Rainbow flags adorn the shop windows of the shops on Nollendorfplatz these days. Bars and cafés around Motzstraße have decorated to match the Pride month. But while there are numerous places to go out for queer adults, there is a lack of contact points for children and young people in the neighborhood.
That could change soon, however, because the state of Berlin promised 100,000 euros for a third queer youth center in Berlin in the recently approved double budget, and last week the Greens parliamentary group Schöneberg-Tempelhof applied for the district to apply for it.
The district office should actively approach queer organizations when preparing a corresponding concept and involve them in the planning, according to the Greens application. For example, a collaboration with the queer band project of the Leo Kestenberg Music School would be conceivable, according to the paper. A first interim report should be submitted to the district assembly by the end of the year at the latest, with completion planned for June 2023.
The motion has now been forwarded to three committees, which will vote on it and make a recommendation after the summer break. It then goes back to the plenary, where it is either placed directly on the list for resolutions or voted on again. So far there are two queer youth centers in Berlin in Mitte and Pankow.
So far, Tempelhof-Schöneberg only has the group Q-Kollektiv – a monthly meeting place for queer young people, where excursions, self-defense courses and dance courses are offered. According to the parliamentary group, the creation of a queer youth center would offer various advantages. There is a fixed place, “a safe space, in which children and young people are offered a reliable contact point that they can visit flexibly in terms of time and if necessary.”
Elias Joswich, spokesman for queer politics for the Günen parliamentary group, says about the item for a youth center included in the budget: “We are using this opportunity in Tempelhof-Schöneberg to strengthen queer youth work in southwest Berlin.” that the concept is only a first step and that the district assembly is clearly in favor of a youth center.
“We want to create a permanent place, a safe space, in which children and young people are offered a reliable contact point,” agrees Yasmin Vadood, spokeswoman for women’s politics. “Here you will always find a sympathetic ear and offers of help.”
A study by the German Youth Institute from 2019 shows how important such safe spaces are: More than 1,700 queer young people between the ages of 14 and 27 were asked how they spend their free time and how their environment reacts to their being queer.
This showed that many young people experience discrimination in their free time; leisure time but at the same time offers the opportunity to search for shelters in a targeted manner. The study highlighted the importance of queer youth centers, with almost every third respondent attending a queer youth group. “They meet like-minded people there, experience role models, and can talk about topics that are relevant to them, which otherwise cannot be addressed naturally and openly in everyday life,” says the study.
There could be such a place in Schöneberg in the future; then maybe a few more flags would fly in the next Pride month.