very personal thoughts from Eva-Maria Popp

My name is Eva-Maria Popp, I am 61 years old and a social scientist and humanities scholar. I am an enlightened and liberal woman. My favourite word is self-determination.

Almost three years ago I met Sabina Kocherhans, the founder of SK WelcomeHome the Transgender Foundation.

We met for the first time „across borders“ at the beautiful Lake Constance. I have come to see this first meeting as symbolic. Yes, they are borders that trans* people feel, sense, suffer, have to overcome every day.

Since then I have been working for the foundation and am responsible for the development of the foundation concept and, since the successful foundation, for public relations. I am very happy about that. The issue is very close to my heart.

Above all, I have learned an incredible amount since then. I’ve put my foot in every mouth you can put your foot in as a „non-scene person“. AND THAT’S A GOOD THING!

If we want the transgender issue to become a normal issue like any other, then we have to find each other. Those who feel they belong to their physical gender from birth and those who feel a rift between their physical gender and their actual identity. They have a lot of work ahead of them to compensate for this crack. This is time-consuming, tedious, painful and not a few people break down because of it.

To make this incredible effort much easier, people like me need to UNDERSTAND what it is all about.

We have to reach out to each other. We need to understand each other. We need to talk to each other. We must be open to the feelings, thoughts and actions of the other.

If we don’t talk to each other, we leave the field to prejudice, ignorance and, above all, insecurity. This is dangerous because insecurity can easily turn into fear. Fear of the unknown is in turn the source of rejection, up to aggression and violence.

Here we are: homophobia and transphobia are on the rise. Can that be, or is it allowed to be? How is it possible that exactly 100 years after the first tentative openings in terms of self-determination, which certainly existed during the Weimar Republic, we symbolically return to the dark middle ages of the pyres – and this in the 21st century.

Homophobia and radical right-wing ideas belong closely together. People who feel a deep fear of the unknown are unfree in their thinking, feeling and acting. That is why they fight everything that looks like freedom.

It is the duty of all of us to create space for self-determination and freedom in the public sphere.

It is our duty to inform ourselves and be open to the feelings and actions of trans people.

Our civil courage is needed to nip in the bud any approach to homophobia and transphobia, both in word and deed.

It is the human being alone that counts!

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