Munich is not allowed to, but the Dumeklemmer

Ratingen
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Ratingen shows its colors

The rainbow flag waved yesterday at the Ratingen town hall as a sign against discrimination and homophobia and against the UEFA decision not to illuminate the Munich stadium in rainbow colors.

The six-colored rainbow flag is a symbol of a tolerant and cosmopolitan society. The city of Munich wanted to set an example with the colorful lighting of the stadium at the European Championship match between Germany and Hungary after Hungary had initiated a controversial legislative package. This provides for a ban on publications in which sexuality differs from heterosexual.

Both the law and the decision of the European Football Association (UEFA), which, as the tournament organizer, spoke out against the action, sparked controversial discussions. What the people of Munich are not allowed to do is now being demonstrated all the more intensely elsewhere. Cities, districts and institutions clearly positioned themselves with the setting of the rainbow flag. Following the call of the Mettmann district, the bright colors waved in front of the town hall yesterday in Ratingen as well. The administration said that they not only wanted to take a stand against discrimination and homophobia, but also against the decision of UEFA.

It wasn’t long ago that the flag was allowed to wave in the wind. On May 17th, International Day Against Homophobia, the city made its position clear. Mayor Klaus Pesch explained: “The rainbow flag at the town hall flies as a symbol against discrimination based on sexual orientation and for a tolerant and equal coexistence.”

This conviction was set down in a resolution exactly one year ago by the Ratingen city council. In it, the signatories undertake to stand up for an open urban society that is based on humanity, tolerance, democracy, cultural diversity and solidarity. “We firmly reject misanthropy, racism and anti-Semitism,” says the resolution. “We want to resolutely counter and fight extreme attitudes and actions.”

The council members agreed not to tolerate vilification, insults and violence in the language, also and especially on the Internet, and instead to promote a culture of open debate. These goals are expressed in actions – for example an anti-racism sticker was placed on the town hall forecourt in March – and in efforts to found an anti-discrimination agency. But also in the bright colors of the rainbow flag.

In numerous cultures around the world, the rainbow flag stands for new beginnings, change and peace, and it is a symbol of tolerance and acceptance and the diversity of life forms. Their use is already documented in the German Peasant Wars.

The flag has only been an international gay and lesbian symbol since the 1970s. It differs from the flag of the international peace movement in that it has one less color (six instead of seven) and that the colors are arranged in reverse order (red tones on top, blue tones below).

The banner was finally established after Harvey Milk, a member of the San Francisco City Council, was assassinated in 1978. He had openly acknowledged his homosexuality. In his honor, the flag was used during a protest and funeral march. In Germany, the rainbow blew on a public building for the first time in 1996. Yesterday, numerous municipalities throughout the Federal Republic set an example. Also the Dumeklemmerstadt. So they jumped in for the city of Munich, which was denied the protest.

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