In light of recent legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ people, especially trans and nonbinary people, we, the leadership of the Coalition of Women in German, reiterate our full support for the rights of all. We celebrate the vast array of gender identities and sexual orientations in our organization and in our communities.
The Coalition of Women in German was founded to foster a space for people identifying as women in the field of German Studies to gather and share ideas freely within a supportive, feminist community. Today that space has expanded beyond a single gender identity. As so-called TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) have become more vocal, it is crucial for feminist organizations such as WiG to push back against this understanding of what feminism means and who is included. The Coalition of Women in German does not support any feminism that excludes trans and nonbinary people.
WiG also stands adamantly against all recent legislative efforts to curb the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Trans and nonbinary people deserve accessible healthcare at any age. It is absolutely unacceptable to normalize discrimination against trans and nonbinary people and to enshrine it in our laws. By even proposing this legislation, lawmakers deliberately endanger the lives of LGBTQ+ people. The Coalition of Women in German has signed this collective statement in support of trans and nonbinary people. We will not turn our heads to this violence. At our upcoming May leadership meeting we intend to vote on a change to our by-laws that would require us to “evaluate all conference locations with regard to how welcoming and accessible they are to all members of our community.”
As discussed in our community agreement, we recognize the need to evaluate all aspects of our organization to ensure that they align with our values. (For example, it is impossible to write this statement without mentioning the fact that our name, while representing a deeply meaningful and long-standing history, is not as inclusive as it could be.) The leadership of WiG calls on our members to share their thoughts with us about how we can and should take action within our organization to affirm and support both our current members and those who might be members, if they felt more welcomed. Please use the GoogleForm located in the email version of this statement to share any thoughts that you have regarding actions WiG might want to consider moving forward.
Resources on trans and nonbinary people and language in a Germanophone context:
We, the leadership team of the Coalition of Women in German, condemn the horrific murders of eight people in Atlanta on March 16, 2021. This act was motivated by anti-Asian racism, white supremacy, and misogyny. We are frustrated to see news coverage and statements by law enforcement that seek to minimize the hateful foundation out of which these actions arose. We express our deep solidarity with all Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander members of our communities. The violence against these communities has a long history in North America and in Europe that has too often been ignored. This ignorance extended to our own recent community agreement in which we failed to articulate our commitment to anti-Asian racism in the statement of our core values. We have revised this statement so that the final line now reads: “Members’ scholarship and practice aim to address and challenge manifestations of antisemitism, anti-queer, anti-trans, anti-Muslim, xenophobia, classicism, and ableism, as well as anti-Indigenous, anti-immigrant, anti-Roma, anti-Asian, anti-Black and other forms of racism in creative, compassionate, productive, and intersectional ways.”
We promise to live up to these values by using our collective voice to rebuke and act against anti-Asian racism and misogyny however and whenever we can.
Here are some resources for continued education and action:
In addition to the statement released in WiG’s December 2020 newsletter by the Presidential Team, President Helga Thorson and Vice President Maria Stehle, we, the entire Leadership Team of the Coalition of Women in German want to apologize to all of our members, and particularly to our Black members, for the harm done through the use of racist language during our conference. Such language has no place inside of WiG or within our professional spaces. As the leaders of this organization, we had the power to intervene and we regretfully did not. We should have stepped in right away to address this harm and we failed to do so, thereby normalizing white supremacy and anti-Black racism within the conference and organization.
To our Black members: We are deeply sorry for our inaction during this crucial moment and wish to reiterate how much we value your vital contributions to the organization and profession. We understand that there is nothing we can do to change the hurt caused by this event and that trust can only be earned and healing can only be achieved through continued action. We recognize that we have a lot more work to do in order to be an organization that truly lives up to its own anti-racist, feminist values and are committed to doing and being better in our present and future actions, for which the following community agreement form a point of departure.
Anti-racism, which forms a cornerstone of intersectional feminist activism, requires that all of our members, and especially our white members, join us by committing to do this necessary work within their own spheres of influence.
We have set up a slack space with various channels for different mentoring needs. For example, we have channels for alt-ac careers, contingency, administration, advocacy, graduate students, starting the t-t, parenting and care work, and working towards anti-racist future (more can be added as needed).
The Steering Committee announces the opening of nominations for Vice-President / President-Elect of the Coalition of Women in German. Please consider nominating someone for this position or indicate your own willingness to be a candidate by March 15, 2021 by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a wonderful way for experienced Wiggies to deepen their engagement with WiG and to give back to the organization they value.
Requirements for the office include:
Current membership in WiG, with previous leadership experience in the organization (for example, as Steering Committee member, member of Newsletter or Yearbook staff, conference organizer, prize committee member, or Web Editor) and attendance at the annual WiG conference within the last five years.
A secure and stable academic position.
Institutional support (for travel to conferences, administrative assistant support).
The duties for the position are as follows:
The Vice President serves for two years in preparation for assuming a two-year term as President.
The VP supports and advises the President and shares responsibilities for organizing / conducting searches (Treasurer, Yearbook Co-editors, Newsletter Editor(s), Web and Social Media Coordinators etc.); the VP shares other responsibilities as needed, such as facilitating communication between annual conferences and reviewing applications for the Zantop Graduate Travel Award and other prizes.
The Vice President is expected to attend the pre-conference Steering Committee meeting as well as the entire conference each year of tenure as VP and President.
Once President, the candidate will guide WiG in the development of its vision and mission for the future; will develop and implement new initiatives as needed (e.g. specific fundraising or website projects); will ensure communication between all organs of the organization; and will represent WiG and network and collaborate with other relevant organizations (attendance at professional conferences of these organizations is strongly encouraged)—all in consultation with the Vice President and other WiG officers.
If you wish to nominate someone, you MUST first contact that person to make sure that your candidate: will accept the nomination, is in a position to fulfill the requisite responsibilities, and is willing and able to attend the requisite pre-conference Steering Committee meetings and conferences.
Once all candidates have been nominated to the Steering Committee (please use email@example.com to send in your nomination), candidates will be asked to prepare a Candidate Statement which will be distributed to the Membership before online voting opens in April.
Anybody can donate to WiG and support graduate student research, the dissertation prize, and the essay prize. Just head over to ourmembership management site. Or add us to your Amazon Smile account and watch for our sales of WiG swag to support contingent faculty!