i’m noel and i’m here today as part of Que(e)r einsteigen. We are a working group from the mlu [martin-luther-university halle-wittenberg] that focuses on queer issues. We organise a series of events every year, that offers queer people a place to network. The queer treff [queer meetup] has been active for a year now and is also active in university politics. we were asked if we would like to speak here today and we would like to thank you in advance.
(I would like to state a potential trigger warning as this speech will mention queer-hostile violence.)
another year in the pandemic, another year of social distancing. another year in the digital transition of our everyday lives.
is it just me, or do negative messages online feel even worse when a large part of your everyday life is online too? for an art project i’m collecting screenshots of all instagram stories with queer-hostile messages that are shown to me, and i can tell you, at some point i worry about my disk storage space. The fear for queer people in afghanistan, the fear for queer people in ukraine who are supposed to be registered on lists. The verbal attacks on Tessa Ganserer, a self-proclaimed support organisation for queer people, making fun of neopronomes, people who are dying because of the ban on abortions in poland. in florida, queer students will have to be outed to their families by teachers in the future and again and again people are hurt or killed because they are queer. again and again i feel torn between the desire to be informed and the feeling that it is all too much and that i would prefer to switch everything digital off.
But there is another side to it: finding an online community. again and again we have new faces in the online queer meetup; people who are looking for like-minded people. and again and again there is a new name under familiar faces, new pronouns, one sees a new pride flag in the camera background because the pandemic has given them the opportunity to question things for which there was no time before.
with all the networking on the net, the moments are all the more beautiful when we meet for the first time without a screen between us, ask at the new queer salon (thanks for that!) if we wouldn’t know each other from online plena, recognise faces next to us in the vegetable section of the supermarket or wave at each other across the street – and to know that we are not alone. because there is a community: We are not alone! knowing there are others who experience similar things, we can advice each other, comfort each other, laugh together and complain about the same shit.
with this in mind, i am here at the demo today saying let’s start to know each other now so we can get to know each other better, later. let’s network, form alliances and lay the foundations to fight together in solidarity. all for all. because how nice it is to know that you are not alone in your affair. march 8 is everyday and our efforts don’t end tonight, but just begin. We stand together – because feminism is good for everyone. for you, for me, for her, it, xier, him, them, and everyone else.