Lesbian,gay and transgender people live more freely in Germany today than ever before. We want them to be accepted as an integral part of social normality. And yet homophobic chants at football matches, anti-gay lyrics in some music sub-cultures and, in particular, playground insults are still common features of daily life. There are also continued reports of "gay bashing".
That is why we are firm advocates for a National Action Plan to Combat Homophobia, aimed at preventing homophobic violence, creating broad social alliances for acceptance, and providing much more information in schools and youth work. A clear message must be sent out, both through the learning content and daily life in our schools, that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people are part of our social diversity, with equal rights and opportunities.
Without full equality, however, speeches about tolerance are nothing but hot air. Gay and lesbian couples still have some way to go towards this goal. We are campaigning for full equality in line with the principle of "same rights, same responsibilities". In tax and civil service law in particular, unequal treatment still exists on a massive scale. The introduction of registered partnerships has greatly increased the acceptance of lesbians and gays by society. Now, we want to follow the example set by other countries – such as Spain, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands – and achieve full equality by opening up the institution of marriage for lesbian and gay couples. We also want to remove the legal and financial discrimination suffered by same-sex families with children ("rainbow families") and give registered life partners the right of joint adoption.
We stand for a politics of diversity and a clear stance against discrimination. The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), adopted in 2006, lacks teeth. We want to make it more effective. Furthermore, the article on equality enshrined in the German constitution, the Basic Law, must at last include a provision that "no person shall be disfavoured because of their sexual identity".
Making human rights a reality
We Greens are firm advocates for a radical reform of the law on transsexuals. Personal freedom, not arbitrary notions about how to categorise gender, must be the guiding vision. We want to simplify the procedures for the changing of forenames and the amendment of civil status. Intersex people should not be subjected to sex-change operations that are medically unnecessary.
There are more than 80 countries worldwide where homosexual acts remain illegal. In some Islamic countries, they carry the death penalty. German human rights policy must adopt a clear position towards countries which trample the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people under foot. We want the victims of Germany's earlier homophobic criminal law to be rehabilitated and to be paid compensation. The notorious Paragraph 175of the German Criminal Code – the final vestige of anti-gay legislation in German criminal law – was not repealed until 1994. Legislators must face up to their responsibility for their sustained failure, over several decades, to decriminalise homosexuality, which continually violated gay people's human rights.