Latest News

May 26, 2017
by Salzburg Global Seminar
Register for our Newsletter and stay up to date
Register now
Salzburg Global LGBT Forum screens “Family is…? A Global Conversation” at Berlin Event


The German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women & Youth hosted the premier at an event “Family is…? A Global Conversation” at its Berlin headquarters. Dr. Ralf Kleindiek, State Secretary of the German Ministry for Family Affairs, speaks during a panel of Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Fellows.

Fellows and representatives of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum presented the outcome of a three-year collaboration with the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women & Youth during a special event held at the Ministry’s Berlin headquarters on May 19, 2017.

Those in attendance were witness to the first public screening of the film “Family Is…? A Global Conversation,” directed by Klaus Mueller and produced by the Salzburg Global Seminar.

The film weaves together personal testimonies from the 32 Forum fellows, representing 25 countries, that were captured over the last three years as a global portrait and that are also, in full, shown on the Forum's website.

Dr. Klaus Mueller, Founder and Chair of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum says the hope of this cooperation is to “amplify voices from around the world, and help us understand the LGBT experiences in our families of birth, our families of choice and the families we raise.” 

The film was well-received by those in attendance, with many in the educational sector volunteering to show it to their students in primary and higher education classrooms, a move lauded by Dr. Ralf Kleindiek, State Secretary of the German Ministry for Family Affairs, who himself offered to share the film with senior members of the German government.

The collaboration between the Ministry and Salzburg Global Seminar, formed in 2014, aimed to highlight the global diversity of families from an LGBT* perspective. In his opening statement at the event, Kleindiek declared the need for equality for LGBT* families in Germany.

“In 2012 one-fifth of all families with under aged children had single parents. Thirty percent of the families had a migration background. Ten thousand children grew up with same-sex parents. Families have become more diverse,” Dr. Kleindiek remarked, providing a summary of the state of family diversity in Germany. “Is the family endangered, destructed, or dissolved by diversity? I clearly say no.”

In noting that while in Germany same-sex couples cannot marry and are not allowed to adopt children, Kleindik revealed that “eighty percent of participants in a January 2017 survey from the anti-discrimination office, indicated that most Germans are in favor of same-sex marriage and adoption rights.”

Kleindiek said the “Family is…?” project will provide context into how international debates can change LGBT family discrimination in Germany, with the hopes to shift current legal practices often not compatible with the country´s constitutional law.

Echoing this sentiment, Dr. Mueller exclaimed, “being part of family is a fundamental human condition as well as a human right.” The film produced intends to counter the message of “so-called traditional family values [that] are claimed to justify exclusion: of lesbian, gay, trans- and intersexual citizens from legal protection, of daughters and sons from their families, their neighborhoods, their culture.”

The film's first public showing was followed by a discussion of Kleindiek and Mueller with Forum Fellows Kasha Nabagesera (Uganda), Tamara Adrian (Venezuela), Laurindo Garcia (Philippines), Tunggal Pawestri (Indonesia), Danny Ramadan (Syria), Sudeshan Reddy (South Africa), Dennis Wamala (Uganda), and Natalia Poplevskaia (Russia), led by Kleindiek and Mueller.

Fellows shared their personal experiences and discussed the importance of progress on LGBT equality in Germany in a globalizing world, as well as the position of LGBT refugees and their diaspora communities.  

The film and the interviews conducted for this project are available in 50 video clips for open distribution on the Salzburg Global Seminar’s YouTube Page.

*LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. We are using this term as it is currently widely used in human rights conversations on sexual orientation and gender identity in many parts of the world, but we would not wish it to be read as exclusive of other cultural concepts, contemporary or historical, to express sexuality and gender, intersex and gender-nonconforming identities.