Hier ist die erste Testseite für das neue sec*-Magazin. Mal schauen wie wir das möglichst auch barrierefrei hinkriegen! Hier mal die 6 Unterkategorien!
We can hardly believe it ourselves, but you are actually holding the second issue of sec* magazine in your hands. After the first issue was published at the end of 2021, it was clear: sec* magazine NEEDED to have a second round. Since 2021 was quite a while ago and a lot of things have happened since then, here’s a little reminder of WHAT sec* magazine is all about.
sec* magazine was created in October 2020 as part of the iJuLa projects of ROOTS & ROUTES Cologne e.V.. sec* stands for intersectionality, for the overlapping identities that define us individually as human beings and make up how we deal with the world and how the world deals with us. We want to continue to provide a platform, especially for people of marginalized groups, through which they can tell their own stories and take up space with their opinions and views. The result is a sec* issue with a wide selection of contributions. In fact, the contributions are so diverse that even a short summary, which we actually wanted to give you here, is difficult. However, there is one small thing we can tell you before you start reading: it will be emotional; it will be serious; it will be interesting; it will be funny – really funny; it will be inspiring; and it will be entertaining. It’s just going to be downright bombastic. So there’s not much left to say. Sit back, get a cup of tea ready (but don’t spill it), snuggle up in your coziest blanket, and enjoy the second (digital, english) issue of sec*.
your sec* team
iJuLa – intersectional youth group in the neighborhood
The iJuLa project opens spaces to work artistically on intersectional issues: sexual and gender diversity/queerness, racism, the interaction of different form of discrimination – and we invite young artists to shape these spaces and fill them with life and ideas.
Over 30 young artists aged 16 to 26 form the iJuLa curatorship. Since the beginning of the project in 2020, accompanied and supported by the team of the RRCGN association, they have renovated and furnished an old industrial hall in a Zollstock backyard, and they have organized a wide variety of events there: from writing and painting workshops to drag shows and film nights to even an open cafe offer. iJuLa is even active beyond this space: for example, the self-published intersectional youth magazine sec* (which you are holding the second issue of already!) and the queer music fesitval “Koelnchella.” And, as a rule, you can attend all events free of charge.
You can also find more information about the projects and current events on Instagram @ijula.veedel and Facebook: facebook.com/ijula.veedel.
If you want to start your own cultural project or just want to get to know the people, feel free to write us a message or come to the plenum, which takes place every three weeks and where current projects are discussed.
You can read about what this space means for different participants on the next pages.
written by Niklas and Mehregan
The very first day I saw the salon chairs, unemployed for months, in the iJuLa-room, I decided to give them a job. But what?
With my Corona-born hairdressing knowledge and of course the input from YouTube videos and many experiments on my own hair, I was confident enough to share my knowledge.
In combination with the Hangout Cafe “Special Edition,” you can enjoy coffee and cake while color seeps into your hair. “Empowering Hairstyles” is there to try out hairstyles that maybe not every hairdresser wants to do because the hairstyle is not suitable “for women” or “for men.” Where you don’t just sit down on a stool and “let it happen,” but instead you can also decide in the moment or take the scissors or color brush yourself and just do it. A new haircut deserves bright colors. With the chemical magic of bleach and conditioner, any hair can become a beautiful canvas for vibrant color.
(written by Yasmin Hasan)
Koelnchella is more than just a festival.
Koelnchella is: Camp, glamp, queer or also gay, slay, okay
Koelnchella unifies all musical genres and tastes. (except for Techno)
🍑Ass shake🍑all day🕖
5️⃣0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ tons of ✨glitter✨
It is: an intersectional festival that fills a long-standing pothole in our Cologne cultural scene. In the summer of 2022, the long-awaited Koelnchella took place for the first time. In the summer of 2022, roughly 600 visitors popped their booties indoor and outdoor to a diverse stage program. It was immediately clear: we have to repeat this. No sooner said than done: in February 2023, Koelnchella Icy Prom offered visitors the opportunity to experience prom again. Packed with a varied stage program, such evenings are primarily about having fun, enjoying the program, and shaking that ass, but it’s also about more than that. It’s about self-determination, community care, support, and feeling comfortable. That’s why it is so important that events like Koelnchella exist. We will continue to try to change the cultural landscape of Cologne in a sustainable way, and if you don’t want to miss it and want to stay up to date, check us out on Instagram at: @Koelnchella
Arts & Crafts
The workshop is divided into Arts and Crafts. Right now the workshop is split into different themes with one theme every month.
In Arts, we learn artistic input over epochs or artists and apply this knowledge. There we swap ideas or share experiences with acrylics, watercolor, charcoal, ink or other materials.
In Crafts, we make many different things. Whether they be books and notebooks, rings and earrings. We learn how to work with various materials like clay and metal. And we try out all the trends.
(written by Yasmin Hasan)
„The kurzfilmklub organizes monthly thematic short film screenings with a special focus on films that depict different realities of life with an intersectional approach. We discuss amongst ourselves and with filmmakers in a cozy living room atmosphere. Admission & snacks are free! For regular updates, find us on Instagram at @kurzfilm.klub
(written by Jule)
At the end of November 2022, the iJuLa-Raum became a living room of the Hack family, celebrating Christmas in sweet harmony. With the exception of the usual small conflicts between Grandma Gertrude and her sons Heinrich Peinlich and Mr. Cringe, everything was appropriately tranquil until uNprEdiCTabLy the ex came by. When the christmas tree then also came out and eloped with Santa Claus (she/her), the situation escalated completely: the roast meat flew, Trudi sang “Ain’t your Mama” and it was time to the hand the stage over to the present Drag*Royalty. In the end, even Technisha danced in front of a sea of blue flames and it was clear to everyone: we need a sequel…
(written by Amelie)
What is it anyway? A place to connect, where everyone can share creative stuff and new ideas for projects. But also simply an opportunity to spend time together and get to know lovely people. Relaxing in the sun on the desk chairs with a drink in one hand and a delicious snack in the other. Then in winter, snuggling up on the sofa with a hot drink. There is always another delicious vegan cake or vegan pancakes to try and not only that, but also different artists enchant our ears with their DJ sets or a piano jam session. (Everything works via a donation basis)
(written by Aiyana)
Peepz & Places
On self-doubt and breaking away from patriarchal standards among flinta DJs.
Actually, I had prepared myself perfectly for my second big gig: Putting together playlists all night, playing through my set endlessly, and taking an extra look at the complex equipment that would be available later in the club. I was a bit excited, but on the surface I was just really up for a great night together with my friends and DJ-besties.
Once I arrived at the club, the good mood was unfortunately quite quickly gone. The planned DJ player wasn’t working, and there wasn’t enough time for our sound check. The sound technician didn’t seem to be interested in all that. Now, to play spontaneously and without any chance for a run on the conjured up, ancient stone-age players, seemed to be my problem alone in his eyes. Great. I hate stressful situations. The perfect breeding ground for old familiar insecurities… Did I have the hot cues saved correctly on my stick now? Is my set a bit too boring? Am I professional enough to play at such a huge venue? Will people think that I’m not worth the money I’m paying? A never ending loop…
So while I was standing there in the corner of the club, sipping my Coke in deep thought, I somehow managed to tear myself away from this negative vortex, so that the supportive feminist voice in my head could gain the upper hand again. Honestly, a large part of the fears in my head were fed solely by the strange standards that had manifested themselves in the DJ scene due to decades of dominating, patriarchal cis-hetero structures: harder, harder, more experimental, faster; always play the latest tracks, keep going for a long time, just don’t make any mistakes on the decks. And you should also have a complete idea of all the sound technology behind the equipment, it’s clear, otherwise it’s embarrassing. Standards that are to be questioned critically for obvious reasons (keyword gatekeeping), but with which flinta DJs like me are confronted with again and again – or still – in their self-perception and the perception of others. Enough of that! Instead of giving room to unfounded, patriarchally rooted self-doubt, we should rather fundamentally question what actually makes a good DJ, and how we want to party together.
First of all, I think a lot would be gained if the whole DJing thing was demystified a bit. Even if from time to time the involuntarily picked up or imposed skill talk of some male techno DJs echoes in my head, one should always realize that operating controllers and mixers requires a bit of leisure and practice, but is by no means witchcraft, the learning of which is reserved only for the tech-savvy gentlemen of creation. DJs should not have to be able to increase the BPM value of a track, nor should they have to take over the tasks of sound engineers. It’s much more important that they can feel confident in the rooms they DJ in with the great music selection they bring to the table. I mean, isn’t party making just about getting the vibe right for everyone involved and playing music that invites you to ace shake? Anything that could unsettle DJs and put them under pressure is completely counterproductive in my eyes. So artist care plays a very important role and should not be limited to providing drinks and guest list places – anticipating that DJs are not necessarily familiar with the technology provided, need support or need a short slot to test the equipment is also part of it. On the other hand, I just wish that the skills I have as a flinta DJ (yes, because I’m not completely incompetent) would be seen. I’m tired of being dismissed, discouraged, kept down and reduced. No more mansplaining sessions and grinning comments à la „only DJing with vinyl is real DJing“ or „whoever plays with a beat-sync-button is not a real* DJ“. Personally, I think it’s much more important that a DJ has a feel for the crowd, can bang out one great track after another, and creates a communal feeling in the club. I want to be able to lose myself while dancing and let go unconditionally. Whoever can do that is a good* DJ for me.
Creating safe spaces not only for revelers but also for DJs seems to be a concern for more and more flinta artists. In the post-Covid phase of reorganizing and reinventing, numerous flinta parties and collectives are sprouting up; more and more flinta individuals are starting to DJ and take their place at the DJ decks. The development of emerging party spaces is super, but should not make us forget that certain groups of people still face aggravating conditions when they decide to make it as a DJ or revolutionize the party world. Gatekeeping is real and the majority male, white lineups of Cologne’s big clubs speak volumes. If it’s not a party organized by Queers or Flinta, you look in vain for diversity.
In terms of barriers to entry for aspiring flinta DJs, as a white, female cis person, I have also had particular experience with the intersection of class and gender. DJing is time-consuming and costly. If you have regular access to a DJ controller and can practice for hours, it’s relatively easy and you can teach yourself how to DJ more or less easily with YouTube videos (beware, tutorials are unfortunately a bit of a maker alert again). It gets even easier if you are in a network of capable friends and acquaintances who already have the necessary skills to support you in learning. But not everyone can afford their own controller for 200 euros or more and regularly spend several hours playing a bit of music in addition to their studies and/or gainful employment. In addition, there are currently not so many professional flinta DJs, so it is also a small luxury to be in a circle of friends in which you can benefit from expertise and skill sharing.
Besides such hard access barriers as patriarchal booking structures and the resource problems, there’s another important point: the aforementioned internalized self-doubt, which prevents one or the other flinta person from even daring to dj and consider a presence in the club landscape as a serious activity. And that brings us back to the negative thought vortex from my little anecdote at the beginning of the text: Can I? Can I really become a DJ? Am I really serious about DJing or is it just a phase? Is it worth it to spend 200 euros on a controller when I don’t really want to do it professionally? Or will it gather dust in the corner of my room after two weeks because I’m too frustrated and have to concentrate on other things? If no one in your own environment is DJing, it’s hard to judge whether the whole thing really suits you and has perspective as a hobby. To all those who want to or have to listen to it, it should be said again at this point: Feel free to do something for yourself; after all, that’s what most DJ bros do. And no worries, the beat sync button as well as other small technical wonders are great little helpers and may be used for the start with pleasure without great shame.
So it’s super important that we Flinta look left and right every now and then in our processes of learning to DJ and organizing events, to bring along everyone who might want to be brought along. This is exactly why we need more places where skill sharing and networking can take place. Push each other, form gangs, break down barriers, offer newcomers a platform and take up space! Groups and events already exist that are doing important work for the community by creating these very spaces. On the next page we would like to introduce you to some of these collectives and party series from Cologne and the NRW area. See you there soon!
Idea and concept: Nikki & Jule Application: Jule
Nikki & Jule are part of the hyperlove collective | find us on Instagram @hyperlovecollective
Précey is a Cologne-based collective that aims to create space for female and non-binary DJs with its parties.
Instagram | @precey
E.P.I.Q., consisting of eight FLINTA DJs, is also based in Cologne and regularly hosts parties in various venues here. Check out their Instagram account, they also have super cool merch.
Instagram | @e.p.i.q.
Possee describe themselves as a space for visual and auditory forms of expression and want to act as a link in the queer, flinta and bipoc community with their events. A space for local artists from NRW.
Instagram | @aboutpossee
Spizy Events is a Cologne LGBTQIA* pop up party series featuring primarily trap, afrobeats, amapiano and dancehall.
Instagram | @spizy.events
The Make Out
At their queer parties in Cologne, The Make Out attaches particular importance to the fact that, in addition to good techno from flinta DJs, there is also plenty of space to chat, get to know each other and make out.
Instagram | @the.makeout
Revolting Queers is a party series in Aachen that regularly hosts events booking queer and FLINTA DJs. A safe space that wants to counter the patriarchal mainstream club culture.
Instagram | @revolting_queers
Get over it Collective
The all-female Get Over It Collective already exists since 2019 and has become a fixed institution for queers in the Düsseldorf party scene. The events of the collective mainly address trans & non-binary people, femmes and lesbians.
Instagram | @getoverit_collective
Wellness is a Wuppertal party series by queers for queers, dedicated primarily to experimental and genre-breaking club music. The organizers explicitly want to offer queers, trans and non-binary people, who have had little or no access to the club scene so far, a platform where you can try yourself out without judgment.
Instagram | @wellness.party
Qties is, as the name breaks down, a queer trans inter enby space. The collective organizes parties in Münster that explicitly address the LGBTQIA* community.
Instagram | @qties-collective
Ugly DJ Crew
Ugly DJ Crew describes itself with the slogan fatales femmes for dance and wants to be a network for FLINTA artists as a collective, which offers a lot of space for mutual support and exchange.
Instagram | @uglydjcrew
Elissar (she/they) identifies as a muslim trans* woman of color and is a community organizer. They work primarily in queer youth work and in the context of racism, migration and flight. Elissar focuses on empowerment and intersectionality and creates empowerment spaces for different target groups (e.g. trans* youth) or gives workshops on the mentioned topics in her freelance work. Since March 2023, she does trans* consultation for Bi_PoC at Rubicon e.V. in cooperation with baraka. She also volunteers to host a youth group for tin*Bi_PoCj in Cologne, and in her free time she reads about history and writes poetry about emotionality as well as her trans* identity or her life.
„The Border“ gives us a glimpse into the pain — triggered by the loss of family due to trans* identity — and the longing for something that was taken from her. (Content Warning!)
The second poem, „Harmony,“ is about Self Love and about acceptance and appreciation of one’s trans* body in a transphobic cis-heteronormative society.
But before we get to the poems, you will learn more about the project Kiki & t*.
Elissar started a project in May 2022 to provide a safer space for individuals who identify as:
- trans, inter, non-binary people (tin*) – meaning people who are on the gender non-conforming and/or genderqueer spectrum
- Black, indigenous, people of color, Jewish people (Bi_PoCj) – meaning people who have experienced racism and/or anti-Semitism
The project is called Kiki & t* and was funded until the end of 2022 by the Stadt Köln through the Jugendforum (Coach e.V.) as part of „Demokratie leben!“. Originally, the space was created at monthly meetings in the facilities of Coach e.V. or InHaus e.V.. In this context, space was first created for tin*Bi_PoCj in NRW for networking, but also for the exchange of experiences and peer strengthening. Over time, this empowerment space reached more and more tin*Bi_PoCj and showed just how important a safer setting is, so that even at the end of the project, the desire remained to start a follow-up project.
Since 2023, Kiki & t* has been promoted and further expanded as a regional project of Q_munity via InHaus e.V.. In the future, Kiki & t* will take place every first and third Friday of the month from 5 to 9 pm in Kalk. If you feel addressed and want to have a look, or if you need further information, please contact Elissar by mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out directly via the social media channel of Kiki & t* @kiki_and_t
And now about their poetry – dive in!
More than halfway through the clocks
My companions urging to put me in a Box
Leaves leaving their lovers
Children leaving their mothers
Let a wound heal
Let the fear sink
Let a flower drink
Let the heart feel
Day by day, taken off the wall
May by May, entering the Hall
Agony and pain, so usual
Love and fear, so mutual
Don’t leave her at the Border
There’s much that’s on the line
This disease becomes mine
Everything aching, nothing in right order
You haunt me in the nights
I wake up, drowned in tears
I’m seeking for the lights
But seems like hope disappears
What have you done?
You ripped all my pieces apart
I’m the beggar at the mart
And always on the run
All these stings, yet I’ll always love you
But I’m not ready
Not breathing steady
All these strings, almost cut through
Burning all my memories
Destroying all your treasuries
Trying to forget
But what if I regret?
Someday, I might cross that Border
To put everything in right order
Hello my dear
Your sweet soul felt broken
All the terror and pain spoken
But do not fear
You are safe now
I will watch over your spirit
Do you hear it?
This, your sacred vow
Swear, that you will take care
Your soul, so precious
Your body, so monoecious
Swear, that you will protect your heir
You, growing like a little plant
From the sands of an oasis
In the world’s driest places
You, a beauty of the Levant
Lock my love for you away
Your soul kept fighting
Your body as so inviting
So much Harmony in play
You have led me through the dark
You made me survive
In me, so much drive
A new chapter to mark
So much joy incoming
I feel grateful
I left the hateful
Accompany me for what’s upcoming
I love you my dear
And do not fear
you asked me if you could leaf through my notebook and read the poems in it and i was surprised myself that i said yes <3
a lilac-beach picnic, a rainy picnic and shyly standing next to each other because everything is so exciting
not wanting to go home because dancing and you while dancing are just so beautiful
when you kissed me under an umbrella on a balmy summer evening, and you were completely in love and i ran away screaming
I think I never felt so strongly that a meet-up was a date. I was naturally less nervous throughout the day, when we sat and lied together with music, white win, and a bit of sun. Can you please stop mentioning how much I’m shaking? Two years ago it was somehow the same and yet totally different. Now my hope was stronger. The night was longer and we were closer. Swapping sweaters and such. Cute cute. But suddenly too cold. So into the train with our bikes. Then getting to know your stuffed animal. The middle of a cold summer.
all the gay geese
Found a bag full of fresh BubbleTeas with two friends on our way home from Pride. First time drinking BubbleTea and been in love since ❥ Thanks to this grand discovery with my friends I had an amazing post-Pride afternoon!
Coming out in front of my queer besties
Playing succes with the T*I*gers, a really wild-guy-moment! The tranquility of not having to say anything, a truly meaningful experience <3
First time on stage for a Drag LipSync at a Drag workshop… w o w … something happened deep down inside me… + Bondiiiiing tiiiiiimeeee bonus <3
Kinky Christmas Dragshow Energy!! Pure joy and excitement!! I feel safe here.
You climb on a tree that’s fallen over and I realize how beautiful you are.
Waiting for the bus and cuddling.
Dreamy summertime butterfly outing. The blackberries are sweet here.
What the Fäct
(Content Note: this text deals with topics of sexual activity and heteronormativity)
What if intimacy and being in love doesn’t (necessarily) include sex? And does everything also need a fixed label?
I grew up in a very heteronormative environment. The topic “sexuality” was especially taboo in my childhood. Even in school, people didn’t think that their own (not hetero)sexual orientation should be taught to them in sexual education class. Why should it? Everyone who did not conform to the “norm” were simply a minority not worth talking about. At least that’s how it seemed to me personally.
When I first grew interested and considered my own sexuality, I went through so many options in my head. For a long time I stuck to the term “pansexual;” I fall in love with the person, not the gender. I was first confronted with the idea when my friends and I were on vacation and I felt drawn to a girl I saw there often. Until the day I heard someone call her name and heard her addressed with female pronouns, I didn’t know her gender or how she self-identified. It was irrelevant.
I could also identify with the asexual spectrum. For me, asexuality was predominantly the lack of interest in sex. I never had the desire for it; before and after my first experiences. This is not to say that I lack libido. Rather, it’s that my idea of being close to a potential partner or becoming intimate is different from other people’s. Emotional closeness is simply more essential to me, and it represents intimacy between me and someone better than a “successful” sex life Of course, you might ask yourself what intimacy means to you in the first place.
But it’s not called “the asexual spectrum” for nothing. Do I maybe first have to have a deep, intimate relationship with a person in order to feel sexual attraction? – Keyword: demisexuality.
Do I possibly feel romantic attraction differently just because I don’t feel sexual attraction per se? What do I even use to determine whether I am asexual? Do I have to meet certain “criteria” to be allowed to identify with that word? Society places great stock in simplifying a part of one’s self to one small word. Even in the queer community, I’ve come to feel like I always have to fit into a category. Meanwhile, I think labels are a societal concept that can help people understand their orientation better or even make it more tangible. If you only meet heterosexual people in your family, in your peer group, or school or other institutions, it can become especially easy to feel like you don’t belong. Being able to say that you can join a group of people who feel the same way and associate with the same keywords can give you an enormous surge of self-confidence.
Labels, however, also rationalize sexuality, especially for people who don’t have to deal with the issue personally. It results in black-and-white thinking that can make the terms “inflexible” in a sense. Asexuality does not preclude having a sex life, just as bisexuality does not preclude a preference for one gender over others. EBut to then elaborate on each term, to make it a spectrum, or even to keep adding new terms to it, is counter-intuitive in my opinion. I, and I think many others, cannot put my sexual orientation into one word. For me, it is an indescribable feeling that cannot even exist in the dictionary. After all, no one can look inside my head.
For my part, I’ve decided that I’m not going to have a label imposed on me, and that it’s okay to just be “not straight.” I don’t categorize my feelings.
(written by anonymous)
My third space between homesickness and wanderlust
(Content Note: this text deals with topics of racism)
Ascriptions from others often force us into clear and delimited cultural identities. Mostly, however, experiences lie somewhere between two categories – without any fault
Where do you come from? By far the most common question I have been asked in my life. And separate from the structural racism behind it or the actual intention to say Why are you here? You don’t fit in here visually, this question brings for me many other things into focus.
I usually answer with: my father is German, and my mom is Korean, although that was clearly not the question. But I know that this is the answer most people want to hear. But also the truth is that I don’t have an answer to this question. Where do I come from? What does it actually mean to come from somewhere? Where was I born? How do I look? Where do I feel at home? Where do I feel accepted?
I was born in Germany, but I don’t feel German. At least not only. If I were to go by the ascriptions other give me, then I must see myself as Korean. But I don’t feel that either.
One could say that I am Korean-German. Does the hyphen between Korean and German mean that I am both simultaneously? Or am I only half of each so that together I become whole again?
This double positioning, which ultimately means something lacking on both sides and which leads to the fact that I don’t really fit in anywhere, is addressed by Homi K. Bhabha.
Homi K. Bhabha, a theorist of postcolonialism, drafted the concept of hybridity and the possibility of the third space.
Until now, I did not understand hybrid beings as anything other than mythical creatures. And under the aspect of human/animal phantasms and hierarchizing of more human beings, hybridity is definitely a point that should be quickly put aside, especially with regard to racial ideology and anthropocentrism.
Homi K. Bhabha, however, speaks of human, identitarian hybridity. The hybrid transformation of several national identities in one human being. But that alone is not enough. It is about more. It is not about simply throwing two constructs, such as being German and being Korean, into a pot and mixing them together forcefully, but rather it is about consciousness, about creating a third space.
A space that stands above the ascriptions from others. A space that I alone determine, in which I alone decide how it feels to be Korean AND German. And a space in which I can escape this binary AND. A space in which I am ME. Exactly how I want to be.
And that can mean that on Tuesday evenings I eat spinach, potatoes, and fish sticks, and Wednesdays at noon I eat 떡볶이(Tteokbokki). And that can mean that I’m Korean in my empathy and thinking and German in my organization and (almost flawless) punctuality, but exactly that it should not be. Because the latter falls back into an area of conflict between culture and stereotypes that I don’t want to think about and won’t categorize myself into.
I like the thought that I can create my third room out of: Korean and German, Korean culture and German culture, ascriptions from others on being Korean and on being German, ascriptions and self-positioning.
My space, which is constructed from the very strong need to absolutely and finally belong somewhere, a wanderlust for a place that will never exist. And my space in which I feel homesick for a sense of home that is not split.
This space accepts for me why after three weeks in Korea, I have a strong sense of safety and being home and at the same time feel more foreign than I have ever felt in my life.
And this space also accepts that in Germany, in my closest familiar environment, I sometimes feel quite empty and lonely.
So where do I come from? I would like to discard this question and, like Taiye Selasi concluded in her TED-Talk, not ask the question where I come from, but instead where do I feel safe.
And I can answer this question very well.
I feel safe in the house I grew up in, with the people, the smells in the kitchen, and having dinner together at the table. I feel safe when I ride my bike home after university along the University’s main street and can watch the taillights shining and hear the cars honking. I feel safe when I come home to my shared apartment and the place smells like laundry and rice. I feel safe when I can lay in the arms of my partner and know that I am accepted and loved exactly as I am. I feel safe when I can share my pain with my friends and companions, and we fight together for a better society. I feel safe right now as I sit on my bed and write. And for now, that’s exactly where I feel safe and that’s totally okay. And it is totally okay that I don’t feel safe in a lot of other moments or the same moments at the same time.
And so I want to ask you: where do you feel safe?
(written by Nabi Wenke)
(Content Note: this text deals with topics of femicide, oppression, misogyny and violence)
Khazar Bagheri gives an overview of the beginning of the revolution in Iran – and why everything here in Germany is nevertheless somehow business as usual
Monday, 05.12.22 – 80 days have now passed since the Iranian government perpetrated another round of countless femicides. The 22-year-old Zhina Amini, called „Mahsa“ by the Iranian government, was arrested in Tehran because of her hijab not fitting „properly.“ Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, female-read people in Iran have been deprived of their human rights. Iran’s „morality police“ roam the country’s streets, arbitrarily arresting women and girls who do not comply with the mullahs‘ misogynistic restrictions. Zhina was taken to the hospital by the guard, fell into a coma, and succumbed to her injuries on September 16, 2022.
This initially sparked a major uproar in Saqqez, a city in Kurdistan province. When Zhina was buried, Kurdish women took off their headscarves to show their solidarity with her and their resistance against the fascist Iranian regime. This was to be the beginning of a revolution. That the Kurdish slogan „Jin, Jiyan, Azadi“ is now shouted worldwide is no coincidence. It finds its origin in the Kurdish Workers* Party and was already shouted when the Women’s Defense Units of the YPJ were fighting against IS in Rojava, Syria. So the translation of the slogan into Farsi „Zan, Zendegi, Azadi“ is not new at all and rests on the shoulders of Kurdish women*. It is based on the decades-long struggle for visibility. The Kurdish people were born to resist. Kurdistan’s history of oppression by Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria led to an unshakable rebellion. The Iranian government is very aware of this. For this reason, it tried with all its might to prevent a public funeral ceremony in Saqqez. From there, protests spread throughout the country. And now Iranians all over the world are protesting for a free, democratic Iran and against the fascist, misogynistic Iranian regime. People have long been talking about an „Iranian revolution,“ ignoring the diversity of ethnicities. Rather, this is a revolution of the Luri, the Bakhtiars, the Baluchis – just to name a few. Members of these ethnic groups are subjected to particularly heinous brutality by the regime. They are made invisible.
This is also evident at protests and demonstrations in this part of the world. Various Persian flags are waved. Most often, the lion is shown with the rising sun as well as a crown as a symbol for the monarchy. Many speakers call Zhina’s Persian name „Mahsa“. The Iranian government does not allow ethnic groups, such as the Kurds, to have names in their native language. This is also reproduced in the Iranian community of Germany. Kurdish and Iranian demonstrations also take place at different times.
This contrasts with the attention in the German media. Only three days after the death of Zhina Amini, the Tagesschau reported on the case. Coverage in the following months was repeatedly dominated by Iranian government propaganda. ARD-Brennpunkt broadcast a program on the subject 40 days after Zhina Amini’s death.
And then there’s Joko and Klaas giving away their Instagram profiles to two Iranian activists. Big drum roll! And then, very slowly, everything dies down again. I don’t even want to start talking about politicians at this point.
Why is it like this? I wrestled with this question for a long time until I finally found an answer. It’s called cultural relativism.
Certain ethical values and norms are regarded as supposedly universally valid or universal. However, there is a tendency to value them differently depending on the culture. This means that one denies certain ethical principles to another culture or community. One operates under the condition that in other communities certain points, such as human rights being disregarded, are a given. This can be described very well by the saying „Other countries, other customs“.
Those who deal with the topic of Iran will certainly find out why there are no effective measures on the part of German and international politics to sanction the Iranian government. Nuclear deals, oil, weapons… the list goes on.
For me personally, a Cologne native with Iranian roots, the resonance in the community and in feminist circles plays a special role. Here I noticed the phenomenon of cultural relativism very clearly. Statements like „There is so much happening in the world“ and „It’s so bad what the mullahs are doing there“ show excessive demands, but also the certainty that one „can’t take care of everything.“
And so everything takes its course. You wake up in the morning, go to work, meet your friends, buy groceries, go work out, while a revolution is taking its course in Iran. Another „uprising“ somewhere in the Middle East. Where was it again? Iraq? Syria? Afghanistan? Who knows. You just can’t take care of everything.
(written by Khazar Bagheri)
(written by Farah Saad und Parissima Taheri)
The influence of structural discrimination is largely ignored in psychosocial jobs and education
It excludes, among others, BIPOCs, and thus must change
This article is not intended to explain racism in psychosocial jobs. Fortunately, there are many great writers, podcasts, anti-racism trainers, and filmmakers, who focus extensively on racism. Support their work and find out where to find these resources before you ask for free education from BIPoC people. In this article, we assume that the reader has a basic understanding of racism as a structural phenomenon. To make this article more readable, a glossary explaining main terms is included at the end.
We are Parissima Taheri (Black women, psychologist) and Farah Saad (Woman of Colour, clinical social worker), and we are behind the initiative We Are Vienna Too, a platform for the mental health of BIPoC. Within this framework, we hold workshops in safer spaces as well as give talks and sometimes write articles about the intersection of mental health and experiences of racism. As BIPoC in psychosocial professions, we speak from personal experience as clients of white psychotherapists, as students in white institutes and as practitioners with BIPoC clients. All three areas of our experiences continuously led us to the question: For whom are mental health services designed?
Psychosocial professions do not exist in a power vacuum; they are riddled with structural dimensions, like racism, queerphobia, other -ims, etc. The structural dimension of racism in psychosocial professions is double-edged: on the one hand, it is rarely acknowledged, and yet, on the other hand, it often serves as a hook for passivity.
When and how is race and racism addressed in our education? They were mentioned seldom, if at all. Yet various practitioners and researchers have named many of our experiences. These are being increasingly introduced into the education and practice in the US. Indeed, the design of racism in psychosocial practice is increasing in the US, though there is much occurring in the research and design-work in the German-speaking world. This is further to emphasize that racism is by no means a US phenomenon, but is also present here in Austria and Germany.
In this respect, not addressing the issue – perhaps even hoping not to acknowledge racism as a problem– is by no means a solution. The systematic silence contributes to the reproduction of these structures. Consequently, entire generations of psychosocial practitioners are not trained to work with affected clients, and many people are unable to access diverse mental health services. Again, the question arises: For whom are mental health services designed and accessible?
The structural level of racism, although often disregarded, is often interpreted as a shift of responsibility: responsibility is projected from the individual (racist therapist or unreflective lecturer at the university) onto the large and unspecific “system” that appears unchangeable and, in the worst case, is accepted precisely because of its apparent rigidity. Thus, those held accountable are neither the course director who “pushes” a course on racial critical competence, nor the professors who still teach a white-centered curriculum, nor the psychologists who have not had to critically engage with their profession due to their white privilege. When we as BIPoC bring attention to this during counseling or treatment with clients, often we are either not taken seriously, or gaslighted, or told it was a misunderstanding. All of this contributes to racial trauma and can re-traumatise, as it is usually not the first discriminatory experience. Thus, BIPoC often stop therapy early or never even start. We correctly recognize that we cannot be helped here; these psychotherapists have never dealt with the realities of our lives.
Every person who is active in the field of psychosocial work should critically analyze who competent they currently are to work with certain people (or groups) and realities of life. For example, psychosocial professions also do not feel competent to work with people suffering from addiction if they have never dealt with the issue of addiction before. Why is racism any different? Here it is necessary to position oneself against the common “color blind” concept – a step that has long been necessary, especially in psychosocial professions. Yes, we are all people; there is no biological explanation of differences, but race is a social category that, although constructed, has very real effects on access to resources. In this respect, it is imperative to recognize racism and to embed it thematically in training. So again we come to the question: For whom are mental health services designed? Should psychosocial professionals actively fight for resources and the inclusion of BIPoC clients in their work? Is it even feasible when there are so few psychosocial practitioners critical of racism? We need to further expand our understanding of psychosocial work; this is especially true for services of groups of people who do not belong to the “norm,” i.e. people affected by racism, classism, ableism, sexism, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination. This includes healers of all kinds and various self-organized community spaces. Do you know where an Indigenous energetic practitioner is, to whom you can refer a client? Do you know of community spaces for black youth, where your clients can collectively process? Do you know BIPoC therapists who address racism and transgenerational trauma? Do you know QTBIPoC spaces that serve as safe spaces for individuals suffering from the intersection of queer hostility and racism? Do you know authentic, trauma-sensitive yoga teachers who are not just culturally appropriating yoga? It’s time.
1 BIPoC: Black, Indigenous and People of Color is a self-designation of people who experience racism.
2 race: unlike in German, race is not a biological concept of „race“. Underlying the concept is that although it is a social construction, it has real social, societal, political implications. For example, who is disadvantaged by racism?
3 Gaslighting: a method of psychological manipulation aimed at fundamentally confusing the victim and calling into question one’s reality. In this context, this could be, for example, denying BIPoC their experiences and persuading them that they are only oversensitive or telling themselves that they are.
4 Color blind: Describes the ideology that all people are equal and therefore should be treated equally. However, people have completely different experiences because of race, among other things. Color blindness thus hides structural disadvantages and is another tool to ignore these discriminations and thus maintain the racist status quo.
5 QTBIPoC: stands for Queer Trans Black, Indigenous, People of Color.
Overcoming discriminating structures requires more than identifying the right and the wrong thing.
(Content Note: this text deals with topics of discrimination)
(written by Alina Volynkin)
Growing together only works with an open constructive approach towards making mistakes and different learning processes.
This text is for you if you’ve already thought to yourself: “Wow sec*team, you’re all so cool! (that part – approved) I would love to hang out with you and join your projects but I probably don’t have anything to contribute, I definitely don’t know as much as you do and would be scared to say the wrong thing…” (and THAT miiiight be problematic.)
Problematic – great term to dive into this chaotic topic. It really is a gift from the queerfeminist community that all those things that have always been affecting us now finally rise to the surface and are being called out as problematic. All those things that we didn’t even know were making our or other people’s lives more difficult. We were taught by patriarchal, white, supremacist structures that it’s normal to be unsatisfied if people say “German” after being asked about their nationality. Most likely we’ve become blind towards other people’s issues due to our own privileges – and the queerfeminist community puts emphasis on exactly that. Raising awareness. Intersectionality.
People in this bubble seem to get everything right. Safe Space for everyone! Gender-inclusive language, you don’t have to explain your identity, everyone knows and nobody is mean to you. Your feelings are always valid, you can do everything you want as long as you are respectful towards others.
But what kind of paradise must the queerfeminist bubble be if the people there consider all marginalized groups equally, recognize and work against racist, queerphobic, sexist, classist, and ableist behaviour and thought patterns, always use the right pronouns and politically correct language, elaborate knowledge about politics all around the world, create a safe space with communication as an important keyword and at the same time look so fucking cool? How does that work?? And the more important question: What if I can’t do all of that? Am I… problematic then?
Oftentimes, I catch myself wanting to just not say anything rather than risking to say the wrong thing. Maybe I missed something very essential in my input on the Mideast conflict. Something that I should have known and considered. I keep asking myself why queerfeminist spaces are not a safe space for me, despite all the effort. Why do I feel better in a group full of white cis-hetero people (who are willing to learn)? Well, in that group I am probably the one who knows more than anyone else. I am the one who can point out mistakes that others make. In this group I cannot discriminate against anyone myself and if I did, nobody would notice. I realize how awful and evil that sounds. Nevertheless I have to admit to myself that this thought lives in my head due to my fear of making mistakes.
To that I say: Fuck that! In this society nobody is free from discriminating presumptions and the lack of knowledge in certain topics. But I am one of those people who actively wants to create a safe space for marginalized people we don’t have in our society as a whole. And the real danger to this safe space isn’t that I forget to consider an aromantic perspective when talking about dating. It is to give in to the fear and comfort and therefore not connect with people, to get to know new perspectives and inform oneself about new things.
The funny thing is that I notice small mistakes or stuff that I see as problematic very fast with other people. There’s a German word for gynecologist which translates to “woman’s doctor” – for example when someone uses that word, it really stands out to me. And don’t get me wrong, it is very important and oftentimes helpful to point out other people’s mistakes to them. But how practical is it to always see everything with Problematic-glasses on and to constantly wait for the next mistake someone makes? Isn’t that also behaviour that originates from fear, insecurity, and comfort? An attempt to make yourself feel and appear more informed, more competent, and just better than the other person?
What would my world look like if I showed up with more acceptance and understanding for my own and consequently for other people’s learning process and instead normalized making mistakes? At this point I want to point out that people who are strongly and/or multiply affected by marginalization should be given the space to not react in an accepting or understanding manner to other people’s learning processes if it triggers and discriminates against them.
But I rarely see people in the queerfeminist bubble talking about their own mistakes and learning experiences. Isn’t that what’s most important – showing that we’re just human? That we’re not those divine creatures that know everything about every societal and political issue? And therefore, that if you don’t really know why the term “Frauenärzt:in” or “woman’s doctor” is problematic, or why even as a cis person you should also let other people know your pronouns – that’s okay. Lack of knowledge doesn’t make you problematic. Lack of knowledge gives you the chance to learn – and this learning process should be the focus of the queerfeminist community, not this fake final state of knowing everything, which cannot be reached anyways and only causes people to avoid dealing with those important topics. Not to mention that knowledge is a luxury good that not everyone of us has or has had access to their entire lives.
So, dear reader, who maybe relates a little bit: Let’s look at the mistakes we made and the ones we will make as opportunities to learn and grow and not as determinants that make us problematic. Let’s tell our friends about new stuff we learn about instead of acting as if we’ve always known that. And above all, let’s appreciate how much we’ve already learned and improved up to this point!
In this sense: stay curious and don’t be too hard on yourself! You’re doing great.
Pavel’s experience of institutional homophobia and queer protest awakening
(written by Pavel Kroshko)
A huge number of queer people in Russia suffer from institutional and domestic violence. Psychologically and physically violent acts are spread throughout a person’s life: they occur in the early stages of life via social imprinting by parents, during active family and school socialization, and at the stage of adulthood in groups of colleagues or random encounters. An unexpected metaphorical or physical hit can come at any time or from any person, or because of behavior that is seen as unconventional. I will try to talk about it in connection to my queer experience in Russia.
I’d like to point out in advance that my experience of being queer doesn’t even describe half of the horrors experienced by the LGBTQ+ community in the more queerphobic regions of Russia, such as small towns or those closer to the Caucasus. Nevertheless, here I will talk about my own experiences, how ideas about my own identity have changed, and in what circumstances I have to live them now.
My provincial childhood and high school days can generally be described as relatively free from physical violence. But it was during those years that internalized homophobia, masculinity and other social imperatives began to set in. I was framed and thus disconnected from myself by the ongoing matchmaking with girls in kindergarten, the macho-jokes made by classmates whose harshness grew with age, the discussion of „faggots“ and how they were treated, the comments on my appearance, which seemed somewhat „gay“. Starting in elementary school I would condemn myself for thinking about relationships with men (*I didn’t know anything about the gender spectrum then). I hated myself after every such thought; I forced myself to be interested in the girls in my class. Towards the end of high school, I was told more and more to thank my mother and father for not being born a dove (*dove means blue what refers to gay community), I received more and more slurs and slanted looks, my feelings of being an outcast grew.Thankfully though,I had friends in whose company I felt completely accepted, and it turned out later this was due to our shared queerness. We were referred to as the “lesbian and gay” group despite the fact that none of us even defined our own identity in any way. Harassment stories were piled up in our sister-brother-hood, we outlined our identities and developed our own opinion and understanding of the situation using only our experiences because we could not find any other representation of people like us in the environment. This brought us together and allowed us to feel at least somewhat included and heard.
It so happened that soon after moving in the friends who came to Moscow with me had a coming-out – to the extent that they would talk about it. This gave me even more confidence and a sense of security. At the same time, those strict gender/sex staples I grew up with began to bend until I kicked up such a fuss that they started to break down. Internalized homophobia was gradually being replaced with acceptance. This was certainly helped by various organizations that spoke openly about queer life in the capital and tried in every way to organize a community. The first trips to clubs where sexuality-gender-race-etc-inclusive rhetoric reigned was a real revelation. And for a while, because of them, I was in a near-depressive state – other people felt totally open and in touch with themselves, but I could not experience that at all. I still remained in homophobic fetters. As time passed, I gained more and more confidence that I was not defective, and I immersed myself in exploring my gender and sexual identities. Along with the growth in my self-understanding, my awareness of cases of non-acceptance, rejection, and violence also grew. I began to emerge from this bubble I carefully constructed long ago into the information field. This knowledge was causing me a tremendous sense of discord and a desire to rectify this situation.
Over the years, I began to develop in an area far removed from my academic major (economics), namely art practices. I worked as an apprentice with the queer non-binary artist Gena Marvin, who works in a performative vein using intimidating imagery and drag. All of this reflected her experience of being queer, which amplified her fears, which she broadcasted to her audience. And that people reacted with anger and violence to our public performances is a symptom of Russia’s severe societal illness. As our experiences of public and individual aggression increased, so to did my rejection of traditionalism, right-wing politics, gagging and violence. The torture of gays in Chechnya, the arrests of queer activists, so called “gay propaganda laws,” the denial of the existence of gays in Caucasian regions, the silencing of cases of queer violence, the denigration of the LGBTQ+ community on federal channels — all of this caused a lot of backlash and protest within me. My everyday practices of resistance were built on this. I decided for myself – or rather, it happened intuitively – that my art would be clothed in a constant struggle and a manifestation of painful symptomatology. I decided that provocation, „theater of violence,“ was the most appropriate way to work with the material at hand, which was already a commonplace for many queer artists, contemporary or not.
I began to do more projects about me and my perception of the world order. After Gena’s apprenticeship, I began to use the same methods I did during the workshops of manifesting my sense of self through performance. Performance became a typical form of both presentation and reflection on reality. A few days after the news broke that the Russian government wanted to strip the already limited rights of the LGBTQ+ community by introducing a relevant law. I had a horrible dream of inhuman violence committed on my close friends. I realized that this dream needed to be turned into a performance. We started a whole exhibition devoted to living with the queer experience in Russia. We gathered the remaining queer artists of Moscow, we did everything we could to make it happen, but time was short, and venues refused to show such themes for fear of being repressed by the state. All this was exacerbated by the fact that after Russia unleashed a full-scale war against Ukraine, the phenomenon of freedom of speech had lost any sense at all inside the country, and therefore no organizations were taking on any kind of protest projects.
The law went into effect, and the exhibition fell through. The only platforms for expression that remain safe are instagram,foreign platforms, and magazines. So next I want to share with readers my art project that continues to focus on the idea of disapproval of absurd laws that destroy people’s lives. The idea for this project came when the state speakers mentioned the following: „no one is prevented from doing their own thing at home, but propaganda is now against the law, not only for children, but for all citizens of Russia“ — this is the law the state speakers came to us with before the new year. This or similar phrases are an outgrowth of Russian government homophobes who try to pander to the queer community while hypocritically inventing meaningless restrictions for the community, protecting „normal people“ from their influence. This digital 3D work, called „The House Where You Can“ is an activist project that spotlights how such laws function. Systemic homophobia expresses itself not only in permitting and legitimizing violence against queer people, but also in legally enshrining their hierarchically unprotected position. Avoidance, indifference, and institutional poking of homophobia produce hatred, and minimal tolerances in domestic practices do not spare further potential repression even within families or partnerships themselves. And it has to be stopped.