Schools Out organises history trip to Berlin

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LGBT education group Schools Out are organising a guided tour of Berlin from 27-30 August.

The tour offers a heady mix of leading academic interpretations, first hand testimony from ‘survivors’, visits to the key sites and artefacts associated with this amazing city.

The tour aims to celebrate and remember the unique role played by millions of German people in the creation of today’s world-wide LGBT community: from the optimism of the early days, through the visible diversity of the Weimar Republic; then from the bloody suppression of the Nazi era to today’s vibrant and re-established Gay Berlin.

Organiser Jeff Evans commented:

“Germany, and Berlin in particular, is the cultural and political birthplace of the modern LGBT rights movement.

“This guided tour is a unique opportunity to enrich your understanding of our collective past. It will do much to remove the imposed silence of our upbringing and bring you closer to that past and face to face with the modern Germany that is doing so much to re-claim and celebrate our rich history.”

The fee for the actual tour is £55, excluding travel and accommodation. Details are available on www.schools-out.org.uk.

Recently, the president and vice president of the National Union of Teachers visited Berlin, where they toured a multicultural school to see how equality and diversity are taught and met some of the city’s experts in LGBT education. After the school tour, they visited the Tiergarten park, where they laid a wreath at the monument to the gay victims of the Nazis.

Gill Goodswen, former NUT president, was moved by the memorial ceremony:

“We honour the memory of the men who were forced to wear the pink triangle, persecuted because of who they loved.

“We honour them by re-dedicating ourselves to protecting and celebrating those, especially the next generations, who are still today persecuted and stigmatised because of that love.

“We also pay tribute to a society that marks past injustice by promoting equality work such as we heard of and witnessed this morning.”

Nina Franklin, NUT president, commented:

“I was especially interested by the lesson focus on the similarities between racism and homophobia.

“The very positive reaction by the young, largely Muslim, audience dramatically exposes the offensive generalisation that Islam and social tolerance are somehow incompatible. Go and try telling these young Berlin Muslims that particular lie!”

Sue Sanders, Schools Out co-chair, was proud to be a member of the NUT:

“I think this is truly wonderful and we are thrilled that the NUT – and in particular the present and previous women presidents – are taking a lead on the issue so seriously and with a clear, professional focus.

“The school visit complements a project that both Schools Out and LGBT History Month are doing with partners in Europe.

“We are thrilled by the NUT’s support, and we hope to learn from their experience, in planning our study trip in August. “

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