More Tolerance for Berlin and the World

photo: James K. Adams, Professor of Biology, Dalton State College

Two weeks ago I read an article about a rare genetic disposition in which animals or insect have both male and female characteristics, evenly split, right down the middle. This results for example in spectacular and beautiful butterflies with one female and one male wing.  Butterflies that are happily flying freely over flowers and grass all around the world. Nobody would think about hunting down, torturing or killing these butterflies just because they look different than their species’ companions. Would parents cover the eyes of their children if one of this rare butterflies would fly around them? Would people protest and start hate groups on Facebook to exterminate all non-symmetrical butterflies? Obviously not! Why should anybody do this? It would be simply idiotic.

Sadly, the human species is less tolerant (and also less intelligent) when it comes to behave towards the individuals of their own kind. A couple of years ago a singer with a face half woman and half man won an international voting contest all over Europe. Exactly like one of this rare butterflies, Conchita Wurst stood out in a music contest featuring boring mainstream entertainment and surprised everybody with an exceptional triumph. Unfortunately this message of tolerance remained not without consequences: Extremist hate groups, Russian right wing politicians  and fanatic conservative forces all over the planet are now concentrating their hate on the Austrian drag queen. But  also Berlin is not free of all kind of intolerance and hate crimes. Some thoughts about the current situation and what we can do to help it stop after the jump.

I always felt safe in Berlin. Wandering at night through the city, mostly populated by a happy crowd of youngsters, party people and other nightbirds was always a pleasure. Coming from Dresden, a city with quite the high rate of neonazis (12 %), Berlin has always been a positive counterpart. Making me believe that Germany after all is a democratic and progressive country with an open mind set. Lately though, stories of gay people of being harassed for walking hand in hand, getting assaulted for wearing make up or drag outfits or even getting badly bashed are creating some heat. It seems to me the open expressed negativity in social media channels towards LGBT people, incite violent minds to become not only brutal on Facebook but also on the streets. Also, openly anti-gay laws like the ones in Russia find acceptance in extreme groups all over Europe giving the anti-gay movement a legal and federal background.

Even if sometimes we feel helpless towards such a huge pile of stinking ignorance I would like to recommend you three easy things you can do to help things get a little better.

1. Don’t tolerate Intolerance: Especially with people near you, friends, neighbors, family-members it is important to be true to your ideas of tolerance and equality. Ask questions if somebody shares an opinion you can’t understand, reply if somebody makes a tasteless anti-gay joke or just figure out why somebody thinks and act this way and try create a positive dialogue.

2. Report Hate: Especially on Facebook you can report hate pages or users who are posting hateful comments. Don’t let them do this without making a statement yourself and show the blue social media giant that hate has no place in your timeline.

3. Go Demonstrate: Show real life presence and commitment, so that politicians in Germany and around the world see that your opinion matters more than the outraged hate of some extremist groups or terrorists.

However you want to show your support. The most important thing is not to stay unresponsive towards the actual situation but to become active. Especially gay men  that have learned to blend in the heterosexual crowd seem to me have even adapted the way of making fun of girly gays or drag queens. This is the most twisted Stockholm syndrome I have ever experienced and I really hope these people will one day learn that tolerance towards LGBT is not only important for some outgoing paradise birds of society, but actually for everyone.

Diesen Artikel auf deutsch lesen.

<a href="" target="_self">Claudio</a>