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Two transgender women elected to German Bundestag

New government urged to expand LGBTQ rights



Reichstag, Berlin, Germany, gay news, Washington Blade
Activists in Germany continue to celebrate the election of two transgender women to the country's parliament. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

BERLIN — Activists in Germany continue to celebrate Sunday’s election of two transgender women to the country’s parliament.

Tessa Ganserer of the Green Party is from Bavaria. Nyke Slawik, who is also a member of the Green Party, is from North Rhine-Westphalia.

Joschua Thuir, a police inspector who is an instructor at a German Federal Police center for basic training and further education. He is also the trans ambassador of VelsPol Deutschland, an NGO that represents LGBTQ police officers in the country.

Thuir on Tuesday told the Washington Blade that Ganserer has worked with him on trainings for police officers. Thuir said Ganserer and Slawik’s election is “a really, really big opportunity for us as a trans community to have speakers now in the German Bundestag who are trans by themselves.”

“It’s much more impressive to listen to people who are in those situations instead of people who talk about people who are in those situations,” said Thuir.

Julia Monro of the German Association for Trans Identity and Intersex People agreed.

“It is a big signal to the world that Germany is a country with diversity,” she told the Blade.

Election results are ‘great opportunity’ for LGBTQ rights

Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democratic Party of Germany will likely succeed long-time Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union. A coalition government will need to form because Scholz did not receive a majority of the votes in Sunday’s election.

Henry Engels of the Lesbian and Gay Association in Germany on Monday in a statement congratulated Scholz. Engels also said the election results are “a great opportunity for the improvement of LGBTI rights in Germany.”

“The increase in votes for the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany), Greens and FDP (Free Democratic Party) also shows that voters want a queer-politically progressive government,” said Engels. “We call for a government to be formed that, after the paralysis of the last legislature, now seizes the opportunity for a queer political awakening, and we expect the Greens, FDP and SPD to implement their queer political election promises. For us, only a coalition is acceptable that brings real change in a timely manner.”

The Lesbian and Gay Association specifically urged the new German government to develop “a national action plan against LGBTI hostility” and to amend Article 3 of the country’s Basic Law to specifically ban discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation throughout Germany. The Lesbian and Gay Association also called for “gender self-determination” and the admission of LGBTQ refugees into Germany.

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European Union

French National Assembly moves to ban conversion therapy

Country’s Senate will now consider measure



(Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

PARIS—Members of France’s National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

Têtu, a French LGBTQ magazine, reports conversion therapy practitioners would face two years in prison and a €30,000 ($34,652.55) fine. Those who administer the widely discredited practice to a minor would face three years in prison and a €45,000 ($51,978.82) fine.

Practitioners could also lose their medical license for up to 10 years.

The bill, which a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s party introduced, now goes to the French Senate.

Malta is one of the handful of countries that ban conversion therapy.

Lawmakers in Finland, New Zealand and Canada are considering measures that would prohibit the practice.

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European Union

Car parking for LGBTQ diversity- instead gets lots of negativity

While some input was positive a greater majority took to social media platforms including Twitter & were uniformly negative in their reaction



Photograph courtesy of Hanauer Parkhaus GmbH

HANAU, Germany – A German firm that manages car parking structures in this mid-size city located East of Frankfurt am Main is under criticism for its dedication of reserved parking for LGBTQ+ people and migrant drivers.

The firm, Hanauer Parkhaus GmbH, which manages contracted parking with various municipalities located in the greater Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region in Central Germany, had set aside three reserved parking spots specially for the LGBTQ drivers and migrants as they have a “special need for protection and security in public spaces,” a company official told media outlets.

The three reserved parking spots are next to each other and are near to the main exit of the multi-story parking structure. Additionally Hanauer Parkhaus had a mural of the LGBTQ Pride flag painted on the back wall and for increased security added security cameras which are monitored by its employees.

The company and the city had hoped that this move would be seen as affirming of both the LGBTQ+ community and the migrant community which are often the targets of hateful rhetoric. While some input from residents and others was positive, a greater majority who took to social media platforms including Twitter were uniformly negative in their reactions.

Translates as: “Child and old age poverty, single mothers at their financial limit, pensioners who have to live on bottle deposits and leftovers from garbage cans. But for City Councilor Thomas Morlock in Hanau there is nothing more important than setting an example for tolerance. “Three new diversity parking places.”

The former Chairwoman of the Nevada State Republican Party also weighed in:

This tweet from a user in the UK brought a litany of homophobic responses:

Some of those responses included;

[email protected]_Hero
·Replying to @BristolBlues40 and @NKrankieI’m feeling gay today, I think I will park in one of those rainbow spaces.

[email protected]·Replying to @BristolBlues40 and @SammieJack3They’re really trying to spark some ‘far-right’ action and get some nasty posts that they can use to usher in a new age of censorship

Adrian Perkinson @TheBritishChap7Replying to @MailOnlineThis screams “Discrimination”!!! At this point in time, I’m beginning to wonder if these officials are just trying to annoy the majority.

Thomas Morlock, the chairman of the board of Hanauer Parkhaus GmbH and an elected city councilor in Hanau told local media that the spaces were created as a “conspicuously colorful symbol” for “diversity and tolerance”, and that they don’t necessarily have to be used by a “separate group of people.”

Still there were more negatives expressed than positives;  “LGBT people are people, we shouldn’t be treating them differently from others. Although the intentions here are good. We’re now separating ourselves by parking spaces. Dear lord,” one local remarked on Twitter.

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European Union

Three Polish provinces have now walked back ‘LGBTQ+ Free Zones’

Poland has seen a resurgence in the past three years of rightwing religious ultra-conservative groups in this heavily Catholic country



Sejmik Województwa Podkarpackiego chambers & administrative offices, Rzeszów, Poland (Photo Credit: Sejmik Województwa Podkarpackiego)

MALOPOLSKA, Poland – Three governing councils of voivodeships (provinces) in Southeastern Poland have reversed anti-LGBTQ+ policies enacted over the past two years that declared those areas to be ‘LGBTQ+ Free Zones.’

Last week the Sejmik Województwa Świętokrzyskiego, voted in a special emergency session to revoke an LGBTQ resolution that it had passed in 2019. The regional governments have backed off their policies after the executive branch of the European Union, the European Commission, sent letters out in late August to the governors of the five warning that pandemic relief funds totaling over 126 million euros ($150 million) will be withheld over those anti-LGBTQ measures.

The state-run media outlet Polska Agencja Prasowa, (Polish Press Agency) reported that on Monday, the Subcarpathian Regional Assembly, (Sejmik Województwa Podkarpackiego) the unicameral for the Podkarpackie region voted to repeal its resolution along with Lubelskie, Województwo unicameral also rescinding its anti-LGBTQ+ policies.

Polish LGBTIQ+ activist Bart Staszewski noted in a series of tweets that the final push to get rid of the anti-LGBTQ+ policies was directly attributable to the EU commission. But he also made note that there was still active resistance and opposition.

In one instance (below) he tweeted; ‘Meanwhile, councilor Kotula, in a venomous speech, defends the anti-LGBT resolution on “gibberish of leftist correctness, sexual orientation and reproductive rights and rape of cows”.

The EU Commission, which is chiefly responsible for for proposing legislation, enforcing EU laws and directing EU administrative operations, notified the governors and the government of Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki that the coronavirus response investment initiative (CRII) funds from the Recovery assistance for cohesion and the territories of Europe (REACT-EU), would be rescinded over the so-called ‘LGBTQ Free Zones’ established in the five provinces.

Poland has seen a resurgence in the past three years of rightwing religious ultra-conservative groups backed by nationalistic extremists in this heavily Catholic country of 38 million, which have led to passage of measures to restrict pride parades and other LGBTQ+-friendly events from taking place.

In the resolution passed in 2019 by the regional assembly of Sejmik Województwa Świętokrzyskiego, part of the language included “opposition to the attempts to introduce LGBT ideology to local government communities and the promotion of this ideology in public life.”

The resolution also noted; “deep disapproval and strong opposition to the attempts by liberal political and social circles to promote an ideology based on LGBT affirmation, which are in clear contradiction to the cultural heritage and centuries-old Christian traditions not only of the Swietokrzyski region but also of Poland and Europe.”

The Associated Press reported that Swietokrzyskie is the first area of Poland to rescind such a measure after becoming colloquially known as an “LGBT-free zone.” Its move came after the country’s government asked authorities in several regions to revoke their largely symbolic anti-LGBT resolutions.

Although several Polish courts have weighed in ruling the measures unconstitutional, little actions have been taken to mitigate them.

In July of 2020, the anti-LGBTQ president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, won re-election. Activists have sharply criticized Duda — head of Poland’s conservative Law and Justice party — over his anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.

Duda in June of last year said LGBTQ “ideology” is more harmful than communism.

Justyna Nakielska of Kampania Przeciw Homofobii, a Polish LGBTQ advocacy group, told the Blade’s International Editor Michael Lavers that Duda has publicly described LGBTQ Poles as “a threat to the family” and said they “want to sexualize children.”

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