Acceptance and diversity at the noble parade
Among the 144 product queens and kings promoting their agricultural products and regions, there are quite a few exciting personalities, for example the "Gay Heath King" Ben Rejmann and Wine Princess Anna-Lena Werb, an electronics technician for automation technology in training.
Standing next to each other at a barrier with smartphones drawn for a long time, people start talking. Sabine Werb is waiting for her daughter to make her entrance. Anna-Lena Werb is wine princess of the Abt-Degen wine valley. At the International Green Week, she is part of the 144 product queens and kings who promote their regions with their sovereign appearances and represent products from all agricultural sectors.
There is, for example, the Abensberg Asparagus Queen, the Hessian Milk Queen, the Elderberry Queen or the Holzländer Beer Queen. Anna-Lena Werb stands as princess for the Abt-Degen wine valley - for four years. The reason for this was that, due to the pandemic, there were either no elections or no other candidates. "If I hadn't continued, the office might have fallen asleep," Anna-Lena Werb tells us. She didn't want that to happen. "Our area is often underestimated," she says. "I think it's important to represent the products of our small region." Yet she definitely has other things to do with her training as an electronics technician for automation technology.
Clichés have had their day
A female electronics technician does not fit at all into the cliché that one might have in one's head of a product queen. The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutsche KönigInnen e. V., which celebrates its 20th birthday on January 31, 2023, offers more diversity than it seems at first glance. Thus among the numerous highnesses also a few men found themselves, among them the Thuringian Olitätenkönig or the "gay Lueneburger heath king" Ben Rejmann.
In his red and white mottled wool sweater, with jeans and white sneakers, the 17th Lüneburg Heath King Ben Rejmann is particularly conspicuous in the sea of glittering clothes. As a decorative and rhetorically dexterous companion, he has brought along "Isabelle Ankauf von Gold," who affectionately calls herself his "adjutunte." "Acceptance and diversity are not the classic agricultural goods, but we sow them where we can," says Isabelle, in civil life Eike Kuhse.
In 2000, the Aidshilfe Lüneburg established the "Gay Heath King" to bring the topic of HIV into focus. Today, the Lüneburg Heidekönig represents the queer community. A regional product is currently not yet part of the representation. "But we are working on it," says Dirk Ahrens, once the 13th Lüneburg Heath King. Meanwhile, as a committed member of the queer scene in and around Lüneburg, Ahrens is the organizer of the Lüneburg Heath King election, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year - just like the parade of product representatives at the Green Week. The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutsche KönigInnen e. V. has been present at the International Green Week since 2013. When Ben Rejmann and Isabelle Ankauf von Gold emerge from the long line almost as the last duo to shake hands with Joachim Ruckwiek, President of the German Farmers' Association, the numerous onlooking trade fair guests who have gathered at the Forum Modern Agriculture in Hall 3.2 clap enthusiastically. "We get so much positive feedback. That's really amazing," says a delighted Ben Rejmann.