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Study on homosexuality : The acceptance in Germany is limited

In the meantime, almost all Germans think that is okay other than to love heterosexually. 95 percent are of the opinion that it is good to protect homosexuals from discrimination by law. 80.6 percent are also of the opinion that lesbians and gays still suffer from degradation and inequality today.

As the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS) has now found out in a representative study, there is also a very high level of support for "marriage for all": 83 percent of those surveyed were of the opinion that same-sex lovers should have the same right to marry as heterosexuals. Currently, same-sex couples only have the right to a registered partnership. According to the head of the study, Beate Küpper, there is an "overwhelming majority in favor of full marriage": "The population is further ahead than politics." The topic was through in society.

In her opinion, the data that the social psychologist and professor at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences and her team collected in telephone interviews with more than 2000 people aged 16 and over between October and November 2016 are not a mere snapshot: Since 2002, the acceptance of people other than heterosexuals has been increasing "Linear" forms of life, said Küpper. Only a minority in Germany still claim that homosexuality is immoral (almost 10 percent find that) or unnatural (18.3 percent). "The classic form of homophobia has become very rare."

Homophobia in a new guise

But that doesn't mean that they don't exist in a different guise. In order to find out with their questions not only what social norms prescribe, but what people really think and feel, the researchers followed up and inquired in detail: How do you find it when two men or two women kiss in public? Do you think that homosexuality is too often a topic in the media?

The kiss question revealed: While only 10.5 percent of respondents feel uncomfortable when they witness a heterosexual couple hug, this is 27.5 percent when it is a lesbian couple. And 38.4 percent find it uncomfortable to see a couple of men kissing. "Even if the social norms dictate: Do not have so many prejudices, be tolerant: The long period of devaluation is deep in the mind," says researcher Küpper. Many of today's adults grew up with gay paragraph 175, which made sex between men a criminal offense until 1994.

Are homosexuals "too much fuss" about their identity?

A good example of this form of more hidden homophobia: The respondents' agreement to the statement "Homosexuals should stop making such a fuss about their sexuality" 43.8 percent found this to be completely or at least partially correct. Küpper sees this as a strong indication of the effectiveness of heteronormativity, i.e. the unquestionable matter of course for female-male sexuality. While a woman who speaks of "my husband" is not perceived as someone who talks about sexuality or makes a fuss about it, the gay man who says "my husband" produces "fuss" around his sexual orientation according to the prevailing belief.

Nevertheless, the researchers and the ADS are optimistic. Küpper spoke of a "very good foundation", which however "still leaves room for improvement" as soon as it comes to the concrete way society deals with homosexuality. As a sign of hope, she saw the fact that the majority also find the visibility of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans people at Christopher Street Day or other parades good. "You can dismiss it as a carnival," says Küpper, "but from the perspective of prevention research, that's not the worst." Here there is a possibility of contact between queer and straight, which could remove the ground from prejudices.

More results on the urban-rural divide will be available soon

The results presented here are just a beginning. The evaluation of the survey continues and should also deliver results by March on the urban-rural divide in terms of homophobia or the connection with party preference or religiosity. It will be about knowledge about homosexuality and the importance of income, marital status and personal values ​​for how homophobic or homophobic people are in Germany. Migration background will only play a role to a limited extent - although the issue of whether migrants are more homophobic than autochthonous Germans has been politically hotly debated since Cologne New Year's Eve 2015 at the latest. Küpper considers the group that sums up this criterion to be "too heterogeneous" because they lump new immigrants and the granddaughters of migrants, European, African and Asian roots into one pot. But she announced useful results on religion: There are "clear connections with religiosity". The more religious people are, and this applies worldwide, "the less open they are to homosexuality". This has been observed for decades and affects Christians and Muslims as well as Jews and Hindus.

It is already clear what age, education and gender mean: women are always a little more tolerant of non-heterosexual people than men, young people accept them more than old people - the older, the more homophobic. And those who have less knowledge about it or are less well educated also have more against gays, lesbians or trans people. The questions about education in the study also gave a contradicting picture: while most of them are in favor of children being informed at school and exercising tolerance for the diversity of sexuality - almost 90 percent want this - they are on the other hand worried precisely because of this : Just under a third of those surveyed said that children were confused in their own sexual development when sexual diversity was an issue in the classroom.

The ADS calls for everyone to get married as soon as possible

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency wants to put the topic under the title "Equal rights for every love" at the center of its work in the new year. In view of the large majority in the population, its leader Christine Lüders called on the Bundestag to adopt "marriage for all" in Germany as well as in 14 other European countries. Gay marriage is a second class. Lüders would like to see advice in parliament as early as this legislative period - it will end in autumn - and without any group pressure. "The topic deserved to be decided in a non-partisan way, as has already been done on other fundamental issues. We will be promoting it intensively over the next few months." Berlin's new Justice Senator Dirk Behrendt told the Tagesspiegel: "Even if majorities do not decide on minority rights, I am pleased that everyone agrees to marry. That shows how much the federal government has fallen out of time with its ban on marriage for homosexuals. " He referred to his initiative to better record and document homophobic and transphobic motivated violence in Berlin.

Lüders criticized that the German state itself had been sending negative signals: to date, "not a single one" of the 50,000 judgments against homosexuals has been overturned, no victim of the "injustice paragraph 175 rehabilitated", and the Basic Law still offers no protection against persecution for sexual orientation. She warned that the increased tolerance should not be taken for granted. "The climate is about to change." AfD members of the state parliament called for gays to be counted, and for people to be hounded against minorities via "perverse zeitgeist", "gender madness" and again. And not only "Internet trolls, but also an EU Commissioner" are involved, she said, referring to the gay jokes of EU Commissioner Oettinger that were recently made public. It is foolish if minority rights are played off against the problems of industrial workers, as is now the case in the US election campaign. "Equality threatens no one. And it is part of the civilizational standard to which we will adhere."

You can find more LGBTI topics on theQueerspiegel, the queer blog of the Tagesspiegel. Follow the Queerspiegel on Twitter:

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