brushed aside

Is Chancellor Angela Merkel Completely Ignoring Germany’s Gay Bashed Youth?

Kai Gehring, a German Green Party lawmaker, is accusing Family Minister Kristina Schroeder of ignoring the needs of the nation’s queer youth. Is he right?

I always take issue with reports of “violent gay-bashing on the rise in Germany” — like this one — that don’t have any data attached to them, and fail to differentiate between a rise in actual violence or reported violence, but so goes Gehring’s claim that government officials, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, isn’t doing enough for LGBT young people. Gehring, the Green’s youth spokesman, says Schroeder’s “lack of interest in five to ten percent of youths unacceptable.”

Sounds like he’s got a point:

Gehring had sent an inquiry to Schroeder’s ministry demanding that it explain its position on the difficulties facing homosexual youths. He was dismayed at the response he received, which he says demonstrated, in part, an ignorance of the difficulties of young gay life. These include psychological struggles and lack of social acceptance, as well as poor physical health, bullying and high suicide rates.

The ministry’s response denied any knowledge of suicide statistics for homosexual youths, which Gehring called “implausible” as the document itself made multiple references to a 1999 study that placed suicide attempts among homosexuals at 18 percent – four times the rate of heterosexual youths. Schroeder, who was not available for comment, did show some awareness of young gays’ struggles in her response, said Gehring, but no intention of doing anything about them.

Gehring called Schroeder’s stance “utterly shameful, because we know that ‘gay pig’ remains one of the most popular insults on school playgrounds, that bullying and violence are still widespread.”

What’s Gehring demanding then? More programs to prevent LGBT suicides, promote tolerance, and have the Merkel administration take a firm stance against homophobia. Which sounds perfectly reasonable, especially in a country that already legalized domestic partnerships for same-sex couples back in 2001.

[Deutche Welle]

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #angelamerkel #germany #kaigehring stories and more



    Its not like the German government has a history of encouraging the persecution of any one group or anything like that………

  • Andrew

    Should probably point out that the Vice Chancellor as well as the Mayors of Berlin and Hamburg are gay.

    That’s the equivalent of the VP and the Mayors of NYC and Chicago/LA being gay in the states.

  • Huh?

    *18 percent* of gay German teens attempt suicide? Does that seems wildly implausible to anybody else?

  • S

    What Andrew said. The vice chancellor’s normal job is foreign minister by the way. And no one cares about it. If it comes up in the media, it’s mostly in tabloids.

  • BC

    @Andrew: The mayor of Hamburg resigned on the weekend, so you can take him off your list.
    @S: When Westerwelle came out publicly a few years back, the equivalent of a big yawn went through the political landscape.

  • j.c

    @Huh?: Why would it? you must not be gay or else you wouldn’t make such a foolish, ignorant statement. Only a breeder would be ignorant to the turmoil gay teens go through from you hetros. ever heard of being shunned…by your own family and homeless…? no, cause your an ignorant hetro. Go get a divorce.

  • S

    You’d think that without radical Christians and all the religious indoctrination, the number would be lower. Sure, there is still social pressure and kids are cruel, but one of the main sources of homophobia is relatively quiet about it.

  • Shaun

    @Huh?: Given the year the study was conducted in [1999] I don’t expect they had a wide sample of out homosexuals to choose from. The conclusion may have been skewed by that.
    However I don’t think 18% is wholly implausible.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Huh?: Go read the reports of LGBT youth suicides at youth-suicide dot com and you won’t find that figure so implausible. It has reports on the US, Germany and other nations.

    Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, according to the Massachusetts 2006 Youth Risk Survey. A 2009 study, “Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes” led by Dr. Caitlin Ryan and conducted as part of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University, shows that adolescence who were rejected by their families for being LGBT were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide. And for every completed suicide by a young person, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made (2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey).

    These are our children, our communities’ children and we do little to protect them.

    Although by US standards Merkel’s a bit left of right centrists like Palin and Obama in the German political context Merkel is a right centrist. So it should come as no surprise that looks the other way when it comes the oppression of LGBT youth.

  • Bill Perdue

    @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: Exactly @Kamikapse: Holocaust expert David Cesarani argues that the government of the US has uses genocide against native American nations. He says that “in terms of the sheer numbers killed, the Native American Genocide exceeds that of the Holocaust”. David Cesarani, Holocaust: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies, Routledge, 2004. (p. 381)

    About the other great genocide in US history, the one against Africans and imported slaves read David E. Stannards’, American Holocaust which speaks of the “genocidal and racist horrors against the indigenous peoples that have been and are being perpetrated by many nations in the Western Hemisphere, including the United States …” and the “30 to 60 million Africans who died being enslaved. He claims a 50% mortality rate among new slaves while being gathered and stored in Africa, a 10% mortality among the survivors while crossing the ocean, and another 50% mortality rate in the first “seasoning” phase of slave labor. Overall, he estimates a 75-80% mortality rate in transit.”

    You can read excerpts from Stannards book online at OUP

  • Huh?

    Nope, I’m gay. I just find the notion that 1 in 5 gays in Germany attempt suicide to be truly, wildly implausible. Yeah, I know that being gay is hard. I also think that attempting suicide is not a run-of-the-mill occurrence. Meanwhile, I will take the excerpt Bill Perdue posted as read. It still does nothing to establish a 1-in-5 baseline however, in Germany or anywhere else. For it to be plausible, then 1 in 40 straight people would have to attempt suicide. I find that implausible as well. You’re welcome to disagree, but all of the sound and fury, and all the false characterizations of and vituperation at me do nothing whatever to substantiate your position over mine.

    At all events, calm the f&^# down. The defining characteristic of whether someone is a horrible person or not is not (or should not be), I suggest, whether someone reasonably disagrees with an opinion that you have.

  • Markie-Mark

    @Huh?: Perhaps you got that response because your question seemed negative and harsh. You might have gotten a different response if you had prefaced your question with: “Even one suicide is too many, but . . .”

  • Kamikapse

    Besides.. I find it absurd how all the americans in here are acting all high and mighty.

    You can’t even get your f’in DEMOCRATIC president to make any real commitment to LGBT rights, except warm gestures and friendly words.

    Let’s not forget that Merkel’s party CDU is the CONSERVATIVE party of germany.. why would she care?
    Even if she did personally care she’s way too scared to piss off her base.

  • Steve

    In Europe, Obama would be called center right. Which is where most of the CDU is. There is no left in the US by European standards.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Steve: Not true. There is a left in the US but for the most part it’s kept of the ballot and marginalized by antidemocratic laws.

    Those laws begin with the Electoral College and include high costs for filing, laws that grandfather the ballot staus of the Democrats and Republicans and signature requirements that can vary from difficult to impossible.

    The US is a banana republic and if populists or leftist ever won those elections would be voided on the spot. Electoral activity is chiefly good as an educational and organizing tool.

    The political equivalent of the Democrat Party here are the English Conservative and Unionist Party, the Tories, the German Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands or CDU and the French Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, the UMP.

Comments are closed.