On the occasion of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, Cultural Attaché Mrs. Katharina Göllner-Sweet hosted a discussion on “LGBT Rights and Film” on Monday, February 10, 2014. Participants included representatives of various film and LGBT cultural institutions—among them academics, film students and critics, the managing director of the Berlin Gay Museum, the media, Human Rights Watch Germany’s director, advocacy director of the LGBT program, and staff, as well as the section chief for Public Affairs and Communication of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency. Kimberly Marteau Emerson, Member of Human Rights Watch’s International Board, and wife of Ambassador Emerson, moderated the discussion, which followed presentations on the role and impact of film in changing society’s attitude toward LGBTs delivered by both Ira Sachs, director of “Love is Strange,” and Boris Dittrich, Human Rights Watch’s advocacy director of the LGBT program.
The event stressed the U.S.’s stance on LGBT rights: supporting the dignity and human rights of all persons regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The fact that a movie such as “Love is Strange” cannot be shown in all parts of the world legally indicates that much remains to be done. The guests stressed the fact that cultural activities, such as movie screenings, are among the most influential means to promote positive images of the LGBT community by creating understanding and winning the hearts and minds of mainstream society.