Last week German students ranging from Lower IV to Upper VI had a chance to mark LGBT+ History Month in lessons.
They started off by learning some key dates for LGBTQ+ rights in Germany and drawing comparisons with the UK. They then discussed how biological sex and gender identity can be accommodated in the German language, which has grammatical genders. They thought about how to use non-binary language, for example using Klasse instead of Schüler und Schülerinnen, and they were introduced to the gender-neutral pronoun xier, which some German speakers have started using alongside er ‘he’ and sie ‘she’ to refer to non-binary people.
The presentation was followed by some interesting discussions about language change and the role of languages in shaping our understanding of the world.