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Germany Plans To Compensate Gays Convicted Under Nazi-Era Law

by matt baume October 17, 2016

BPK 97.897

Better late than never, right? Germany is setting aside around $37 million to compensate queer people who were affected by the country’s ban on homosexuality, which lasted from 1871 to 1994. Over a hundred years of victims! Many of course have passed away, and there’s no way to compensate them or their families. And no amount of money can make up for the cultural stigma that generations have endured. But at least this is a strong gesture of reconciliation for those still with us.

Germany, which at times was quite welcoming to queer people, stopped enforcing the ban in the 1950s and 1960s, but tens of thousands were persecuted following World War II. Adolph Hitler was particularly strident in his persecution of queer people, sending 15,000 to concentration camps.

As part of the plan, victims of the law will have their records expunged.

Can you imagine if anyone proposed something like that here? Homosexuality was illegal in various states until 2002, and every now and then people are still arrested by backwards officials for flirting in public. Just imagine if someone in the government proposed that we were entitled to some form of recompense for all the discrimination we’ve endured. Oh, and still continue to endure, since in a lot of states it’s still legal to deny someone a loan, or housing, or an education because they’re gay.

Hillary Clinton, incidentally, wants to make that kind of discrimination illegal. Donald Trump wants to expand exemptions to nondiscrimination law, making it easier to kick queer people out of their home or their job. Just in case you were still wondering who to vote for, or which historical figure you might want to compare Donald Trump to.

matt baume
matt baume


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