In the spring, editors of the Berlin gay travel guide Spartacus sounded the alarm. In the latest Gay Travel Index (GTI) ranking, Germany fell sharply from third 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. Albrecht asserts that, according to figures from the government, similar tendencies can be observed throughout Germany. Additionally, experts assume many unreported cases of people who do not report this 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 as a liberal and tolerant country. And Berlin is a desirable destination for persecuted lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people, 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 celebrated everywhere in Germany’s cities with many LGBTQ tourists attending?
Like other experts, Noll 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, celebrated with a parade this weekend and saw it similarly. Of course, he would be happy if Germany occupied the top spot in the safety category.
But for Berlin, nothing has changed: “The sense of security within the Berlin community is still powerful.” 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, this does not affect this year’s Berlin CSD celebrations, Germany’s largest and most international.
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