Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia. The star spoke to members of the LGBTQI community to find out how much discrimination and pressure weighs on the shoulders of queer people.
On May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from the register of mental illnesses. To commemorate this day, many queer people celebrate the International Day Against Homo, Bi, Inter and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) every year and take to the streets for their rights and against hate.
Homo-, bi-, inter- or transphobia means hostility towards people who see themselves as homo-, bi-, inter- or transsexual. People who are homophobic (biphobic, interphobic, transphobic) believe that all people should be straight. They usually don’t just reject other sexual orientations. They express their attitude through devaluation, derision or inappropriate jokes. In 2021, there were 340 criminal offenses in Germany that related to a person’s gender or sexual identity. 870 criminal offenses were directed against the sexual orientation of queer people in the past year. This number of crimes increased by more than 50 percent compared to the previous year. Experts assume the number of unreported cases to be up to 90 percent.
Six million people in Germany are queer
According to the representative Dalia study, 7.4 percent of Germans belong to the LGBT community. In numbers, that’s about six million people. Six million who would not consider themselves straight and six million who still face hate and discrimination on the street.
Student and young journalist Lukas W. describes the situation in public as if he had developed a radar: “You always check the situation – is it safe right now, isn’t it safe? Can I hold hands with my partner now or not ?” He says it’s sad that they always have to sound out the situation, but on the other hand it develops enormous social skills.
Noel G. is transgender. He says holding hands usually doesn’t bother him at all. The same applies to cuddling or kissing with your partner. “But that’s only because I’m in areas where I either feel safe […] or when I’m looking particularly feminine, whether it’s with a little make-up or something.” People wouldn’t even get the idea that two guys were kissing there, he tells Stern in an interview. In many other situations, the two homosexual couples refrain from showing their love to the outside world – it is too unsafe.
Everything starts with coming out
Many members of the LGBT community hide from family, friends and the public for a long time, living in the guise of heterosexuality. The drama begins with the coming out. Catharina B. told us that a friend she had known since childhood stopped changing in the same room overnight because Catharina had confided in her that she was bisexual. Only a little later and since then again and again, she was titled as a potential partner for a threesome because she would now like several genders. “It made me angry and disappointed,” she says. After that she would have started with the reconnaissance work.
Lukas reveals in an interview that he is against the term “coming out”. “Heterosexuals don’t have to justify themselves if they like the opposite sex. Why do homosexual people have to justify themselves because they love the same thing, but the same sex,” he says. He is often asked the question of how long he has been gay and how he noticed it. Straight people never have to answer that question.
There would not only be one deterrent moment before coming out, but many small ones in many situations. As an alternative, the student from Bremen suggests “not opening a big barrel anymore”. You can simply say that you are dating this person, whether same-sex or not, in Lukas’ opinion it should be “completely irrelevant”.
Limited to sex
After coming out, many reduced a person to their sexuality, reports Lukas. “Before and after coming out – it’s still the same person,” he says and continues: “You can’t just be reduced to who you love. Behind it is still a personality that has a lot matters more than who he or she loves.”
Noel also advocates more openness – on both sides. He says: “I can expect no understanding and no open concession if I do not clarify.” He would therefore answer an honest question that he didn’t feel uncomfortable with, even if it was actually inappropriate.
Inclusive thinking is also sometimes lacking in the community
Openness and acceptance are very important in the queer scene. The community also wants both from heterosexual people. But even within the community there is no total tolerance. In the lesbian scene, especially male, especially female and bisexual women have a hard time. And in the gay scene, Asians, blacks, fat and feminine men are often discriminated against.
It is a contradiction and shows that a homogeneous structure in society is a difficult subject. Individuals who deviate from the “norm” are more likely to be isolated. This applies to all forms of society. Catharina therefore has a great wish: “I just hope that people will soon understand that it doesn’t matter who you are in love with as long as you love him.” Your wish applies to everyone in society.
“Homophobia or hate is insubstantial”
Luke sums it up. He says: “Driving cars, electricity flows – even if two men kiss. It doesn’t end the world and that’s why they don’t harm society – homophobia or hatred is insubstantial.” And that applies to all parts of society and to any discrimination against other sexualities and genders.
The day against homophobia, biphobia, interphobia and transphobia is a day for respect, openness and acceptance – in every respect. In fact, every day should be a day against homophobia, biphobia, interphobia, transphobia and hatred in general. “Especially at the beginning,” says Lukas, “you tend to get in your own way, especially when it comes to coming out.” Other people played less of a role. Noel also describes the coming out as an incredibly difficult matter. There is a lot of pressure on the shoulders of queer people. Pressure that would not exist if there were more openness in society.
You can find more information here: – Queer Lexicon – Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD)
This article first appeared on May 17, 2021.