On May 19th, Munich’s region management committee has approved of an urgent request brought forward by the German Green Union Party and Purple List fraction, thus funding the manufacturing and installation of gay traffic lights, the former allegedly costing 10.000 EUR, to accompany the festivities of the Christopher Street Day.
This proposal was inspired by the same kind of traffic lights already installed in Vienna at the cost of 60.000 EUR. The city administration in Austria even accompanied the setup with a study to find out whether these traffic lights increase street safety, rationalizing this feel-good gimmick and further spending tax payer’s money.
The reasoning behind the urgent request is disguised as a competition between the cities, Vienna having already shown itself as “tolerant and world-open […] with heart and humor”.
It is asserted that Munich is a world-open city with heart and the CSD a demonstration of a liberal, world-open, lovable and livable Munich, “equally juxtaposing the variety of different lifestyles”. The gay traffic lights can “send out a signal of sympathy” and “put equality in the center of society”, “making it literally visible for all citizens”. It would be a “wonderful signal” to install the gay traffic lights for this years CSD.
One big heap of flowery words.
Wait, why exactly do we need this?
The approving committee’s normal responsibilities involve topics like building firefighter schools, deciding about opening times, improving infrastructure and efficiency in the administration and other communal concerns.
I reckon that making the city attractive and keeping it competitive is within the reasonable realm of the committee’s responsibilities.
Yet what are we competing over? Gays? What is it that gay people bring to the table to improve the situation for everybody else? Their notably higher unemployment rate? Their exuberant personalities aka the exhilarating joy to see a female hamster in a male body? Theirand resulting aggressive entitlement? Variety, so that we aren’t bored by all those trite normal people?
It’s not about improving the city for everyone – it’s about improving it for gay people. Okay, I see that they would be interested in creating a gay-friendly paradise. But why should everybody else pay for it? The gay population in Germany lies between 1.1 and 2.7 percent.
Those who decide
Now we know the reasoning behind the request. But, considering the very low population ratio of gays, it baffled me that such a request would get approved of by a majority decision.
So I decided to dig into the matter. The online database of the city council gave a first clue.
In favor of the request were:
- SPD, the big liberal / progressive party of Germany
- The Green Party / Purple List fraction, a combined effort of hippies and LGBT people
- The Left, basically a straight-out communist party
Opposing the request:
- CSU, the big christian conservative party of Germany
- Freedom Rights, a fraction of the FDP, Germany’s only notable party in support of a sort of capitalism
- Free Voters / Bavaria Party, a combined effort of a small conservative party and one in favor of Bavarian independency
The parties of the winning side are represented by 10 members, while the opposition is represented by 8. But I still couldn’t believe that there was such a strong intra-party agreement about this issue, so I concluded that probably not many opponents had been present.
I called the city council which encompasses the region management committee. I was asked whether I was a citizen of Munich – which I am. The committee had convened in a non-public meeting, thus the information is not easily available. After talking to three people – one of whom gave me an invalid e-mail address to send my “investigation request” to – I eventually got to talk to a very motivated girl who promised to do the research for me, without forgetting to mention that she doesn’t see anything bad about the decision.
Since the official route turned out a dead end, I called the bureau of the Freedom Rights fraction and got the email of their representative, who promptly wrote me that the vote had been passed with 9 against 8 voices.
I admit that I was surprised about the predictability of the results.
After that, I called the biggest party in support of the request, the SPD, and actually got to talk with a rather open-minded girl who took her time to discuss the issue with me without any sign of indignation.
Here are the arguments she brought forward:
- Social peace, as opposed to dangerous ghettos that crystallize when integration efforts fail.
- It is simply a “society model” that Germany subscribes to, being in it together, as opposed to say America, where each is his own biggest benefactor.
- It is not important for the majority to profit from it, but rather to support the weak.
- Munich is a wealthy and peaceful city because it has a big budget for social matters – about 1 billion EUR yearly.
- Would you not want this city to be gay-friendly if you were gay? Or if your son was born gay? Wouldn’t you want social security if you were weak?
I thanked her for the conversation and called the bureau of the Green Party next, where I got to talk to a rather arrogant guy who obviously disliked my challenging tone, but nonetheless took the time to argue with me, if with a nuance of contempt in his voice.
Here are the arguments he brought forward:
- Being gay is completely normal.
- It is a beautiful, nice .
- Diversity is great, so that people don’t have barriers in their heads.
- The female mayor of Vienna got positive feedback on the traffic lights there (he did not further substantiate this claim after I inquired).
- If somebody is bothered by it, that is great, because that means diversity.
- It gets the topic into people’s minds and stimulates discussion. Gets people to think about it.
- It is time-restrained and only affects 8 locations.
Eventually, he claimed that he was being called on his private phone and ended the dialogue rather abruptly. I believe he was gay, as he was anecdotally referring to his boyfriend.
I was surprised by the quite different reasoning of both parties. While the SPD girl’s arguments were mainly fear-based and pragmatic (It could be you. If we don’t give them what they want, they will take it.), the man from the Green Party seemed to be much more ideologically motivated, focusing on bringing variety (his variety) into the focus of people and getting people to accept virtually everything and everybody and being open-minded.
His argumentation seemed much more openly flawed than the girls. If you values and ? If you want variety, why do you push the agenda of one specific group and not let it compete naturally in the marketplace of ideas? If you want freedom of thought, why do you have the state invest money into one specific train of thought? If the state was to support variety this way, it would mean that the most unpopular opinion would always be in the headlines. Which is nonsensical and – obviously – not the case., how can you have
I asked him why I should pay to put the gay people into a better light. He said that they don’t need to be put into a better light, because they are not in a bad light [accusing tone]. So why do you need such a signal then at all?
Oh well, it’s nice and shows we have heart and humor. And it’s nice..
Whenever I hear the word tolerance nowadays, I feelboil up in my stomach. It brings up associations of annoying who feel and ruin everybody’s mood with their sensitivities. It brings up associations with the that will tolerate everybody as long as you are . Thus, if you have no standards or personality at all. Whenever a member of a minority accuses me of some ism, I feel the urge to eradicate this weakling.
Surely, you can’t deny to pay for the private leisure activity of a minority if they associate themselves with rainbows, open-mindedness, world-openness (whatever that means), hearts and humor. Indeed, if you were to reject such a proposal, you would be bound to end up with a bunch of boring, grey and bland conservative preachers. Heartless, humorless, cold cis scum.
Indeed, support variety. Make your life better and more colorful by surrounding yourself with those you don’t want to surround yourself with. It will surely bring you lots of joy. The joy ofand the smug vanity of having tried out something exotic – being tolerant of gays.