(Reduxx) A woman in Germany has been warned by a court after comparing a transgender organization’s recently-adopted mascot and a symbol known to be used by pedophiles. Rona Duwe, a women’s rights campaigner, has received an order from the Higher Regional Court in Cologne barring her from further comparisons.
The initial complaint, lodged against Duwe in March, referred to a series of comments she had made online criticizing the distinct pink and blue butterfly being utilized as a mascot by a board member of the German Society for Transidentity and Intersexuality (DGTI – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Transidentität und Intersexualität).
The butterfly, which has been named Fiely, is a mascot of the northern German trans self-help group Fielappers – a low-German word translating to “butterflies.” Trans-identified male DGTI board member Julia Steenken has appeared holding the butterfly in public situations, and, according to Duwe, the mascot has been present in photos taken at several court proceedings, at meetings of the national parliament or Bundestag, in medical clinics, at events with families, and with the police.
The butterfly mascot was designed by Andrea Fleßner, a trans-identified male involved in the founding of Fielappers. Fleßner also has a close working relationship with DGTI.
Fiely is often seen posed amongst other childlike-toys on its dedicated Facebook page.
On social media and her blog, Duwe questioned the meaning behind the butterfly, specifically asking why Steenken, who was a board member at DGTI at the time, was displaying the pastel pink, blue and white toy in a historic press photo. The photo featured four other trans-identified males, two of which were DGTI members, and two of which were representatives with Germany’s Green Party.
The press photo had already been subject to much discussion on social media, and Duwe offered her own thoughts on X (formerly Twitter) after taking part in a discussion on Facebook, suggesting that the butterfly mascot had some resemblance to a logo known to be associated with the “child lover” movement. She articulated her thoughts further in a post on her Substack.
“The butterfly with light blue and pink heart-shaped wings is also known internationally as a symbol for ‘child lover,’” Duwe wrote. “These symbols are used by the US FBI as an identification marker for pederast rings. In addition to adults, Fielappers also advises relatives and parents of ‘trans children’ and offers a brochure.”
According to the Fielappers website, the crocheted butterfly took inspiration from other crocheted children’s toys, and “can … be male, female or any other gender or gender identity.”
In 2016, the FBI declassified information on the symbolism pedophiles utilize to indicate their attraction. Amongst the seemingly abstract logos, a pink-and-blue butterfly with heart shaped wings was reported as a symbol used by pedophiles with “no gender preference” for the children they sought to abuse.
Duwe told Reduxx that shortly after publishing the post, she received a cease and desist notice from the law office of Dr. Jasper Prigge on March 6, which stated that she was being “warned” against “any further statements about our client Julia Steenken.” The notice highlighted a specific “highly defamatory” quote from Duwe’s Substack post in which she stated that the “mascot … is also attributed to pedophile rings.”
On April 19, Duwe appeared in a Düsseldorf court to defend her statements. Steenken was not in attendance, and instead his legal representative, Prigge, was present to accuse her of defamation on his behalf.
Four months later, after a costly legal battle, the Higher Regional Court in Cologne affirmed that Duwe’s comments, while not defamatory, required restraint. The court ruling warned her and others against making strong comparisons between the logo and Fiely in the future, though admitting the two bore some similarity.
Yet despite the fact Duwe was found to have done nothing wrong in a legal sense, the cost of court fees were split equally between Steenken and Duwe, even though he had been the one to initiate the litigation. Duwe told Reduxx that in total, she was forced to spend approximately €7,000 (approx. $7,400 USD) in order to defend herself.
On September 10, in response to the decision from the court, a photo of Fiely was posted alongside an announcement stating that the group’s mascot would not be changed.
Though the Cologne court did agree with Duwe that the symbols bear a resemblance to each other, trans activists and members of the German press have used the ruling to warn those critical of gender ideology against making similar statements.
Steenken’s lawyer, Jasper Prigge, issued a press release on September 3 suggesting anyone who replicated Duwe’s statements could face legal action.
Trans und Pädophilie in einen Zusammenhang zu bringen, ist perfide. Eine Bloggerin darf dies in Bezug auf unsere Mandantin nun nicht mehr, vor dem OLG Köln gab sie eine Unterlassungserklärung ab. Ein wichtiges Verfahren! 🏳️⚧️ https://t.co/PtfKtHDT4e
— Jasper Prigge (@JasperPrigge) September 4, 2023
Pro-LGBT publication Queer.de went a step further, releasing an article with the headline, “Blogger is not allowed to associate trans woman with pedophilia,” and compared Duwe to the nation’s far-right political movement.
Steenken is a prominent member of Germany’s trans activist community, and is known for having contributed to the draft of a gender self-identification bill that was recently passed.
In 2019, the German government offered DGTI a draft of the proposed gender self-identification bill, inviting their input. Steenken then responded with a revision proposal on behalf of the DGTI board.
Notably, one source cited by Steenken in the revision proposal is sexologist Gunter Schmidt, who has previously made statements sympathetic of pedophilia. In a 1991 article for the Journal of Homosexuality, Schmidt wrote, “A person’s age, or the difference in age between the partners, says too little about the nature and quality of their relationship to justify making laws against such partnerships merely on the strength of this information. Pedophile relationships are extremely varied, despite their common features, too varied to allow us to use the term ‘sexual abuse’ as a synonym without being guilty of discriminating against and defaming a whole group of people.”
In March of 2020, while being consulted on the draft of the bill once again, Steenken called for the total removal of any requirements necessitating a medical diagnosis in order to change one’s legal sex. Writing on behalf of the entire DGTI board, Steenken also stated that he saw “no justification” for an age limit.