What actually is normativity? Why is awareness of one's own position in society important? And what does that have to do with discrimination?

In society, accepted ideas exist that often remain unchallenged. This is called normativity and determines what people in the affected society perceive as “natural” and “normal”. These ideas have been anchored in a society over a long period of time. In German society, for example, heterosexuality, whiteness or Christianity perceived as "natural". Attributions of otherness arose and exist at the same time. This happens because of features that break the expected or "natural". Above all, this includes the opposites of the above-mentioned “natural” characteristics, for example homosexuality, blackness or Islam. What is assessed as "natural" or "different" is structurally anchored in a society. It is taught to us as children, anchored in our minds as ideas, expected and, as a result, carried on in our actions. For example, if you grew up in a society where heterosexuality is the norm, you may wonder about male-read people if they have a mate but not a mate. One makes certain assumptions that determine the possibilities of what can be. Another name for these expectations is stereotypes. The fear of social exclusion because we have a need to belong means that normativity also means that opportunities remain actively closed and boundaries are drawn up. People are taught to reject themselves when they deviate from the norm. This leads to an inner discrepancy between the authentic and shown self and the suffering of the people affected. That's why many people, for example, hesitate to come out.

Fabian (PAQ team)

"'Different' and 'abnormal' is shorthand for 'You don't have to be like that' and 'You're wrong'."

As human beings in a society, we have inherently ascribed "natural" or "other" traits that determine our position in society. In power structures, our characteristics and whether or not they deviate from the norm determine whether we are privileged or discriminated against. For example, queer people (situationally) experience exclusion or a sense of being different, while cis-hetero people will not have those experiences. Queerphobia is only one form of discrimination and can overlap with others, leading to completely new experiences of discrimination. This is also called intersectionality. For example, black lesbians experience different discrimination than white lesbians

The norm is visible in a society. Normativity determines expectation and therefore also visibility in media, textbooks, for example, or as a presence in an institution. Where you are positioned in society therefore determines how visible you are represented and also how belonging you feel. Characteristics that are perceived as "natural" are visible and assure the affected person that they belong and also have privileges.

Often people who conform to the norm do not recognize their privileges or that there are people who experience discrimination because of their differences. This is not reprehensible, but the product of a lack of education and awareness in society.

At the same time, it is important for us to mention that discrimination should be understood as violence and causes great suffering. Discrimination leads to extreme mental and physical consequences. Symptoms resemble those of abuse. You will find this here more.

It is important for us to be aware of our own position and to recognize structural discrimination in order to (1) understand that there is no such thing as neutrality and that we all have certain inherent characteristics that influence our experience and (2) to have an attitude towards develop, which carries that knowledge as a foundation and (3) to be able to enrich the lives of all people. This requires exchange and reflection - listening, accepting and then becoming active.

If you are interested in getting involved and making our team more colorful, please contact us! We know that we cannot be an all-encompassing safer space. At the same time, we hope to create a space where everyone can feel comfortable by dealing with discrimination and raising awareness among our members.