Translated from German by Translators for Justice
By Peter Nowak, 12 January 2014
The opponents of sexual diversity are mobilizing and are being supported by the extreme rights and religious fundamentalists.
Recently, the coming out by German professional footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger has hit the headlines and made clear that tolerance towards sexual diversity has not actually either come that far in Germany as it appears to have when thinking for example of Germans claiming the rights of homosexuals in Russia.
Even after Hitzlsperger’s coming out, leaders of the Deutsche Fußballbund are advising not to imitate his action because the reaction of a majority of the crowd would be unpredictable. The German daily newspaper taz called this “The Fear of the Fan” which is a concise name for this attitude. The acceptance of sexual diversity is though not only very limited in the often patriarchal world of football.
“We are absolutely against early sexualization. This education plan would create even more jobs for gender feminists discriminating boys and finding lesbian girls.” This is a statement found among the comments regarding an online petition by opponents of the education plan 2015, a reform project by the government of the German federal state Baden-Württemberg consisting of SPD and Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen.
With the aim of the petition called “No education plan 2015 framed by the ideology of the rainbow“ the conservative teacher Gabriel Stängle wants to prevent “acceptance of sexual diversity” becoming a fixed learning objective at schools of the federal state Baden-Württemberg. The reform intends to make students aware that there are more partner relationships than just the one between man and woman.
“School is not a place for fundamentalists“
The German Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in Baden-Württemberg is strongly criticising the petition. “The petition suggests that the guiding principles are supposedly to be considered from the point of sexual diversity as a whole. This is totally exaggerated as this topic is only one of many. Furthermore, it stirs up public opinion against openness and tolerance, creates false impressions and tries to incite fears of the new education plan. The statement that the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs wants to re-educate the students pedagogically and morally is absolutely absurd. Such a statement using such a choice of words demonstrates the dogmatic background of the authors. It is irresponsible and has no relation to a democratic debate.” The GEW (Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft) of Baden Württemberg supports the reform. It refers to the fact that statistically in every school class two students are gay or lesbian.
“The knowledge of different sexual orientations and identities enables all students to cope with his or her own identity and self-determination”, the GEW reports. The GEW calls the petition against sexual diversity as discriminatory and warns of fundamentalists in schools.
School Student Unions defend the reform as well and note the various discriminations gays and lesbians are faced with. After all, the term “gay” is regarded as swear word in many schoolyards. In popular texts of the youth culture you can find various discriminations against sexual orientations beyond the mainstream.
The example of France
However, even more alarming are the resentments by the opponents of the reforms which are among others right-wing groups and fundamentalists of several religious directions. Within a short period of time, the petition was signed by almost 100,000 persons. Inspired by a nationwide right-wing movement against sexual diversity in France, they tried to mobilize people in other German states as well. Thus, also religious fundamentalists and conservatives in the German federal state North Rhine-Westphalia mobilized against sexual diversity in their curriculum which, however, couldn’t prevent it from being introduced.