Category 4: Changes in society
Have you ever felt discriminated by the state in your private life because of your sexuality? (For example, regarding marriage rights, lack of adoption rights, etc.)? Have you ever experienced direct discrimination by the state on the basis of your sexuality (e.g. prohibition of aid from state institutions or in state institutions, etc.)
Yes. On the one hand, I felt that paragraph 175 was forced to be overturned by the Unification Treaty as a personal 'colonization'. And therefore I fought politically very actively for its abolition and the introduction of a ban on discrimination based on sexual identity in the state constitution of Brandenburg.
On the other hand, I found the exclusion of LGBT*IQ from numerous civil rights - not only to marriage, but ultimately the overall condition focused on this - outrageous, discriminatory and personally hurtful, especially the argumentation of the inequality of equals, those of the Opponents of 'marriage for all' are still carried like a monstrance to this day.
I only experienced direct discrimination based on my sexual identity in the refusal to donate blood.
What were social milestones for you in your personal development regarding your sexual orientation?
The adoption of the Brandenburg State Constitution in 1992, the final abolition of Paragraph 175 in 1994 and finally the laws on the opening of marriage for all and the rehabilitation of all gay men convicted under Paragraph 175 from 2017. In between there were of course a lot more hopeful Intermediate steps. But those were and are the moments when I still feel as if I could walk on water.
Has the social change towards homosexuality / queerness had any personal effects on you or the way people and colleagues dealt with you in private and your professional life?
For sure. The fact that my headmistress recently jubilantly congratulated me on my marriage would have been unthinkable when I started teaching.
How specifically did you as a politician (formerly at federal and now at state level) contribute to the legal and social equal treatment of LGBTQI * people in Germany?
As an individual* politician, I would be lost without the many who have put pressure on for years, persisted in their demands and arguments, patiently explained over and over again and campaigned for a change in the social climate, the zeitgeist and the legal framework ... I would be in a losing position. In this respect, I have only been able to contribute as much personally and specifically as we could contribute together with these people. That's why I think political CSDs are so important, as well as the often ridiculed symbolic actions, such as the hoisting of the rainbow flag in front of town halls and the public showing of faces by queer politicians. Political success can only be achieved through solidarity, respect, equality and partnership between our diversity. Individual politicians can then also contribute to this. Conversely, in my opinion, it does not work in an open society, even if individual politicians* sometimes think that they have personally... Sure, they have to raise their hands in the end - without that, our parliamentary system does not work either. But it is only printed on a piece of paper or, at best, a law or statutory regulation is created. However, everyday life, the social climate and the zeitgeist are important, all of which have to change. And you can't change this alone.