Under the stage name of Martin Mazza, the 34-year-old is based in Madrid, where he owns a production company specialising in erotica. He was formerly editor of the gay magazine Oh My God. He worked as an actor for ‘cine x’ in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sydney, New York and London, which provided him with the opportunity to experience how social attitudes towards homosexuality differed globally.
Spain being Spain
‘Attitudes have really changed in Spain,’ he explains. ‘We are a leader in gay rights; Spain is considered to be one of the most accepting European countries when it comes to the gay world. It has become an open and tolerant country thanks to the transition to democracy.' The dictator Francisco Franco’s rule was only brought to an end with his death after forty years in power, in 1975. ‘Having experienced lengthy periods of repression, the Spanish people have ended up becoming more aware of issues. It brought with it an acceptance of the gay world. Revolutions are the biggest drivers of change both socially and culturally. Steps taken after any revolution are bigger than those taken before one.’
When Spain passed a law in favour of same-sex marriage in 2005 under the socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Martin felt that attitudes amongst his family and friends changed towards people belonging to the LGBT community. ‘This is not just a right for gays but applies equally to everyone. We all belong to a society with different tastes and ways of life, but subject to the same rules. I don’t understand how I can applaud the killing of bulls or pay my taxes just like anyone else but yet I can’t marry, despite being in love and wanting to raise a family.’ He is referring to the ruling conservative popular party’s (PP) proposal to overturn the gay marriage law on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. ‘I call taxes, taxes. I call my mortgage a mortgage and I also want to be able to call my marriage a marriage.’
Mazza’s family are members of opus dei (acontroversial movementwithin the roman catholic church - ed). He studied at colleges and universities belonging to this catholic organisation, although he never felt rejected as a result of his sexual orientation. ‘They taught me discipline and gave me an education that I’m now really grateful for,’ he says. ‘Homophobia stems from a person’s education and their cultural makeup,’ he says.
Read 'Transsexualism in Spain: fighting discrimination' on cafebabel.com
Nor does Martin consider himself an avid believer in any particular faith. ‘All religions have something in common. Everyone needs to believe in something, to be able to give it a name. It’s part of our personal and social self esteem, a type of reassurance. It provides a sense of morality.’ Years ago he worked for a company with links to the catholic church and he had no problem being open about his sexual orientation. ‘Being gay can have an impact, but it has nothing to do with your ability to develop, to be enterprising or industrious.’
‘Being in a relationship isn’t a sign of success, or the purpose of life, but one of life’s options'
An only child, Mazza found his teenage years more difficult to cope with and confesses he always knew that he was homosexual. He was fifteen when he decided to go out with other boys, but waited until he was seventeen before coming out. ‘I wanted to be myself and live my own life, not just to get a boyfriend but also because I wanted to distance myself from what my family wanted me to be,’ he adds. Mazza explains that whilst his family took his coming out well, and he always felt accepted by his circle of friends, he was looking for something different in life. He decided to move to London at the age of 18 and remembers that being able to kiss another boy in public was amazing; living this type of lifestyle made him extremely happy. ‘I felt full of energy,’ he adds. Mazza doesn’t have a partner at the moment and blames his lifestyle for making it more difficult for him to fall in love. ‘It’s more difficult to find a partner in the gay world than in the heterosexual one,’ he says. ‘Being in a relationship isn’t a sign of success, or the purpose of life, but one of life’s options. I want to be able to get married some day and to carry on having the same rights as everyone else. I probably won’t get married - but at least the option’s there if I want to.’
Read part I in cafebabel.com's special LGBT series; watch this space for part III on 28 February