The QueerExchange Team

Talk to us, ask away! Here are small portraits of our team members, so you can get to know us a little.

Bene (USA 2006/07) teamed lots of seminars for AFS Germany, is editor of the association's magazine HORIZONTE and works as a freelance journalist in Berlin. Bene is politically involved with Voices4 Berlin and is currently doing their PhD on queer feminist rap.

"In a global organization like AFS, queer issues need to be considered and included to better reach out to and support queer youth and families. That's why it's so important that QueerExchange creates awareness for queer issues and improves the visibility of queer people in international youth exchange.”

Flo (Kenya 2016/17) has been active at QueerExchange since 2017 and bringing queer topics to AFS preparatory and follow-up seminars ever since. Flo is currently studying biochemistry in Leipzig and coordinates the group together with Bene.

“Especially at the preparatory seminars, it's important that the needs of queer participants are addressed. Do I want to come out? How do I access HRT? Who can I confide in? What's the legal situation in my host country? With QueerExchange, the participants have a contact they can reach out to to get in touch with people who have had the same questions at one point.”

Paula (Bolivia 2023) started volunteering even before her volunteer service with AFS because her programme had been postponed. She's currently studying educational science in Cologne and works in the local chapter there.

“We have the opportunity to support young queer people who want to go abroad. As a queer person, you're faced with different challenges and through QueerExchange we can hopefully offer counselling and answers from our own experience!”

Levke (Ireland 2022/23) has been an AFS volunteer since returning from Ireland in summer 2023. Levke uses the time between their year abroad and their studies to work in the local AFS chapter in Hamburg and, since January 2024, also at QueerExchange.

“It's important to me that queer issues aren't overlooked or neglected at AFS – both for participants in the programmes and within the organisation. With our work at QueerExchange, we help to make sure that queer people feel seen and welcome at AFS!”

Rico is a real globetrotter. From Saxony he went on his voluntary service to Mexico (2011/12), after which he was a supervisor for a short exchange program to India. Professionally, his path has now taken him via Ireland, Mexico and Berlin to Houston, Texas, USA.

“In many places, people negatively focus on aspects of sexuality. That's why I'm committed to positive education with QueerExchange.”

Ole has been involved with QueerExchange since the beginning. Previously he was in the USA with AFS (2003/04) and lived in Sweden during his studies. Within QueerExchange, he supports projects and workshops on a small scale. 

“In the work at QueerExchange, it's particularly important to me that both families and students in particular enjoy learning interculturally with an LGBT background being seen as an asset rather than a burden.”