In the spring, editors of the Berlin gay travel guide Spartacus sounded the alarm. In the latest Gay Travel Index (GTI) ranking Germany had fallen sharply from third place to 23rd. The reason, Leander Milbrecht of Spartacus told DW, was the “increase in reported crimes against and assaults on lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) persons.”
He pointed out that in 2018 in Berlin alone the police counted 225 crimes against queer people, 54 more than in 2017. “Queer” is the term used to describe people who deviate from heteronormativity.
The Berlin gay anti-violence project Maneo registered 382 attacks on queer people in 2018, 58 more than in the previous year. Milbrecht asserts that, according to figures from the government, similar tendencies can be observed throughout Germany. Additionally, experts assume a high number of unreported cases of people who do not report this type of attack.
The editorial team of Spartacus, a renowned provider of travel guides for gay men, compiles the GTI for 197 countries and regions each year using a range of criteria: Are there any threats of persecution, the death penalty or violent attacks? Is there state-sanctioned discrimination, such as travel restrictions for HIV-positive people or are Pride parades banned? And what about civil rights? This also includes marriage equality, which became legal in Germany in 2017.
In the eyes of the international community, Germany has been seen a liberal and tolerant country. And Berlin as a desirable destination for persecuted lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and queers fleeing their homelands. Could all this have changed so dramatically? Should a travel warning be issued, especially now that the Christopher Street Day (CSD) parades are being celebrated everywhere in Germany’s cities with many LGBTQ tourists attending?
Noll, like other experts, assumes that the increase in the numbers is also due to the increased willingness of victims to report the attacks.
David Staeglich-Büge, a board member at the Berlin CSD, which is celebrated with a parade this weekend, sees it similarly. He would be happy of course if Germany occupied top spot in the safety category, he told DW.
But for Berlin nothing has changed: “The sense of security within the Berlin community is still very strong”. Nevertheless, there is “increasing uncertainty” within the community, said Staeglich.
For him, however, it derives more from the political sphere: “The threat from the right is seen to be greater than the threat from hate crime,” he said. According to the organizers, all of this has no effect on this year’s Berlin CSD celebrations, the largest and most international in Germany.
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