Walter Crasshole empties his fag bag and vents on the issues of the day. This month: the curious case of right-wing queers.
For days in early November, I had been playing Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” on repeat – I was inspired by Charlie Brooker’s beautiful “San Junipero” episode of Black Mirror. For some reason, lesbian love stories always get to me. On the morning of November 9, however, I stopped. Pop songs about blissful utopia had no place in the world anymore. Now it was Ministry’s “N.W.O.”. As the planet reeled from the election of the first reality-TV show president, queer Berlin mobilised into action. The “Pussy Grabs Back” demo on Hermannplatz may not have numbered in the thousands, but the eff ort was commendable.
It’s easy to do this from the left-leaning pockets of queer-friendly Germany. We’re all in this together over here, right? Well, tell that to the three gay AfD party representatives, Holger Arppe, Thomas de Jesus Fernandes and Alexander Tassis, who signed the “Magdeburg Declaration on Early Sexualisation” less than a week after Trump’s election. Among other Nazi-hearkening phrases about the importance of the “classic family”, they are against “all attempts to give the same worth to other forms of cohabitation and sexual behaviour as (heterosexual) marriage and (heterosexual) family.” It all amounts to teaching the next generation of Asis that homophobia and transphobia are okay.
“Homosexuals in the AfD” is an actual group within the radical right populist party. They boast an active Facebook page (liked almost 1500 times) and, since 2014, a full-fledged website (down at the time of online publication) that is pretty obsessed with financially compensating the victims of discrimination under section 175 (the German law that made male homosexuality a crime until 1994). Oddly enough, it ignores the bulk of AfD’s actual programme in favour of confusing slogans meant to dissociate AfD queers from all of us progressive ones. Each phrase starts with “I’m not a left-green gay/lesbian/transsexual because…” followed by a reason that runs the gamut from populism (“I want real acceptance instead of fake tolerance/freedom of opinion instead of political correctness”) to the AfD classics (“Immigration needs clear rules; integration is not a one-way street”). That many refugees come from Muslim countries where homosexuality is discriminated against is a godsend for those queer fascists, allowing them to embrace the anti-Islam party line.
While we may be instrumentalised for their political gain (and not just online – see the AfD Plakat driven around Nollendorfplatz pitting gays against Muslims during the September Berlin elections, or the rainbow flags spotted at Berlin’s Islamophobic “Bärgida” demos), history has proven that queers aren’t far down the list to be thrown under a bus. So are we really sticking together? The election of Trump has unleashed a real wave of nervousness, angst and unease, even among us liberal Berliners. I just hope that people’s, especially queers’, knee-jerk reaction isn’t to join what they think is the coming zeitgeist, or their fears surely will come true.