak up and be a role model to young
people. I would love the next generation to be even more
progressive when it comes to diversity and inclusion. …”

Published: May 2022

Role Models

I grew up in a very Catholic Filipino family. Being a lesbian was not an option for us – on the contrary, my parents considered it a “punishment from God”.

On my way to coming out, there were a few role models in my life, starting with this one girl in high school during my exchange year in New Jersey. She played on my basketball team, was openly lesbian … and didn’t make a big deal about it. I always admired her strength and courage. She was an inspiration to me.

My older brother is gay, and I came out a few years after him. After my brother came out, my parents moved from Germany to California. I was 17 at the time, preparing for my final exams, had my circle of friends here, and decided to stay in Bonn.

Six years later, I told my father that I was in a very happy relationship with a woman. His response was: “This is God’s way of punishing me.” I was very disappointed with his reaction.

It took about 10 years for my parents to accept that my brother and I were homosexual.

When I got married, my parents didn’t come. Only when we had our two daughters my parents resumed contact. A few years later, my then wife Mareike and I decided to separate but continue to be good parents. Living with my new wife and explaining this to my parents felt to them like my second coming out, which destroyed their ideal world. Fortunately, this time it didn’t take 10 years for them to accept my decision.

Today, my parents get along very well with my brother’s and my partners. My wife Mina, the children and I live in Hamburg and have close contact with my ex-wife. I think it’s great to see what kind of development my traditional parents have made in the last few years.

Many people have helped me on my way to coming out. For example, my ex-wife Mareike, who taught me to be self-confident. She encouraged me to speak my mind and fight for things I believe in. My wife Mina, who encourages me to do all the things I truly believe in and loves me for who I am. My children who inspire me every day. It is important to speak your mind and be a role model for young people. I want the next generation to be even more progressive when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

My company allows me to be who I am. That influences my work. I couldn’t work for a company that forces me to hide who I am. Authenticity is the key.

Dear Jannette, Thank you very much for YourStory!