In recognition of its commitment to family, sexual and gender diversity, the city has been accepted as a new member of the "Rainbow Cities Network" (RCN) in September 2020. The Rainbow Cities Network - the Rainbow Cities Network - is an international coalition of cities committed to the acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTTIQ) people. RCN Coordinator Manuel Rosas Vázquez informed Heidelberg's municipal councillors of the commitment to membership on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, in the Committee for Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
"Those who are 'different' unfortunately have to deal with prejudice in many places. The city of Heidelberg wants to contribute even more actively to reducing resentment towards sexual and gender minorities. Tolerance and cosmopolitanism are lived out here in Heidelberg. The fact that we have now succeeded in becoming a member of the Rainbow Cities Network is of enormous importance, especially in this day and age. This is a clear commitment to diversity," said Mayor Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner.
For the city of Heidelberg, diversity, openness to the world, and equal opportunities are central building blocks of sustainable and future-oriented urban development. In recent years, Heidelberg initiated decisive steps to strengthen LGBTTIQ.
Round Table: The members of the "Round Table on Sexual and Gender Diversity" have been advising the city administration since 2016. The body strengthens the city's cooperation and exchange with the many active LGBTTIQ institutions and initiatives as well as the Queer Network Heidelberg.
Protection against discrimination: In the course of the application, the city of Heidelberg has set itself the goal of further strengthening protection against discrimination and the visibility of LGBTTIQ. To this end, the city's Office for Equal Opportunities is working with the members of the Round Table as well as experts from the Heidelberg School of Education and the University of Heidelberg. Various projects are aimed at counteracting homophobia and transphobia at school, in the workplace, and in public spaces.
Counselling: PLUS Rhein-Neckar e. V. has set up a counselling centre in Heidelberg for victims of discrimination and hate violence. PLUS also offers school workshops on LGBTTIQ issues through the Power Up project.
Youth centre: For LGBTTIQ young people, the youth group Queer Youth has been established at the Kirchheim youth centre.
Queer Festival Heidelberg: The annual Queer Festival Heidelberg is to be promoted even more strongly in the future. With over 8,000 visitors, it is the oldest and largest of its kind in Germany.
Christopher Street Day: For many years, the city has supported the Christopher Street Day of the CSD Rhine-Neckar. The rainbow flag is hoisted at Heidelberg City Hall during CSD.
Dyke*March Rhine-Neckar: To promote lesbian visibility, the city of Heidelberg has supported the Dyke*March in Heidelberg for several years. In 2020, the Open Dykes* Action Weeks took place.
Trans*Action Weeks Rhine-Neckar: Every year in November, the cities of Heidelberg and Mannheim organize the Trans*Action Weeks Rhine-Neckar. The goal is to raise awareness and educate about trans* people and the diversity of gender identities and their forms of expression.
IDAHOBIT*: Heidelberg annually supports the International Day Against LGBTTIQ Hostility.
Mayor Wolfgang Erichson, the initiator of the "Round Table Sexual and Gender Diversity", was delighted about the inclusion: "I have been committed to the interests of the LGBTTIQ community all my life. This has also been the case since I took office in Heidelberg. Therefore, I am very pleased that the good work of the city in recent years is bearing such great fruit."
More information on the city of Heidelberg's commitment to anti-discrimination can be found on the Internet here.