On August 27 and 28, 2021, Bremen’s Christopher Street Day (CSD) will take place. To mark the event, the University of Bremen annually raises the rainbow flag in front of the VWG Building (Central Administration). By doing this, the university is standing up for diversity and against homophobia and transphobia. Students of cultural studies have looked at the identity and daily lives of queer persons in accordance with the university’s mission statement. One of the things that came from this is an exhibition that makes the queer community visible.
With demonstrations for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans, inter, and queer persons - in short LGBTQIA+ persons, as well as against discrimination and exclusion, the annual CSD parade reminds us of the gay and lesbian protests against police violence on Christopher Street, New York, in June 1969. The parade at the time was mainly initiated and carried out by queers and queer activists of color. In Bremen, a yearly demonstration, which is connected to an earlier tradition, has been in existence since 2017. The first CSD events in Germany in 1979 took place in Berlin, Cologne, and Bremen.
Flying the Flag
In line with its mission statement, the university stands for sexual and gender diversity. The aim is to create a wholly inclusive campus. This also entails fighting discrimination. In 2019, the University of Bremen decided to fly the rainbow flag in front of the administrative building to mark CSD - thus at the end of August each year. This is a visible sign: “I am pleased about this display of openness and the solidarity shown by our university towards the issues addressed by Christopher Street Day - it is a strong reflection of our diverse orientation,” says Eva-Maria Feichtner, Vice President International.
Making the Queer Community Visible
Students of cultural studies at the University of Bremen took a look at queer life during the summer semester 2021. Under the title “LGBTwho+,” they investigated discrimination, stereotyping, and privileges, but also the very personal experiences of queer people. One of the things that came from this was a window exhibition, videos, and a blog. In order to make unknown terms and expressions understandable, they also created a lexicon.
“With this project, we want to make the queer community visible and challenge all observers to take a look at their own prejudices,” says Monique Rosenberger, the project’s press officer. “That is why we address topics such as discrimination, stereotyping, and privileges. With our exhibition in the city, we also want to reach out to interested persons outside of the queer community.” The exhibitions can still be seen in the windows and on the blog.
You can find more information on anti-discrimination and diversity at the University of Bremen here.