Speech Seebrücke

Hi, I’m Nicol, from Seebrücke Dresden. We stand up for the needs of refugees – fair asylum procedures, good housing, communes voluntarily taking in more people than they are legally obliged to, the right to being a part of society. Basically, we keep the utopia in our hearts, that every human is allowed to live wherever they feel safe and at home.

The EU increasing the asylum laws makes the practice of all of this once again much harder. The reform of the GEAS law contradicts a healthy, pluralistic society and threatens especially intersectionally affected people, like for example queer refugees. In Germany, we have a pretty good standard by international comparison. We have a representative for queer topics in the Bundestag and a plan of action to stop discrimination and improve the live standards of queer people. This is a result of long, tiring fights of the queer community. Those fights are not over, neither here nor anywhere else. And we can and should share our privileges with those who seek refuge coming from places like Afghanistan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Belarus, Russia, Morocco, Egypt, United Arab Emirates etc…

Though these countries are officially as safe home states, our queer peers over there are fighting for their most basic rights. Freedom of Speech, openly living their sexuality, living in their true gender. Even when the country is peaceful, queer people still often have good reasons to flee. For example, them getting hunted because of religious or societal views. Some have to fear for their lives.

For us, the solution looks quite simple in theory – “I can’t be who I am here – so I’ll go somewhere else and be happy there.” This human right is ex- instead of inclusive, sadly.

But up until now there is a right to asylum. Of course queer people can seek refuge in the EU. Because queerphobia in their home country, socieaal atmosphere there and personal affection are crucial for the decision, if they get asylum or not. In theory, this is a hopeful law. But what changes, now that the GEAS law gets reformed?

Here’s an example: You’re a young trans person from one of the 46 openly queerphobic countries in Africa. You have to fear for your life when you leave the house or talk about your queerness. So you flee your country, taking the route via the Meditteranean Sea. Arrive in Italy. Get greeted with 12 weeks of detention. During this time, offices check how many refugees from your country have been accepted and were allowed to stay. If the percentage is lower than 20%, someone is going to tell you: “Sorry, you’ll have to go back. We know where you came from, and we don’t care about your reasons to come here.” Where do you go then? Back home?

That’s not your decision anymore.

There is just one single condition to deport people to transit states or so-called “safe neighbore states”. The country must agree to take the human back. What that looks like in practice, is every country’s own decision. In our example, the transit state would be Italy with their current right-wing government.

For other transit states, like Lybia, this is an easy way to make money. This means: The people are being systematically deported into camps, that could not be any less human. All of that is paid for by the EU.

At the same time, there is still no solution in Germany on how to distribute the arriving people. There’s no plan for longterm job funding for people who take care of refugees, who help them with finding flats, etc. Those people work voluntarily right now. But this is extremely important work, because initial reception facilities are not always safe. Expecially queer people are excessively affected by violence.

All of this sounds like politics by AfD and CDU. But Nancy Faeser from the SPD also agreed to the reform, she views it as necessary compromise between the EU states. Even though 700 lawyers wrote an open letter against the creation of this lawless state.

I know, the outlook is dull and the right-wing conservative world view is crushing. But we live democracy, we fought for a lot of queer rights and we cannot give up now. Let’s stand together, and open our social systems for all affected people. Be colourful, be loud and most importantly, be demanding. Let’s make space for everyone who doesn’t get the privilege to fight for their own rights. Let’s stay strong.