Embracing the power of diversity: Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights meeting with LGBTI+ groups in Germany
From November 28th to December 9th 2022 the Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, Ms Alexandra Xanthaki conducted a visit to Germany to understand how cultural rights are implemented in the country. During the mission, Ms. Xanthaki met with LGBTIQ+ groups in Berlin and Cologne, with the participation and support of ILGA World.
Our Senior Programme Officer on UN Special Procedures and Sustainable Development Goals, Guillermo Ricalde, and our Junior Professional Consultant on Human Rights Council, UPR and National Engagement Ahmed El-Salawy supported the coordination of this engagement. They met in person with the Special Rapporteur and the participants.
These meetings brought together LGBTIQ+ human rights defenders, activists, artists, performers, academics and cultural managers working in a very diverse set of topics and communities. The Special Rapporteur had the possibility to listen to these groups' work, lived experiences, and perspectives to learn more about LGBTIQ+ people’s challenges and opportunities in Germany, including queer youth and people with refugee and migrant backgrounds. The presence of artists also enriched these meetings since some could show their art and perform for the Special Rapporteur.
Activists from Germany share a photo with Special Rapporteur, Ms Alexandra Xanthaki (front row center) and ILGA World staff.
Achievements: LGBTIQ+ cultural rights as a successful example
As a result of these meetings, in her end-of-mission statement, the UN expert commended the State’s support of forward-looking initiatives addressing the exclusion of marginalised individuals and groups from cultural life but highlighted that such initiatives have to be coordinated and mainstreamed. “Recent successes in promoting LGBTIQ+ rights could act as a guide for other excluded groups, including migrants and persons facing intersectional discrimination,” the expert said.
Ongoing challenges for LGBTIQ+ communities
Among the current issues highlighted by Ms Xanthaki, she mentioned the importance of continuing with initiatives that ensure wide access to culture, since intersectional identities and conditions such as poverty, disability, migration and SOGIESC still act as important barriers to access to cultural services and institutions.
She also underlined the prevalence of stereotypes related to LGBTIQ+ communities that continue to exist in German society, which lead to hate speech and crime in their more extreme manifestations.
Activists and performers from Germany share a photo with Special Rapporteur, Ms Alexandra Xanthaki (front row center) and ILGA World staff.
A person performing in front of human rights defenders and others in Germany.
After the conversations with trans and non-binary activists, the Special Rapporteur recommended Germany ensure that the staff of cultural institutions and at all levels of Germany’s administration adopt the gender-neutral language and are further sensitized with trainings on cultural diversity.
Lastly, she also suggested Germany intensify measures in addressing stereotypes of LGBTIQ+ persons portrayed in social media, as a way to counterbalance hate discourse towards our communities.
You can find the full press release here.