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German state makes homophobic journalists part of expert panel on tackling homophobia

German state makes homophobic journalists part of expert panel on tackling homophobia

Birgit Kelle, a German journalist and publicist, is known for her conservative views on LGBTI matters.

The Saxony branch of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union have announced one of Germany’s best-known anti-equality speakers to be part of an expert group aiming to tackle homo- and transphobia.

As part of their 2014 coalition agreement, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democratic Party drew up the so-called roadmap for the acceptance of the diversity of lifestyles (Aktionsplan zur Akzeptanz der Vielfalt von Lebensweisen).

Now Birgit Kelle, a journalist and member of the CDU, has written a number of books and is a frequent guest on talk show panels discussing gender and LGBTI matters; she is known for her conservative and homophobic stance.

‘You cannot expect acceptance from me,’ she famously said in a talk show in 2014 when the host asked her about her opinion on proposed changes to include non-traditional relationships and LGBTI issues in sexual education lessons.

Journalist and author Bettina Roehl, another panel member, was nominated by the eurosceptic party Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD).

With a stance similar to Kelle’s, she has called the sex education reforms and ‘antieducational platform of indoctrination against children and young adults’.

Both have also supported the ‘Demo fuer alle’, a movement opposing these reforms; arguing they will lead to premature sexualization of children.

The SPD’s LGBTI organization criticized the decision to add both women to the panel, saying especially Kelle’s appointment undermined the roadmap’s purpose

Oliver Strotzer, the group’s chairperson, called Kelle’s work the ‘publicist attention handling of a gender ideology which, with her occasional homophobic and controversial assumptions,alludes to conspiracy theories’ in a statement.

The panel will be part of the roadmap’s first public hearing, to be held tomorrow (28 September) in Saxony’s capital of Dresden.

Its other members are Florencio Chicote, coordinator of a Berlin-based initiative for the acceptance of sexual diversity and Stephanie Nordt of QUEERFORMAT, an educational initiative on LGBTI matters.

They are joined by Dr Klemens Ketelhut, chairperson of Leipzig-based LGBTI organization RosaLinde, and the chair of Saxony’s federal women’s board, Susanne Koehler.