An anonymous reader was asking in a comment what the magazine “Siegessaeule” is. Since I wrote a bit more in the answer I decided to make it into a blog post.

Siegessaeule is a magazine, which was founded by male gays. However if I understood correctly it adresses meanwhile also female gays and by looking at the magazines newest title article the magazine adresses now also something, which is called “queer”. (and which seems to be different from the american “queer”).
Unfortunately I do not know of a similar english magazine.

What is “queer”?
In the Siegesaeule article queer is described as basically everything beyond the monogamous heterosexual scheme. Such it seems to include such constructs as temporarily homosexuals, rainbow families (families with many mothers and fathers), homosexual asexuals (people who do not like to have sex, but feel attracted towards the same gender in a nonsexual way), promiscous heterosexuals etc, etc..

I think it is good if the gay movements get rid of their rather rigid classifications like gay versus nongay etc. I found that these classifications had sometimes quite an ideological character. On the other hand in some sense this “ideologization” is understandable, as gays had to confront a lot of societal adversity (and unfortunately still have to confront!) and “having an ideology”, having common symbols etc. makes the definition of a group easier (and thus its social cohesion).

So this “opening up” of the gay community towards “queer” should probably be seen as a sign of emancipation.

Moreover these new trends display that social constructs such as “relationship” and “marriage” should maybe be rediscussed. I.e. a relationship – in nowadays terminology – is usually a longterm commitment to one partner. Thus a relationship means that one shares also the not so funny and/or burdensome sides of life, it means that one eventually steps back from ones own needs in favour for the partner/family etc.

Marriage (let it be homosexual or nonhomosexual) is a manifested relationship and the fact that a divorce is not easy and rather expensive was a priori intended for making each partner think twice before pursuing selfish interests and run away from the responsibility he/she once promised to commit. To make such a strong commitment to more than one person is not easy. But like e.g. in the case of blood brotherhoods the possibility of a multiple strong commitment seem to exist in principle. Plus there may be other less strong but “official” commitments. Kinship often includes such a (usually nonsexual) commitment. A marriage by the way needs not necessarily to include a sexual bond.

Besides being a personal committment between people the construct of relationship/marriage is especially helpful if there are children to be raised or elderly/handicapped to be cared for. In particular it is clear that marriage is a powerful buffer for preventing social disaster in a society in which people who do not (need to) care for kids and elderly/handicapped compete basically on the free market with people who (need to) care for kids and elderly/hadicapped. So a relationship can have also this aspect of being a “social instrument” for care.

Like for the case of families it is a common knowledge that within a marriage it is usually the women who “step back” from the free job markets. This is to some extend explicable, since pregnancy and breast feeding etc. just kicks you easily off the job market and the financial help of a partner is needed. Sometimes countries have public subsidies for daycare and certain tax laws (like for families), which takes away some pressure from this “social care function” of families, but it is clear that even with a good daycare/tax system there will be no equality between those who care/cared actively and those who do not -last but not least already by the emotional involvement. In short- it is hard to measure this care commitment in terms of money. But to a certain extend it is possible! The fact that the poverty of children in Germany is so high as it is displays that there is a clear social inbalance and that the social care function of families and other relationships has to be higher valued. (It is also an interesting question wether a society wants to fully “stow away” its members in need (like children, handicapped and elderly)).

So “the monogamous heterosexual scheme” seems to have to a great extend been based on social reasons, i.e. in that it was intended to provide a framework for social care and commitment (especially with regard to children) than that it is related apriori to sexuality. In particular linking marriage/relationships to sexuality gave sometimes rather way to abusive behaviour than that it prevented it. The “queer” discussion may make this clearer, as e.g. “rainbow families” or “homosexual families” face the same problems as typical monogamous heterosexual families in balancing care and competition. I could even imagine that a lot of adversity against gays has to some extend its origin in this social inbalance. Or in other words -the public appearance of the gay movement as a kind of mobile “party” movement blurred the fact that there are also hard working gays who care about kids, handicapped and elderly.

Likewise there are monogamous heterosexual married couples who benefit e.g. from german tax laws and who could in principle assist in the care for elderly/handicapped/kids (at least to some extend), but who dont.

So concluding: it is a strange thing to connect longterm social commitments and relationships apriori to certain types of sexual behaviour.

The name Siegessaeule comes from a Berlin monument which is called Siegessaeule (=victory column). It is a tall column with an angel on top of it. The monument was installed for comemorating the victory of Prussia in the prussian-danish war. So I guess the magazine Siegessaeule is called in this way since the victory column is seen as a symbol of victory. Or in other words – the founders of the magazine had probably not the victory of Prussia versus Denmark in their head, but the victory of a movement which is fighting against cliches connected with human sexuality.

-> new report on AIDS epidemic by UNAIDS

->randform post on AIDS vaccine, general health costs and patents

14 Responses to “Siegessäule”

  1. Alex Says:

    Hello Nad,

    I don’t understand how you can speak in favour of these male gays.
    You are from Berlin, don’t you know what goes on in these dark rooms?
    And why do they practise anal sex, this is just disgusting! They spread
    diseases that what they do!

  2. nad Says:


    I can’t say much about dark rooms and male gay sex practises, in particular I am not a male gay. So I am rather the wrong person to ask. Sofar as I know a problem with dark rooms is that people practise unsafe sex. E.g. in a Berlin newspaper there was recently a story about a young man who became HIV positive after going there – although he was practising safer sex. So I guess having sex without safer sex in these dark rooms can be called suicidal.
    Unfortunately some people seem to need that extra thrill, and thus they are endangering others and in particular unexperienced visitors. One reason for that behaviour could be due to the better AIDS medication, i.e. AIDS may be seen by these people as not as scary as it used to be. However it is still a deadly disease and the hunt for new medications for HIV/AIDS needs to go on due to drug resistance (here a link to a talk on that issue).

    About the anal sex I can only assume that one aspect why men may like it is that they like the stimulation of the prostate via the rectum. Moreover it is true that contamination of stool is hazardous to health, that problem arises also in sanitary sewer overflow.

    In short: if the hygenic conditions/safer sex are not sufficient, then you are right then diseases may indeed be spread.

    However it should be pointed out that e.g. unsafer sex occurs also in heterosexual contact, and it is especially sad if these practises get even promoted, like in commercial sex videos.

    Nevertheless my above post was not about sex practices or homosexuality in particular. The main point of the post was rather to remind of the interdependencies between social constructs and certain types of sexual behaviour. In particular I wanted to emphasize that caring for others should rather be seen apriori be independent of any specific type of sexual behaviour!

    side comment: In accordance with the above a reevaluation of the accomplishment of unpaid work, which occurs in the care sector is needed. It is an absurdity that what – in some western societies- is called “top performer” (“Leistungsträger”) is usually someone who gets a lot of compensation in terms of money.

  3. Rambo Says:

    I think asexuals are sick. I mean everybody needs sex.

  4. Meistersinger von Nürnberg Says:

    Last but not least – Asexuality is against the fundamental idea of procreation! “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. “

  5. nad Says:

    Rambo wrote:

    “I think asexuals are sick. I mean everybody needs sex.”

    In my opinion, as long as nobody is badly harmed, people should be free to decide on their sexuality or non-sexuality. Moreover it is clear that having no sex is no “disease”, on the contrary: for example soccer players are often not allowed to have sex before important games, because it seems to negatively effect their performance.

    Meistersinger von Nürnberg wrote:

    Last but not least – Asexuality is against the fundamental idea of procreation! “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. “

    Unfortunately I am not so well versed in the bible, but there must be something in it, which relativizes the idea of procreation, since as far as I understood ABSTINENCE is allowed as a means of birth control.

  6. paura Says:

    nad wrote: “In my opinion, as long as nobody is badly harmed, people should be free to decide on their sexuality or non-sexuality.”

    What is meant by badly harmed?

  7. nad Says:

    paura asked:

    What is meant by badly harmed?

    The expression “badly harmed” ist of course somewhat fuzzy, in particular the discussion about what is harmful to whom is quite a central discussion in human ethics, i.e. there is no easy answer. Any human action, not only sexual actions has to be scutinized under this aspect.

    Eventually laws are made for protecting humans of badly harms, this may be achieved by democratic agreement or by less demoratic measures. In Germany several sexual actions are prohibited by law, like having sex against the consent of one’s sexpartner, pedophilic actions etc. For me usually any action which is against german law is “badly harmful”, but depending on the case I may eventually find also other action “badly harmful”, which may eventually not be covered by law.

    There are countries where all homosexual actions are considered as “badly harmful.” In Germany this is luckily not the case, as explained above homosexuals may live pretty normal lives next to heterosexuals, asexuals etc., experience showed that this usually works without “badly harming” people. (This doesn’t mean on the other hand that there aren’t homosexual actions which may be” badly harming”, like the above mentioned dark room practices. In particular I am sceptical about how much the consent to unprotected sex is a fully conscious, well-thought decision at these places. But one also has to say that similar problems concern not only homosexuals – that is intentionally having unprotected sex without the free, conscious consent of a sex partner may be perceived as “badly harming” – especially if the partner gets sick afterwards.)

    Concluding, if I look at the experiences which were sofar made in Germany and in other countries I may say that it seems that the repression of homosexuality appears to be more “badly harmful” than the admittance of homosexuality. But as said there are countries where this is seen differently and where homosexual actions are forbidden by law or by societal norms. This holds of course also for other sexual actions like extra-maritial sex (which is not forbidden in Germany, but in general not always considered as “unharmful” either) etc. and it may eventually lead to culture clashes, like if people move to other places. So for example here in Berlin things like honor killings seem unfortunately still to happen. That is for the case of honor killings the “badly harming” of a “family or community honor” is regarded by some people as more “badly harming” than the death of a human, like Hatun Sürücü. Luckily this is seen differently by german law and the correponding enforcements, prevention actions etc. may thus hopefully provide at least a little protection to young women in danger.

  8. Davy Says:

    If you look at these womens magazines and if you see all this “being young and beautiful” -pressure in the heterosexual mating market then it is good to see that there are other parts of society who are more relaxed about these issues (like male homosexuals).

  9. ymca Says:

    nad wrote:

    …homosexuals may live pretty normal lives next to heterosexuals, asexuals etc., experience showed that this usually works without “badly harming” people.

    I hope you are well aware that even in Germany homosexuals do not have the same rights, like for example for the case of adoption! It is good that there is a new debate about this:

    In both Germany and Italy, current law limits adoption by same-sex couples.
    It is now time for Italy and Germany to do away with these remaining injustices. Until same-sex couples enjoy the same rights to marriage and adoption as heterosexual couples, they will not be equal under the law, a violation of their human and civil rights.

    It is not understandable that a society prefers to keep kids in orphanages instead of giving them into the hands of loving and caring and gay parents.

  10. nad Says:

    In most societies the rights over childs is usually to a great extend in the hands of their natural parents. That means in particular other people have usually no far reaching rights on someone elses children if the parents are still alive.

    One important role of parents is to decide about their childrens fate. There are of course limitations to that (like for example in a lot of countries kids have to go to school) but as a principle it is the parents who (have to) decide about their childrens fate and thus in particular also who should take care of their children if not themselves. If there are no natural parents alive then in states like Germany the state takes over this parent role. So in short in case of the state “being the parent” the state has to decide about “its child” and in particular into which hands this child might be given. So as I understand this -there is apriori no “human right to get/adopt someone elses children”.

    In a democracy its in principle the people of that state who decide about the eligibility criteria into which hands children should be given. And I agree that a caring gay couple will usually a better caretaker than like the employed caretakers in a full orphanage, but as said above I think that the type of sexuality that is perfomed by the respective parents should apriori play no role in here, that is in this particular comparision it is above all the ratio caretaker/child and the committment that plays a role and not whether this is a gay or a non-gay couple.

    It is also not always the case that there is a large pool of (young, healthy) children, which can be adopted – on the contrary.
    I would like for example remind of the case of the missing children during the Argentine dictatorship. From Wikipedia:

    The military has admitted that over 9,000 of those kidnapped are still unaccounted for, but the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo say that the number of missing is closer to 30,000. Most are presumed dead. An estimated 500 of the missing are the children born in concentration camps or prison to pregnant ‘disappeared’ women; many of the babies were given in illegal adoptions to military families and others associated with the regime. Their mothers were generally believed to have been killed. The numbers are hard to determine due to the secrecy surrounding the abductions.

    So in short there may be decision criteria for who should be preferred before whom (like age etc.).

    And if you ask me whether -as a deciding criteria, if everything else is similar and no other criteria can be found- one married couple of man and woman should take of a child rather than two married people of the same sex, then I would say yes, because I think it is good if a child has strong contact with both sexes. Of course this contact can e.g. be made also via an “extended family” who lives in the same household with the same-sex couple, but in this case the strong contact to the opposite sex is not “guaranteed” by the maritial status of the same-sex couple.

  11. ymca Says:

    you are a homophob.

  12. nad Says:

    No I am not afraid of homosexual people.
    In fact I repeat, that I think that the parents sexuality of whatever type should apriori play no role in the question of care and comittment.

    I do however think that children look for role models and so especially if the parents of a child are of the opposite sex only this is not optimal for the child.

    As a quasi-single mother I can only state that our children have missed their father quite badly in the past 7 years and that the work/school induced absence of their father seems to have been especially hard for the male child. This can’t be undone.

  13. nad Says:

    I made also a comment at the news outlet “Freitag” regarding the above discussed questions:

    Here a copy of the comment:

    Eine Art Zivilbund für all jene, die sich den Herausforderungen des Lebens gemeinsam stellen wollen. Seien es Geschwister, gute Freunde oder das gute alte romantisch verliebte Pärchen.

    Ich sehe das ähnlich – ja die derzeitigen Formen staatlich verbriefter sozialer Verpflichtung passen sich schlecht den Lebens-Realitäten vieler an. Ich denke bei dieser Diskussion ist es wichtig die verschiedenen Aspekte von Ehe auseinanderzuhalten. Im Prinzip ist die Ehe vom finanziellen Gesichtspunkt aus eine Art- was vorallem Wirtschaftler wohl so nennen- “strategische Allianz” (wobei hier nicht die konkrete Form der Unternehmensverbindung im Bedeutungsvordergrund stehen soll, sondern der Begriff an sich). Die Motivationen für eine strategische Allianz können vielfältig sein. Dh. Liebe und Sexualität können eine Rolle spielen, müssen aber nicht, eine Tatsache, die sich schon mal durch die Existenz des Begriffs der “Zweckehe” widerspiegelt. Eine starke Notwendigkeit für das Eingehen einer Ehe war historisch gesehen meistens die starke Belastung, die durch z.B. das Aufziehen von Kindern bzw. das Betreuen von Alten entsteht, abzufangen. Aber eben nicht immer., bzw. nicht immer ausschliesslich (siehe zb Heiraten im Hochadel). Dh. bei der Frage um die Ehe sollte insbesondere die mögliche Funktion “Kinderaufziehung” gesondert behandelt werden. Leider wurde in der gestrigen Debatte und in anderen vorherigen Debatten zur Homoehe darauf so gut wie überhaupt nicht eingegangen, d. h. ich habe das Problem, dass da zuviel in einen Topf geschmissen wird schon vor ca. 10 Jahren angemerkt – das scheint aber keinen zu interessieren, oder es wird bewusst weggeredet.

    Eine strategische Allianz wie die Ehe kann auch für den Staat attraktiv sein, schliesslich ist eine der Funktionen der (derzeitigen) Ehe eine gegenseitige Bürgschaft. Fällt z.B. ein Partner in seiner Erwerbsleistungsfähigkeit aus, dann wird erstmal geprüft inwieweit der andere Partner hier einspringen kann bevor die staatliche Fürsorge geprüft wird. Das diese “private Sozialhilfe” steuerlich berücksichtigt wird (“Splitting”) macht erstmal Sinn. Die Frage zu welchem Anteil ist eine andere. Insbesondere sind natürlich die teilweise starken Einkommensunterschiede in Ehen durch die Tatsache entstanden, dass Erwerbsleben und “Kinderaufzucht”(=Kinderaufziehung?) schlecht vereinbar sind.

    Warum? Weil beides -Erwerbsleben, als auch Kinderaufzucht- Arbeit ist und man eben nur begrenzt Zeit und Kraft hat. Warum wird die eine Arbeit bezahlt, die andere nicht? Weil beim Erwerbsleben in der Regel und stark vereinfachend die Produktion von “Maschinenkindern” eine Rolle spielt. Und die Maschinenkinder können bisher vergleichsweise leicht geklont werden und als “Sklaven” (zb Waschmaschine) weiterverkauft werden. Das geht mit echten Kindern in D-land natürlich (bisher) nicht. Dh. allein durch die Tatsache, dass mit echten Kindern kein Handel betrieben werden kann, macht die monetäre Bewertung der “Produktion” von echten Kindern schwer.

    All diese Fragen sollten bei einer Diskussion um Ehe und Adoption eine Rolle spielen und nicht in erster Linie was die Leute im Bett machen. Dh. da wurde meiner Meinung nach gestern eher fett der Kitt rübergestrichen, als “modernisiert”.

  14. the club we fancy Says:

    Could you please translate your comment?

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