Wednesday, 12 December 2012

12 December: Volker Beck, German Politician

b. December 12, 1960

Volker Beck is one of Europe's leading advocates of GLBT rights. A member of Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, Beck is the father of the German Registered Partnership Act
"Human rights that do not apply to everyone are not human rights at all."

Prior to becoming politically active in the peace movement in the 1980's, Volker Beck studied at the University of Stuttgart. In 1985 he joined the Green Party. In 1987, he became responsible for GLBT issues in the Green Party caucus in the Bundestag. From 1991 to 2004, Beck was spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Association in Germany (LSVD). He is credited with placing the issue of same-gender partnerships and a GLBT anti-discrimination law on the parliamentary agenda.

Beck has represented Cologne in the Bundestag since 1994. He is Green Party Whip for the Alliance 90/Greens caucus, a member of the Greens' party council, and human rights spokesman for the parliamentary group. He was legal affairs spokesman for the Alliance 90/Greens parliamentary group (1994-2002) and political coordinator of the Working Group on Internal and Legal Affairs, Women and Youth within the parliamentary group's executive committee (1998-2002).

Volker Beck believes that Germans must assume responsibility for their history before they can shape a future. He has sought compensation for victims of National Socialism, including financial reparations for persons subjected to slave labor under the Nazi regime, and advocated such acts of remembrance as the construction of a Holocaust memorial. Beck serves as a trustee of several foundations that remember victims.
Since 1992 he has lived with his partner in Cologne, Paris and Berlin.

In May 2006, Beck was attacked and injured by right wing extremists at Russia's first gay rights rally in Moscow. Images of his bloodied face published in the media evoked strong reactions internationally.

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