Maybe you already know Ulli from our youtube channel: He is busy shooting videos for SPARTACUS. From the Gold Coast in Australia to safari in Botswana to WorldPride in New York: Ulli travels around the world and takes you with him. One of his next videos was even shot in North Korea.
He tells us about his highlights and what else we can look forward to this year:
You travel around the world for Spartacus – what were your travel highlights in 2019 so far?
Definitely the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Rwanda itself is incredibly exciting. It is the most impulsive and modern country on the entire African continent. We hiked to the last mountain gorillas of which there are only very few – it was very special and touched me very much. The animals were so human-like.
What was also very emotional for me was the trip to NYC to World Pride. To be there when 50 years of Stonewall was celebrated was moving. 50 years is not long and back then the police force was still acting against the LGBT Community. This year the policemen marched alongside us and made the parade with 4 million visitors unforgettable.
What is important to you in your videos?
To show the atmosphere of the country and the people. I want to show our community that it is certainly not easy to travel to a country where we are not accepted. But there are still people there who welcome us. In many countries LGBTs need our support and the hope and courage they get from our visits. This is what I experienced this year in India when I met a gay guy in his mid-twenties. He showed me his hometown Udaipur, his favourite cafés and the tailor in the village. At the end the boy confessed to me that he would like to live more freely. But it is impossible for him to come out to his family because they would be outcast socially. I had the feeling that our conversation gave him courage. I want my videos to show people and not systems.
Have you had any negative experiences on your travels due to your sexuality?
Before my visit to North Korea I had a bad, prejudiced feeling because I travelled there with my husband. Homosexuality is not punishable there, it is even more blatant: Homosexuality officially does not exist. But after a short time we felt safer than we would have thought. Though we didn’t show it openly, we even talked about homosexuality. And in countries like India, where young men hold hands for cultural reasons, I was also rather inhibited. When we travel together to countries like Qatar, it’s strange in a hotel to insist on the double room you booked before, but you usually get it without any problems. I don’t provoke anyone, but I don’t hide either.
What is the best thing about getting to know foreign cultures?
To meet other people. People have so absolutely different ways of life. In 2018, we made a trip with the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Beijing. We met with such different cultures that I could hardly keep up. I am not religious myself, because I grew up in East Germany and never had contact with the church. Nevertheless, I grew up in a Christian culture. But I love to look at the most different houses of faith and to see the intensity of the meaning of religion and tradition for individual countries. The funeral service in a Russian Orthodox church in Ekaterinburg in Russia, for example, really moved me.
During a Buddhist ablution in Bali I was so warmly welcomed that I became even more aware of the importance of intercultural relationships.
And in Thailand it is without question that Transgender are allowed to visit temples and pray – it is very valuable to observe.
What is it like to experience LGBT communities in other countries?
Very moving. I am becoming more and more aware of how well we are doing in Central Europe. We owe a lot to the generation that fought for our rights here a few decades ago. Every year I participate in several pride parades from USA to Rome, Vienna, Berlin and Cologne. I think it’s time for us who are doing so well here to fight and demonstrate in other countries. To march alongside the community there. On the same weekend we were celebrating at World Pride NYC, Pride protests in Turkey were quashed. I think that it is our task to support these people and go out to the streets together. I will try it next year – even if it is only with our European neighbours in Hungary.
What awaits us in your next videos?
The North Korea video will be finished soon and will surely show exciting pictures. It was the most impressive journey I have ever made and the country so different in reality from how it is portrayed outside. It was a similar thing with Russia, too.
I’m going to Hawaii this year, I think it’ll be exciting, Yoga in Bali and Myanmar are also on the agenda.
I am looking forward to taking you with me again.