About one year ago, one of the most famous and most respected Players of Germany’s National Soccer Team announced that he was gay. It came as a surprise to soccer fans, but generally met respect and recognition. Most people reacted by applauding him for his bravery, which suggests that coming out isn’t as easy in Germany as it might seem. Since World War I and the persecution of homosexuals during the Nazi Regime, there has been hostility against them. For centuries the topic was most often swept under the carpet and generally viewed as accepted or approved by the public. In 2001 a law was passed allowing homosexual couples to legally register a civil partnership. The government and media always tried to convey a very open position towards homosexuality, but this was not the case everywhere in the country – and unfortunately still isn’t. A 2013 survey showed that only
4% of LGBTS would feel comfortable holding hands in public and 48% even feel oppressed. Shocking results considering that Germany has been fighting for tolerance and open mindedness for over 60 years.The situation can be observed on the schoolyard where “Bist du Schwul oder was?” (“Are you gay, or what?” ) is one of the most commonly used phrases, which certainly comes with a negative connotation. Being gay certainly doesn’t go without saying, but while some voices against same sex marriage might be becoming a little louder, so is the gay rights movement, as, for example, the annual Christopher Street Day in Berlin is one of the biggest and most famous in the world.
– by Pauline F.