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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Ini against gender language in Hamburg: German naturally

A popular initiative wants Hamburg authorities not to change. She was allowed to explain her concerns to the citizens’ equal opportunities committee.

The anti-gender initiative handed over 16,000 signatures in the hallway of Hamburg City Hall

Lots of support: The anti-gender initiative handed over 16,000 signatures to the town hall Photo: Markus Scholz/dpa

HAMBURG taz | Jens Jeep no longer understands the world. That is why the notary from Hamburg is involved in the popular initiative “Stop using gender language in administration and education”. She presented her concerns to the Hamburg Citizens’ Committee for Equality and Anti-Discrimination on Thursday.

Every popular initiative in Hamburg has this opportunity more than the required 10,000 signatures were submitted to the Senate has. The citizenry then has four months to accept the request. During this time, representatives of a popular initiative are allowed to present their concerns to the respective citizens’ committee.

And that’s where the problems of understanding begin, at least at Jeep, one of the three representatives of the initiative. He doesn’t know what committee chairwoman Filiz Demirel quoted from when she gave him the floor, “at least not from the constitution.” There is no gendering in this, Demirel did that very well.

Gender is incomprehensible – this quickly becomes clear – and is one of the core arguments of the initiative. Her presentation in the committee is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation in rainbow colors with the headline: “Discrimination-free Hamburg without gender,” which is “very serious,” says Jeep.

Two hour lecture

In its communication, for example from authorities or at schools, the city should only use the generic masculine. Jeep believes that this has “always” affected all people, regardless of gender.

Hans Kaufmann is a retired teacher and the second representative of the initiative. He is also a member of the German Language Association and as such is interested in preserving it as a “naturally developed language”.

Anja Oelkers adds a “women’s perspective” to the initiative’s presentation. Oelkers feels “not a victim of language and not invisible either”. Then she reads for minutes from a guide to gender-appropriate language. After two hours there is time for questions from the committee.

The SPD, the Greens and the Left find clear words against the proposal and in favor of gender. Gabriele Dobusch (SPD) found the session interesting “also personally as a linguist”. and as such breaks down some arguments. The CDU is “largely behind the initiative,” says its representative on the committee, Andreas Grutzeck. AfD representative Marco Schulz, on the other hand, can hardly stop raving about it.

It looks as if the citizens will not accept the popular initiative’s proposal. In this case it goes to the next round: referendum.

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