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!

Freedom – yes, that is a big, a very big concept.
In any case, he leaves us free to think about it. Everyone has the freedom to define freedom for themselves AND to live by it.

That’s where the problem begins. Can we? Do we allow ourselves the freedom to think freely?
Are we allowed to do that?

Depending on our age, many years or decades of education, norms, commandments, prohibitions, experience, coercion, humiliation, punishment, anxiety and fear stand in the way of our own freedom.
Our freedom lies buried like a heap of misery under a great pile of rubbish.

The key question is:

How can I liberate my freedom? How can I activate it? How can I bring the great freedom of MY thinking and MY acting into MY life and use the power of MY freedom for myself?

The simple answer is:

Begin to finally shed the legacy of prejudices and adopted thought patterns that have accumulated along your life’s path so far. Under this layer of psychological rubbish you will discover YOU. This in turn is access to YOUR freedom to think and act as it is right for YOU.

We ask far too often what others think about us.

Those who have discovered HIS/HER personal freedom no longer ask for the judgement and opinion of others, but align their thinking and actions with themselves.If you have managed to do this, to disregard the opinion of others and listen to your opinion, then you are FREE and SELF-DETERMINED.

Yes, it takes courage to set yourself free. When you have been tied to the ground of foreign domination for so long, it takes courage to cut these bonds and take off into the skies of your own freedom. But don’t worry. Your new-found self-confidence will carry you and prevent you from falling into the captivity of the past.

The only condition:


Let’s go!

Who am I?

This is the central question of ALL people. Whoever has found his/her answer to this all-important question has made it and can lead a contented, happy and successful life. For he/she lives him/herself, with all the ups and downs – ALWAYS his/her own self-chosen and self-determined life.

Not everyone achieves this dream state. Many get stuck because they live on the outside. What do the others say? Is „one“ allowed to do that? Is what I am doing right?

There is a group of people who are particularly affected by the search for identity and who usually have to do a lot more to discover and be able to live their own ME:

These are transgender people.

Their search for their own identity is made more difficult by a social environment in which the large complex of transgender issues is non-existent or barely existent.

That is why these people need a STRONG VOICE to wake up society and give the issue a presence.

The SK Welcome Home – the transgender foundation has set itself precisely this task as its goal.

To be a STRONG VOICE and to stand up to enable and support the finding of identity and the confession of one’s own being.

A STRONG VOICE needs platforms to make itself heard!

A STRONG VOICE needs a stage to be able to speak loudly and convince!

A STRONG VOICE needs cooperation and partners who carry the message into the world!

How nice that the SK WelcomeHome Foundation’s STRONG VOICE has found exactly these „must haves“ through its new cooperation with the European Speaker Award:

A platform, a stage and a strong partner.

Foundation founder Sabina Kocherhans herself won the European Speaker Award in July 2020. It would not have been „our Sabina“ if she had not seized the opportunity and drawn the attention of the prize donor, Dr Martin Emrich, to the Foundation and the Foundation theme.

Therefore, the FOUNDATION and the FOUNDATION TOPIC will be available as a STRONG VOICE at the European Speaker Award events from October onwards.

Simply great!

Yes, they exist, the flagship careers of women and men who have managed to achieve self-determination and identity and retain their leadership positions in organisations and companies despite being trans people.

Even at the relevant LGBTI career fairs like the „Sticks&Stones“, the rainbow colours shine from every presentation. The visitors are impressed, not to say thrilled. All the big brands are represented – retail chains, telecommunication giants, pharmaceutical companies, luxury labels…..and they all emphasise it in unison:


Phew, that’s a load off a woman’s/man’s mind. They want me! That rarely happens when you are „trans“.
The personal experience is then clearly different.

And now a new study conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), together with the University of Bielefeld, confirms a very frightening result:

40% of trans people are bullied and/or sexually harassed at work.

Phew, that’s strong stuff and unfortunately corresponds to the personal experiences of many of those affected. As a result, many trans people still shy away from finally coming out. They cling to the double life for fear of the consequences for their careers, with all the negative effects on their well-being and happiness in life.

Where is it – our liberal attitude to life?
Where is it – our right to self-determination?

Is our society about to take a step backwards – a shift to the right back to darker times?

It´s a fact:

There is much to do!

ALL people who care about a free society without discrimination MUST stick together now.
It is everyone’s responsibility in their workplace and personal environment to reject discrimination against trans people in any form.

These can be small, biting remarks, nasty jokes, derogatory and insulting words and terms, whispering and gossip!
If you hear and see discrimination against other people around you, then YOU must speak up and speak out NOW, HERE, TODAY.

When no one joyns at the collective gossip of everyday discrimination then it will stop of its own accord!

Everyday discrimination is the breeding ground for discrimination, exclusion, bullying and sexual harassment.

Today it’s your colleague who is being hounded and kicked, tomorrow it could be you, because the eternally outdated and right-wing agitators don’t like your nose.

Those who remain passively silent when others are being talked about are complicit and partly responsible!

By the way:

Our SK Welcome Home Foundation has dedicated itself to precisely this issue:

Career and career maintenance SHOULD be possible for every trans person as a matter of course.

There is a lot to do – in the companies, in the boardrooms, in the personnel offices, but above all in the interpersonal relationships.

Let’s get it on!