In Germany, in at least 24 cities actions and events took place in commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2014. The focuses of these actions included equal rights for same-sex couples, for marriage and adoption in Germany, anti-LGBT laws around the world, violence against LGBTI communities, equal rights and inclusion of trans and intersex communities.
Rainbowflash events in 15 cities
The provincial affiliates of the LSVD, the Lesben- und Schwulenverband Deutschland (Lesbian and Gay Association Germany) organised Rainbow Flashmob events in 15 cities (Stuttgart, Hamburg, Rostock, Schwerin, Stralsund, Hannover, Osnabrück, Cologne, Chemnitz, Dresden, Leipzig, Pirna, Plauen, Torgau and Magdeburg). Rainbow coloured balloons were released into the skies by local communities with messages of hope and solidarity tied onto them.
In a press release by the headquarters of the LSVD, they highlighted the extent of homophobia and transphobia in Germany, and pointed out the problem that 50,000 gay men who had been prosecuted under §175 (the law criminalizing same-sex activities between men and which was abandoned in 1994), are still awaiting rehabilitation and compensation.
For 6 years now the LSVD Hamburg has organised the RainbowFlash events in Hamburg and has coordinated the rainbow flashmobs nationwide. The founder of the event Wanja Kilber received the Pride Award from the Hamburg Pride in 2012. Also in 2012 the LSVD Hamburg, on behalf of all the organisers, was awarded for the RainbowFlash by the Bündnis für Demokratie und Toleranz gegen Extremismus und Gewalt (Network for Democracy and Tolerance against Extremism and Violence). New Updates and recent news can be found on the LSVD Hamburg’s Facebook page.
Aside from the LSVD, many other organisations and groups also organised activities on and around May 17 in Germany.
Thousands march in Berlin for LGBTI rights worldwide
At the same time in Berlin, at around noon, thousands of people joint the demonstration, organised by the initiative Enough is Enough! Open Your Mouth!. The theme of the demonstration was ‘When did you decide to be hetero?’ which was chosen to highlight that sexual orientation is not a choice. The organisers highlighted the discrimination of LGBTI people in Germany, for example that same-sex couples are still not allowed to adopt a child together, and also raised the issue of homophobia and transphobia worldwide.
Berlin – A ‘Thousand Hand for the Rainbow’
In Berlin, the mayor of Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Angelika Schöttler (SPD), and the LSVD Berlin-Brandenburg invited people to join in the action a ‘Thousand Hands for the Rainbow’ that took place at the Memorial for the Homosexual Victims of National Socialism which was damaged in February 2014. After the manifestation there was a painting action and a picnic in the park Friedrichshain. The event was a joined effort by various local organisations.
Awareness raising in Ulm
In Ulm, a cooperation of 5 different groups (Aids-Hilfe, CSD Ulm/Neu-Ulm, Frauentreff Ulm, Rosige Zeiten and the Freundeskreis transidente Menschen) hosted a rainbow flashmob in the city centre where 600 balloons were released. Before they released the balloons there were info booths to raise awareness and inform the population about the day and the situation of LGBTI people in Germany and worldwide.
Street festival and more in Jena
In Jena, the IDAHOT* Jena group had prepared a two-week festival, which included presentations, concerts, workshops and a
street festival in the city centre on May 17. The street festival included a music program, info booths and the releasing of balloons with messages. IDAHOT* Jena is a cooperation of different associations, groups and individuals. The festival has been organised for the sixth time now, and received the Thuringian Democracy Award.
Activists ‘Kiss the Pride’ in Mainz
As in previous years, the campaign ‘KISS THE PRIDE‘ in Mainz included a march, a massive Kiss-In and rainbow flashmob with balloons in the city center. The event called out for diversity and acceptance and was afterwards celebrated with the Queerbeet-Party.
Prior to May 17, the organisers started a online campaign and street action where people could send in selfies with colourful lips and some of the photos were presented at the May 17 event in a rainbow kiss photo mosaic.
This campaign and event were organised in a joint effort by QueerNet Rheinland-Pfalz e.V., an initiative which works towards a better visibility and awareness of queer interests in the region and beyond, as well as with the support of Amnesty International. QueerNet’s aim is to network different groups and organisations to work together on political and cultural project and to promote LGBTI rights and equality.
Hand holding march in Kaiserslautern
Queernet Rheinland-Pfalz also organised rainbow actions in Kaiserslautern, including a demonstration, in Koblenz and Trier where they also had a march holding hands. Actions include Rainbow balloons, demonstrations and Kiss-Ins. The organisers also highlighted the importance of the upcoming elections for LGBTI people in the European region.
The groups Knutschfleck, Queerreferat Aachener Hochschulen (queer representatives), Rainbow, Rainbow Sports Aachen, SchLAu Aachen, Gleichstellungsprojekt im Asta (Project for Equality in student representation) and Aidshilfe Aachen (HIV/AIDS support Aachen) joined efforts this year to organise an IDAHOT demonstration in Aachen on May 17. After the demonstration, all the participants gathered and released balloons.
Students organise in Leipzig
In Leipzig, the Student Representation for Equality at the University of Leipzig together in cooperation with other organisations organised the IDAHIT* demonstration in Leipzig. For the second time the demonstration took place under this name which intends to highlight the importance of including Intersex communities.
Info booths & film screening in Heidelberg
The Queerreferat (Queer Student Representatives) of the University of Heidelberg had info booths on May 16 to inform the public about the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia and the situation of LGBTI people in general. On May 17, they held a film screening of the movies ‘Milk’ and ‘Transamerica’.
Demonstration in Cologne
Unfortunately, the demonstration in Cologne, organised by the Freie Vereinigung gegen Homophobie, had to be cancelled.