Tomaszs' situation changed when he went for an Erasmus exchange semester to Lisbon in Portugal which opened a totally new world to him. The more tolerant environment and the existence of a publicly visible gay community encouraged him to be open about his sexual identity leading to a totally new experience of friendship. A wall in his student apartment in Krakow, decorated with pictures and maps of Portugal shows the special meaning this experience still has for him. And so does the Portuguese wine he serves to his guests.
The LGBT community has always been a frontrunner in the development of social media apps that allow homosexuals to connect with each other irrespective of the limitations they face in real life. Tomasz speaks about his first but short-dated relationship with another man, student parties, a fully new attitude to life and a new experience of self-confidence that resulted from this. For him Krakow was far away at that time. But with the end of the exchange semester came the reality check. Nothing had really changed in Krakow and at on the other hand it was clear for him that nothing would remain the same.
Back in Krakow Tomasz continued to meet with visitors, students, and expats, that he got to know through social media apps to keep his spirit of a free world. New contacts but also positive reactions of friends finally inspired him to take an important but difficult decision.
He went back home to his parents and told his mother that he is gay. What sounds so simple in the aftermath required hours and days of weighing pros and cons, developing strategies, imagining potential reactions, thinking about how to convey the message and at the end putting the deep and good relationship with his mother to a test.
His mother reacted as he had deep inside of him hoped she would: "My mum told me she loves me no matter what, and that she's is proud of me and I´m a role model for my siblings.".