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50th Anniversary of Stonewall – DFG North America Office supports diversity in science

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and the World Pride Festival in New York City, the DFG North America Office, together with German, American, and international partners, took a stance against homophobia and set an example for diversity and respect in science.

New York City Pride March
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New York City Pride March

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(07/02/19) The month of June is marked in many places in North America, but also in many scientific organizations and research institutions, by "Pride": the emancipation movement of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals and all those who identify themselves as "queer" (LGBTQ +) and the celebration of the self-determined, open handling of one's own sexual identity. During the "Pride Month" science and research institutions joined in advocating for more tolerance and took a stance against discrimination of people based on their sexual orientation. The DFG's partner organizations, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), even hosted related events throughout June: The NSF's Office of Diversity and Inclusion together with NSF's internal "LGBTQ + and Allies Group" hosted the activist Alex Leffers of Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, who identifies himself as transgendered - and, moreover, is deaf.

Alternative Queer Liberation March in New York City
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Alternative Queer Liberation March in New York City

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The highlights of "Pride Month" are the Pride parades. This year’s World Parade in New York City was probably the biggest parade in the world. It was a reminder of the Stonewall riots 50 years ago - the series of violent clashes between homosexuals and transsexuals and New York police officers, which today is seen as the major turning point in the struggle of the lesbian and gay movement for equal treatment and recognition. In the exhibition "Queer as German Folk", which can currently be seen in the eight Goethe-Instituts in North America and will subsequently be shown in the Gay Museum Berlin, the history of this struggle for freedom is examined from a German perspective.

"Stonewall was a riot" sign seen in the New York Pride Parade

"Stonewall was a riot" sign seen in the New York Pride Parade

© Creative Commons, Quinn Dombrowski

As in previous years, the German diplomatic representations and the New York-based university liaison offices and scientific organizations once again set an example against discrimination and for diversity and respect. Initiated by the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations, these organizations joined a multinational alliance, led by Argentina and the Netherlands, whose goal it is to work for the universal respect for human rights and individual liberties in the United Nations, emphasizing the protection of LGBTQ + from discrimination and violence. Therefore, the colorful New York World Pride Parade on June 30 set an example against homophobia and for diversity and respect - also in science, because excellent science needs diversity and originality.

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