Lebensort Vielfalt – Charlottenburg opened its doors in May 2012. In that way, it became the first community center in Europe to follow and support young and elders people. From its launch, the objective of the place is clear: to establish a SAFE framework for all identities. Today, with 160 workers, this house of diversity continues to support the community socially and medically. Dieter Schmidt, responsible of the house, goes behind the scenes of the project.
In few words, what is the identity of the Berlin Diversity House?
Lebensort Vielfalt – Charlottenburg is a home for younger and older gay men who live together and take care of each other. All are neighbors, living together!
How did the idea for this project come about?
In 2003 we started with “Netzwerk Anders Altern”, working with and for gay seniors. They asked us to offer a house to live together with other older gay men and women so as not to be alone and to receive care in the same, safe and non-discriminatory environment.
At the same time, „Schwule Beratung Berlin – Vielfalt“ leben has developed a concept for this house. In this way, gay men and women interested in the project and who wanted to move in, met once a month to develop and create their own ideas in order to live together or take care of each other.
Did many seniors LGBTQIA + enjoy (or appreciate) to live in this house?
Yes. They continue with their lifestyle and whatever they love to do, looking after each other, enjoying the activities together, using the offers of Schwulenberatung Berlin – Vielfalt Leben. For example, there are going to be breakfast or coffee groups, a theater group, a yoga group, conversation and counseling groups.
What activities do you offer LGBTQI + seniors?
We offer an open-ended chat group “Gesprächskreis Anders Altern” for gay men aged 55. They develop their own program of activities such as discussing special topics, visiting museums, etc. This group is moderated by two colleagues of us.
We have a theater group for clients from outside and inside the house, same conditions for the yoga group, we have open meetings, called “Frühstücksclub” and “Café Wippe”, where clients from the outside and the house meet for breakfast or coffee, the possibility of making contacts.
And, services too?
Effectively. We offer advice for older gay men regarding care, loneliness, late nights etc.
I am responsible for the men in the shared apartment for care. Consequently, I propose a conversation group every fortnight, conciliating for each of them, supporting the visits to the psychiatrist or the activities.
If you had a message for LGBTQIA + seniors who are reluctant to choose your retirement home, what would it be?
If you are looking for a place to live safely and unleash your LGBTQIA + identity, this is the right place for you.
Find all the necessary information on the House of Diversity in Berlin, “Netzwerk Anders Altern”, on their website and Facebook. A new house, « Lebensort Vielfalt – Südkreuz », which will especially be dedicated to LGBTI people, will be opened in 2022