Matthias Groß is the spokesman for the Regenbogennetzwerk, with which he promotes the issue of diversity at BVG.
I’m Matthias Groß, 41 years old, and I’m a representative for mobility-impaired passengers and seniors at BVG. I am almost blind myself and therefore always travel with my guide dog Bonja. I am also the spokesperson for the BVG Regenbogennetzwerk. I have been married to my husband since 2015.
I wish for much more TOLERANCE in the world. It hurts my heart that many people still have to fear for their lives if they want to live openly queer.
We are a core team of 7 people, plus many helpers and supporters. About 15 people actively lead the network. BVG employees can contact us or send us e-mails to report problems, make suggestions and simply to exchange ideas with us. We then discuss these in our monthly meetings and develop positions and strategies. Sometimes, media events are also a topic. As the network’s spokesperson, I then enter into dialog with the Executive Board to develop a strategy together. For a short time now, the core team has also been meeting regularly with the Board of Management to promote diversity even more strongly in the company. We also plan events and are on the road under the motto “Enlightenment”. As part of our “Yards Tour”, we visit the various BVG properties / depots in order to be the local contact for all BVG employees. Here we get to talk to colleagues, on the one hand to offer help and a sympathetic ear, but also to break down prejudices that sometimes exist against the queer community. It is also nice to see that the Regenbogennetzwerk has become an “advisor” for the board. This shows that the network has a loud and strong voice and is taken seriously.
The network now has a strong and loud voice in the company, and we are taken seriously. We are the board’s advisors on queer issues. Even though it’s been a long road, the board now understands that we as a network do a lot for the company’s image and education and is very supportive of our work. Because only we as a network have the knowledge about the queer community, and only together with us can the board get good things going. We have already achieved a lot in terms of tolerance and diversity, but there is still a lot to tackle. It’s also remarkable that some executives approach the network and ask us for advice. I think that’s great, and I’m very pleased. I am proud that the company has understood that we are always there as a contact person and that only together we can make BVG more colorful, queer and tolerant.
My advice: Are you a small group of employees and managers who want to set up a network? Then come up with a concept that you can use to convince the board. Identify key topics that interest the community and see where the central challenges lie. In the medium term, you should also plan to participate in the CSD or other relevant events. But try to find a good balance between party and serious topics. It must not and should not have the impression that the queer community is only partying. Serious issues are important to keep moving forward for the cause. We offer our help to all networks and are happy to share our experience.
I wish for much more TOLERANCE in the world. It hurts my heart that many people still have to fear for their lives if they want to live openly queer. In Germany, too, we are unfortunately still not as far along in society as we could be. Here, too, there are always attacks on the queer community, and much more should be done about that. I wish for a world where all people can live how and where they want. Aren’t we all first class people!? I can’t understand how some people can have something against the queer community… Love is love! How can love be wrong between two people, no matter what gender!!!?