As Mister Gay Hungary 2018, Oliver doesn't want to be seen just as "a pretty face". He hopes to use his platform to push for more rights and acceptance for LGBTQ people in Hungary.
Tell us about how and when you came out.
I was 24 years old when I realized that something didn’t feel right.
I was living with my girlfriend and we were an ordinary happy couple. I proposed to her and two months before the wedding I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had met a guy and realized that I felt attracted to him and I couldn’t explain why but it haunted me. Until one day I put the pieces together and had to admit that although I loved my girlfriend, I was gay.
You can only imagine the mortified look on her face when I told her. It was a painful moment and I felt ashamed but at least I had spoken my truth.
She took me to the psychologist and told me that I was probably overreacting because I was afraid of committing for life. The psychologist confirmed that I was perfectly fine and that I was just gay.
My girlfriend left me and I felt guilty for the pain I caused her and for ending things this way.
Do you regret coming out?
Not at all. Coming out to my parents and close friends was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I don’t regret any of it. I lost some “friends” along the way but I was finally free and could discover who I really was. Looking back at my life, I connected the dots and hints of me being gay and for example when I was 6 years old in Kindergarten, I was watching the guys and not the girls but I guess social pressure pushed me into being ‘normal’ and date girls. Now I felt like I had to catch up and live according to who I really am.
How did your parents react when you came out to them?
I was terrified to tell my mum because I didn’t want to upset her. I finally found the courage to come out to her one day, and surprisingly enough, she was understanding and caring. The first thing she said was: “listen Oliver, you are the main thing in my life, you are my only son, I just want you to be happy whether you’re gay or not. Your well being and your happiness is all that matters to me.”
It made me cry and I felt blessed and incredibly lucky to have her support.
However coming out to my father was much harder. He comes from a very traditional Hungarian family and being gay isn’t really an option. It took him 3 to 4 years to accept me for who I am, and I’m extremely grateful for that. I know that many parents have much harsher reactions so I felt blessed.
Was it challenging for your to accept your homosexuality?
It really was very difficult to process and accept. Here in Hungary we grew up with the idea of heteronormative families. I was taught that heterosexuality was the only way and that being gay was not an option. That’s what your family and society as a whole expects of you.
I can understand where they’re coming from. Hungary was a communist country for over forty years which means that it was difficult to stand out and be open about yourself. You are not ‘you’ but rather ‘one of us’ and as such you cannot show your identity, style or who you really are.
Now things are evolving in a positive light and families are slowly opening up.
Why did you decide to start your YouTube channel ‘Stiler’?
I decided to start a YouTube channel to be more visible and support LGBT people who think that something may be wrong with them. I want people to open up, share what they have to say, and support each other. I think it’s important to have a conversation and to show that diversity is beautiful and there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Why did you decide to participate in Mr Gay Hungary?
I became Mr Hungary last year because for me it was a platform to become an ambassador for LGBT people. It’s not a simple beauty pageant where you wave five minutes and wish “world peace”. For me, being elected comes with responsibilities that I felt ready to embrace.
I feel like the time for change is now. We are in the 21st century and there is still a lot of work to be done. We need to educate the people and be more visible in order to fight ignorance and become a more inclusive and tolerant country especially considering our political party in place.
I’m really grateful for this title and people send me many messages to thank me for being so open and dedicated to make change. If I can change the life of one person every day, it’s my biggest source of accomplishment and satisfaction.
You will be representing Hungary this year at the Mr Gay World 2019 competition. Why is it important for you to represent your country?
It will be the first time Hungary will be represented at the Mr Gay World 2019 event. I’m proud to represent my country and I think that it’s important for the world to listen to us too and to show that Hungarians are part of this celebration too. It allows for people in Hungary to feel more involved so I’m really proud of that. I’ll also be proud of wearing a hussar uniform in the round presenting tradition clothes as a way of showing our rich culture to the world.
(update: Olivér finished 2nd runner-up in the competition)
What are your hopes for Hungary and for LGBT people?
I’m very optimistic about the future of LGBT+ people in Hungary because the Z generation is just growing up now and they are more open-minded. They grew up with YouTube and the Internet so they have the resources to reach out to others and better understand themselves. My guess is that in a few years LGBT+ people will be much more included and visible in our society. At least that’s what I’m fighting for and the media is starting to slowly open up on these topics too.
What would you say to someone who is struggling with their sexuality/identity?
I would say that if you’re struggling with who you are remember that there’s a community out there waiting to welcome and support you. You’re never alone and there will always be people out there who may have gone through the same life experience as you and who will support you. Stay kind, stay hopeful and trust that whatever you give, the universe will give back to you. Not everyone will accept you for who you are but that doesn’t matter. Let go of toxic people and stay true to yourself. People will come and support you. And most importantly: don’t worry. You are beautiful and you are unique so don’t let anyone take that away from you.