Finale: The panel discussion

It’s up to you

On Friday November 11th, we had a panel discussion between 3 experts on the topic of sex and gender
to get professional answers for the questions from the students:

It’s up to you

On Friday November 11th, we had a panel discussion between 3 experts on the topic of sex and gender
to get professional answers for the questions from the students:

Dr. Schweizer: A psychologist/psychotherapist, who does research on the phenomena of transgender
and intersex. She emphasized that being intersex and transsexual are two different things.
Mrs. Mahajan: A pastor from a local protestant church in Kiel. She works with poor people, elders,
refugees and other people who face hardships in their lives. She is a lesbian in her private life and she has
been elected to represent other religions in Kiel in a special group that tries to find the similarities
between the religions.
Mr. Krüger: Representative from the Verdi Union which has around 2 million members and a branch that
tries to create awareness of the LGBT.
The panel did in general agree and did all have a positive view on the LGBT-community.
On the importance of living as the gender you identify as:
One’s identity is a very personal thing and as the gender identity develops and is not assigned, it is very
important to live as the gender you identify as. In some religious communities, the LGBT-people are sent
to conversion therapy, which can lead to mental illnesses because of a forced identity. Depression occurs
more often among LGBT-people, because they can experience a lack of support from their surroundings
and a lot of loneliness. Mr. Krüger pointed out that the process of changing one’s legal name to fit one’s
gender identity should be easier. Today it is filled with bureaucracy, grueling test and demands. There
are still some countries where sterilization is a demand to get a gender reassignment surgery.
On helping parents with LGBT-children:
The fears of parents are different. One of the most common ones is the fear of not having grandchildren.
The panel concluded that parents should talk to other parents with LGBT-children, read books with
accounts from parents, who have dealt with the same problems and they should be reminded that the
children are not their property. It is important to accept that they are concerned, but they also need to
be told that it is neither their, nor their children’s fault that the children are LGBT. Science has not found
an LGBT-gene. Parents need guidance. There have been examples where parents of intersex children
have agreed to operate their children to make them fit into one sex and then kept their medical history
as a secret. The medical community does not handle those situations well enough. The German Ethical
Council has discussed intersex rights and intersex activist groups are being made, so there is hope for
On the church’s opinion:
The church does not talk enough about the LGBT. Antidiscrimination laws do not apply to churches in
Germany, so you can be fired from your job in a church if you are LGBT. Religious texts are being used as
a way of avoiding differences in society, but they were written in another time, therefore they need to
be interpreted in an updated way. The fear of LGBT-people often comes from the fear of being
homosexual yourself and people will always try to control others. The church should look at people and
see their true identities. It is up to the next generation to make the church more openminded.
On LGBT-refugees:
Some people do not accept LGBT-refugees as real refugees, so sometimes they are tested to prove that
they are LGBT. Despite of social projects with flyers about the LGBT, it is hard for LGBT-refugees to step
forward, because their harassers often know where their families live in their home country. There have
been cases of trans-refugees being harassed in Germany, because they could only be in male dorms.
On fighting for the LGBT:
The Verdi Union tries to create more awareness and a sense of normality by making European
campaigns, educate within the union and make discussions. Ideas about love, family and identity can
change during your life and you should be openminded. More positive and normal LGBT-role models in
public are needed to make life easier for LGBT-people in the future. More education is needed and
schools should try to create a respectful environment for LGBT-people. The importance of gender norms
is very strong in our society today. It is a powerful taboo, which should be destroyed or at least
questioned. There should be more unisex toilets in the future. The panel also had some suggestions to
what the audience could do to create awareness for the LGBT community: Somebody needs to take the
first step. Support your LGBT-friends and help your local organizations fighting for LGBT-rights. If you
want to make the world more openminded, it’s up to you.


Kristina (Dk)

The report of the local newspaper Kieler Nachrichten, November 15th, 2016
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 383.6 KB
Words don't come easy...
... our vocabulary list.
Vocabulary List.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 48.8 KB
Students introduction lecture
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 13.8 KB

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