How can we support new types of families?
There are children with two mothers or two fathers, parents who aren't married and even live-in grandmothers. Family doesn't just mean mom, dad and the kids anymore. Or he works, while she stays at home. Over the past few decades, the family structure has changed so much more than any other social institution.
Since then, there are many gay and lesbian people with children, known as rainbow families, whether as a couple, a single parent or another combination.
And yet, homosexual couples and parents are clearly at a disadvantage. They are not recognised as proper families or covered well in legislation on civil unions. Not yet anyway. There is already a host of initiatives in Germany campaigning for, and supporting rainbow families. Initiatives such as 'Ilse' in Freiburg, which stood by Hanna and Karin when they came out and decided to have children.
"The fact that I can go into work and say, 'yeah, I live together with a woman' without fear of repercussion is thanks to people and initiatives like Ilse in Freiburg, which fought for us," says Hanna, 29.
Last September, she and her girlfriend Karin had a child. But the journey was a long one. They spent four years considering and planning it. Nothing was ever straightforward but it is expected to become easier in future. Karin really hopes "that they make it easier for same-sex couples to have a child together and get married, and that we not only have the same duties, but the same rights too. Over time, we are sure this will happen. For our friends' children, it's completely normal. We are Karin and Hanna. We belong together as much as any mom and dad."
Hanna, Karin and their friends believe strongly that the concept of togetherness is bigger than traditional types of families and that love is a universal feeling stretching beyond borders. But in German society as a whole, they are in the minority.
How can we support new types of families? It was tricky for Generation25 as much as older people to give specific answers to this question. What largely came across in the comments, however, were openness, acceptance and willingness to support.
Ferial, 15: "By empathizing with them, loving them and accepting them."
Lukas, 21: "Eliminating unequal rights between marriage and civil partnership. Allowing joint adoption!"
Robin, 24: "Make registered civil partnerships equal to marriage."
Angela, 50: "Cut down on, or even better eliminate red tape, appeal for tolerance and openness in society."
However, some who commented firmly believe in retaining the old family model and clearly had difficulties in going along with the change:
Andreas, 30: "I wouldn't like to support this form of co-habiting, because marriage is only between a man and a woman."
In conclusion, lending support starts with having the right mindset and saying a big Yes to love. Germany is on the right track, as the comments suggest. Same-sex families still need more support and acceptance, in the bohemian parts of major cities and in rural areas. The next step – which is surely just around the corner – is to support the ideas expressed in the #Deutschland25 discussion and put them into action for real, so rainbow families will finally become accepted as a part of everyday life.