neon artwork: Abrazo by Hernan Marina, 2012
The only logical response to hate is love, and more love. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of responding with equal hate – it seems like a natural, instinctive reaction. But that’s only gonna make the hate even bigger.
Berlin always felt like a big safe bubble to me. I felt that my life was never affected here in a negative way. How lucky I am! The LGBTQ community is big, strong, well connected, diverse and very opinionated. Of course there have been incidents of attacks or discrimination against LGBT people here as well, but they seem to be much more rare compared to many other places in the world. I have heard heart-breaking stories of people that come from smaller towns and other countries, and of course you hear all these terrible news of horrific tragedies in the most conservative corners of the world. It’s these stories that make you question your own safety. And it makes you realize even more that you are living in a bubble.
I sometimes wish we could invite all these afflicted people from those harsh realities they are living in to come share with us our safety that we enjoy here in Berlin. The new LGBT shelter for refugees that opened here recently is a first step towards this idea. There should be more projects like this. There shouldn’t be such a thing as gay teenagers being publicly hanged, LGBT people being thrown into prison or even worse: off the roof. These people deserve to be rescued.
How long have trans, lesbian, bi and gay people fought for their freedom and rights and how long will this fight still have to go on? Right now it seems things are only getting worse, but maybe that’s just the internet painting a bad picture. Why do powerful people like Angela Merkel still speak of “tolerance” and not of “acceptance”? It seems to be a nuance, but it speaks volumes if you ask me.
Despite the obstacles that LGBT people still face even here in Berlin today, we’ve created an amazing harbor for people to feel integrated, accepted, appreciated. We should be proud and happy about this, and share this strength and compassion with the rest of the world where so many others are in less fortunate situations than us. It’s sad that it takes devastating events to be remembered of this, but better late than never. All the shared thoughts, emotional reactions, discussions and condolences coming from the LGBTQ scene here in Berlin today show me that I am not the only one. I’m glad about this. Berlin sends its love.