Katrin Langensiepen - That's how she rolls

As a politician Katrin Langensiepen wants to show that also people with disabilities can do politics. That's why she is aiming for a good mixture of political commitment and the "classic inclusion topics". Why she should get herself a kick in the pants and what else she has on her mind regarding inclusion, she tells us on REHACARE.com.


Photo: Katrin Langensiepen; Copyright: Andi Weiland

Katrin Langensiepen; © Andi Weiland

Name: Katrin Langensiepen
Age: 35
City: Hannover, Germany
Occupation: Politician, translator, singer
Impairment: Lightly shortened arms
When did you last laugh heartily and what about?

Katrin Langensiepen: I laugh every day! So why not? Disability does not mean that you suffer and have no sense of humor. My humor is actually really black.

What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?

Katrin Langensiepen: I have always been planning to go to an audition for a movie. Why I haven't done it until now? Maybe because I have always been busy being on tour and having a lot of issues to deal with. But I guess I really need a kick in the pants right now.

Which person has influenced you most?

Katrin Langensiepen: When I was young, Anne Frank was the person who influenced me the most. She had firm goals, was always optimistic and only seldomly got exasperated with her situation.

You have the chance to become the German Federal Commissioner for the Disabled. What would you do first?

Katrin Langensiepen: Okay, this will not really answer the question now: I am not a really a friend of "Commisioners for...". If people with disabilities want to speak for themselves and to fight for the right that people talk with them, not about them. Then they have to go out and do it. Everybody has interests and talents. For me it was politics, for others it may be art, internet or the normal everyday life. Nobody has to go beyond his or her own power. But everybody has to find out where his or her limits and interests are.
Photo: Katrin Langensiepen; Copyright: Andi Weiland

As a chairwoman of the environmental board and socio-political speaker Katrin Langensiepen is also interested in lots of other topics and groups of people. "Also this is inclusion," she says; © Andi Weiland

Your life is made into a film: Who would represent you?

Katrin Langensiepen: Oh, there are many actresses: Katja Riemann, Iris Berben, Julia Jentsch, Barbara Sukova. Strong characters, different generations who could represent me - even without having my impairment.

I would like to be ...

Katrin Langensiepen: No! We will not start with this one. Everything is fine.

Which questions would you like answered the most?

Katrin Langensiepen: I do not ask myself questions very often. Maybe the question "Why?" came up once in my life. Answering it is too difficult and my experience tells me: Everything has some kind of sense - why you get to know people, why you lose them, why you experience certain fates. Maybe because you can handle it? I do not have an answer as well.

What I finally want to say...

Katrin Langensiepen: When it comes to the topic inclusion and disabilities, I wish there could be more communication between people with and without disabilities. I often feel that there a certain fears and insecurities in dealing with each other. It's the same while communicating. We have to learn to ask each other questions, to listen to each other. There are barriers in the head of people without, but also with disabilities. In order to get to know each other better, external institutions like workshops or facilities need to be opened or even removed. We cannot let it happen that there are facilities - apparently for the well-being of people with disabilities. But actually they are only there to preserve the species of the people who run them.