Heidelberg Description of the city Heidelberg is a university town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the river Neckar in south-west Germany. In 2019, Heidelberg had 161.485 inhabitants (31/12/2019). Located about 78 km south of Frankfurt am Main, Heidelberg is the fifth-largest city in Baden-Württemberg. Heidelberg is part of the densely populated Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region. Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is Germany’s oldest and one of Europe’s most reputable universities. Heidelberg is a scientific hub in Germany and home to several internationally renowned research facilities adjacent to its university, including the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and four Max Planck Institutes. The city has also been a hub for the arts, especially literature, throughout the centuries, and it was designated a “City of Literature” by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Goal The lgbtiq+ people who live in Heidelberg and its surroundings should be recognized and accepted in their diversity. Lgbtiq+ people are diverse and heterogeneous. Their participation and active contribution to living together in diversity are investments for a Heidelberg directed towards the future – for its democratic, social, economic and cultural life, for its attractiveness and connectivity. This potential can be used and promoted only if the existing specific processes of discrimination affecting lgbtiq+ people are understood and if joint steps of empowerment are developed and implemented on this basis. For this purpose, Heidelberg’s Run Roundtable for Sexual and Gender Diversity aims to identify and discuss fundamental as well as current problems of lgbtiq+ living in Heidelberg and to counteract the exclusion and discrimination of this population group by making appropriate recommendations. Two examples: PLUS, Heidelberg’s psychological lgbtiq* counselling service, is offering a broad range of lgbtiq+ counselling and workshop services. In order to ensure comprehensive support in the lives of young lgbtiq+ and to carry out specific awareness-raising work, the youth group Queer Youth and the specialist office Rainbow City Kids establish structures and networks for mainstreaming lgbtiq+ issues in Heidelberg’s youth facilities and schools. Policy In 2015, the city of Heidelberg adopted the action plan “Offen für Vielfalt und Chancengleichheit – Ansporn für alle” (“Open for Diversity and Equal Opportunity – Incentive for All”), thereby initiating a process to sustainably make a stand against homophobia and transphobia and to establish an urban culture that values diversity. The result of the action plan was the establishment of the Roundtable for Sexual and Gender Diversity in 2016. More than 25 lgbtiq+ initiatives are represented at the Round Table. The Office of Equal Opportunities of the City of Heidelberg holds executive responsibility for the Roundtable. Within the last years, the city of Heidelberg and PLUS have been able to implement an integrative and diversity-aware counselling and prevention concept for the city of Heidelberg. Since May 2018, Queer Youth, a project funded by the city of Heidelberg, has been taking place at the municipally funded youth centre of Heidelberg Kirchheim. Queer Youth is an exchange and meeting place, safe space and leisure activity for lgbtiq+ youth up to the age of 18. Additionally, PLUS and the specialist office Rainbow City Kids actively train professionals and volunteers in gender and sexual diversity in the field of youth work and education. The city’s current key focus areas for the improvement of lgbtiq+ lives in Heidelberg are psychosocial counselling of lgbtiq+ and school-based prevention work on sexual and gender diversity, a long-term support of the Queer Festival Heidelberg, the securing and continuation of lgbtiq+ youth work, the continuous promotion and funding of projects increasing the visibility of the lgbtiq+ community in all its diversity, strengthening the acceptance of lgbtiq+ parents, the promotion of diversity in the municipal human resources, lgbtiq+ refugees, lesbian visibility, trans visibility, lgbtiq+ elders, gender diversity in municipal services and facilities, strengthening the visibility of lgbtiq+ within the city’s public relations, and the visualization of lgbtiq+ history in the city’s commemorative culture. Collaboration partners Fachstelle Rainbow City Kids & Queer Youth – IB-Jugendtreff Heidelberg Kirchheim https://www.jugendtreff-kirchheim.de/queer-youth Mosaik Deutschland e.V. https://mosaik-deutschland.de PLUS Rhein-Neckar http://plus-rheinneckar.de Queer Festival Heidelberg https://queer-festival.de Queeres Netzwerk Heidelberg http://www.queeres-netzwerk-hd.de Queer Space Heidelberg and many more. Publications and other materials In November 2018, PLUS, together with the Office for Equal Opportunities of the city of Heidelberg and the Department of Democracy and Strategy of the city of Mannheim, carried out the survey “Sicher Out?”, in which over 400 people took part. The survey addressed safety issues of lgbtiq+ in Heidelberg, Mannheim and the Rhine-Neckar region: https://www.heidelberg.de/site/Heidelberg_ROOT/get/documents_E-172696825/heidelberg/Objektdatenbank/16/PDF/Diskriminierung/SICHER-OUT_Dokumentation_Web.pdf Please visit our website for further publications.