First Lesbian-Only Cemetery Opens in Germany

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By Athena Yenko | April 7, 2014 12:26 PM EST

"We wanted to stay together, to be close to those with whom we lived, we loved, we worked, we fought," Astrid Osterland of Safia told AFP.

Safia, an association primarily for elderly lesbians, spearheaded what could be Europe's first lesbian-only cemetery which opened Sunday in a Christian Lutheran cemetery in Berlin.

The exclusive for lesbian cemetery measures 400-square metre and is part of the 200-year-old Georgen Parochial cemetery in Prenzlauer Berg. The patch can contain 80 bodies or urns of cremated ashes. The women from Safia will be responsible for the maintenance of the yard and accepts no funding from the government.

"The idea emerged four years ago in the lesbian group Safia, whose members, advancing in age, asked themselves where they want to be buried. We had surveyed several cemeteries, but we decided on this one because we knew it and we knew it was beautiful, " Astrid added.

And although the concept of lesbian-only may seem out of ordinary, Astrid said "it is not a fight against men."

She said that the 400 square metre patch will not be isolated from the rest of the Georgen Parochial cemetery and everybody is welcome to pay respect to those that will be buried.

In a separate report from The Local, Ms Osterland expound that her generation is Germany's "first real generation of emancipated, feminist, open lesbians" who shared the same need for a place to be buried.

"There is no reason to be buried anonymously anymore and like everyone else, I want to lie with the people I've fought with," she said. And for Safia, the cemetery is a "living project for after death."

Astrid has reserved a spot for herself. There were also 20 people who have expressed their willingness to be buried in the cemetery.Astrid hopes that other lesbian organisation will follow creating more lesbian cemetery in the city.

In January of 2014, Germany's  new Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks became the country's first openly lesbian cabinet member.

"Every coming out helps to build acceptance of same-sex relationships," Ms Hendricks was applauded by Germany's queer.de Web site. 

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