|What has actually changed for Gay People in Germany in 2019?|
by Constantin Jacob in Lifestyle & Fashion , 20 February 2020
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Welcome to The New Age! A new decade has begun! While trying to get the New Year’s Eve confetti out of my hair and bravely trying to get to the end of my “Dry January” resolution, there is finally time to review the past year.
In the end, this time of contemplation and resolutions is never as contemplative as it is sold to you. Those who found time for reflection in between Christmas celebrations, family visits and the obligatory “We definitely have to see more of each other in 2020” can pat themselves on the back.
With the start of the new Twenties, the feeling of a new chapter resonates. The spirit of optimism in this country seems to be on an imaginary starting line, waiting for everything to get better and different. What has built up between 2010 and 2019 in terms of climate debates, political events and social change should finally bear fruit. We have certainly not achieved all our goals yet, but this contagious enthusiasm is hopeful.
But what actually has changed in 2019 for gay people? The news about the reimbursement of PrEP by statutory health insurance companies was probably overshadowed by the breaking news of the panda baby in Berlin and the rescue of three hundred sheep near Dortmund.
Only those who paid close attention know that since September 1, 2019, this precautionary measure, which is subject to a charge, has now been available on prescription. In addition to the actual medication, this also includes regular STD screenings. Only the prescription fee of a maximum of ten Euros still needs to be paid.
Up to this point, German health insurance companies had not agreed on how to deal with this. Is it important? Is it optional? Is it even necessary? Until the medication was approved by the health care system, people had to dig deep and pay for the treatment themselves. Repeating this every three months would indeed by a very expensive treatment in order to take care of your own health. The decision to support and reimburse PrEP now sends a positive signal in the German health care system. In 2015, France demonstrated pioneering work as the first European country to recognize PrEP, four years later, gays in Germany can also look forward to progress.
We can only hope that a rethink will take place in the consciousness of the community. Because while the application of the medication shows success, in contrast, the number of victims of other venereal diseases is on the increase, as an Australian study shows. A goal for the next year could be to increase the understanding that a condom is part of sex despite PrEP. For Germany, it is the opportunity to reinforce this message in the expected increased population of PrEP users.
Another step towards strengthening gay and lesbian rights came at the end of the year: The bill prohibiting conversion treatment was passed and is meant to stop these medieval methods of “re-education.” In Germany, there are still more than enough people and groups that view homosexuality as a psychological disorder that is curable. The lasting consequences of these treatments are devastating for the victims and systematically destroy people. The approved law still has its weak points, as the Lesbian and Gay Association of Germany indicated, but it is essential for putting a stop to the prevailing homophobia.
In the first draft, for example, an exception was made for young people between sixteen and eighteen years of age, but this was stricken before it was adopted. The following questions were raised: Why should conversion therapy be allowed in exceptional cases? Are there different types of being gay? Is one version better than the other? Why is there a distinction between minors and adults? These considerations show how rigidly and old-fashioned homosexuality is dealt with in many areas. If you missed seeing the movie “Boy Erased,” you should watch this as it deals with the same subject matter.
Despite all the questions and necessary improvements, Germany could take on a pioneering role in Europe if mid-2020, the planned date of the law coming into effect, will happen without a glitch. A commendable step that we see as an opportunity and one that should not be ignored. Many have planned it, but so far, Malta is the only European country to have implemented it. So, the signs are good for Germany to be the first country to reach the finish line, instead of chasing after everyone else and half-heartedly saying: “We did it as well now!” If so, the first steps into the new decade would be of great importance. Certainly, there is hope!
Constantin Jacob is our new German correspondant, who at times writes about things he notices
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