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Yesterday I came back from Cologne (Köln) from a three day stay with my friend M. She moved there mainly to find a community (older lesbians), one which she could not find anymore in my little town. A town she has lived in for over 20 years. Cologne has a big queer community and is competing with Berlin for being the queer capital of Germany. It’s also near a spiritual place she visits regularly so it’s a good choice for her. She moved half a year ago to a village nearby Cologne, because she wanted to orientate first on the city and the queer life, instead of settling immediately in perhaps the wrong area. She went through hell there. Not just because of the village, not the best place for an open older lesbian, but the realization that she had left everything behind, having sold the house where she and her passed away lover had lived for so many years, the knowledge she had to make it on her own in another country, made her scared and fearful. She told me that even all her old fears, she thought she had gotten rid off, came all back, as if they had just been waiting around the corner to pester her again. But she made it, she drove an hour to Cologne every week in her little car, went to the lesbian/gay center to talk and get information, made contacts and got acquainted with older lesbians who introduced her into their community, ‘the golden girls’. Through them she found a nice apartment in an area where other lesbians live and next week she will officially sign the lease. The days I was in her new place, helping her paint, these women brought us food, beer and music. Others called every day to check if everything was going well. They were heartwarming sweet to me, inviting me (and partner) to come back and visit Cologne for real and to join them on Christopher Street day. It made me feel at home to be among these women, all so different, with different pasts, different political views perhaps, one more radical then the other, but all with the same intentions:  to have a community where you can be yourself, where you don’t have to explain what you are.  A big divers family where you spend time with, go out with, where you look after each other, take care of one another. I’m happy for my friend, that she has found what she was looking for. She showed me that fear will always be there to hold you back, but that love is stronger. The love she has for other women, the love she wants to share with other women, that is what conquered her fear and love is what she already gets back now from the women in her new community. 

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