Last Saturday around 1 Million people came to the streets in Berlin to participate in the 40th Berlin Pride Parade. It was a big anniversary for Berlin and possibly also the biggest turnout in terms of people who came to walk or watch. But it was also a meaningful anniversary for the entire Pride movement worldwide. Exactly 50 years ago the Stonewall Riots took place in New York which started the entire LGBTQI movements and all the Pride Parades in the rest of the world in the years and decades that followed.
Even though the parade might seem like a big colorful and joyful street party that celebrated sexual liberty and hedonism there are still important messages sent out into the world with such events. We don’t even have to look very far: Hate crimes against LGBTQI people have gone up in Berlin in recent years. In many countries in the world, Pride Parades are suppressed by governments, such as in Russia, Turkey, and Poland. And most dramatically, many countries still criminalize homosexuality – in the worst cases even punish it by death.
So when we go to the streets in Berlin, we don’t just march for our own accomplishments in terms of LGBTQI rights, but also in solidarity for all those queer people in the world who are still fighting for acceptance and equality.
Berlin is a crazy bubble in terms of diversity. Nowhere else in Germany are there so many different spaces, places and outlets for the members of the LGBTQI Community. Of course Berlin is not perfect in terms of safety for the said community. We still have harassments of transsexuals on a monthly basis, and I would not always dare to kiss a man at Kotti at night because you never know how the surroundings might react. Despite that, I am more than happy to call Berlin my home, since I feel that no other place in Germany has the same amount of freedom, tollerance and possibilities for people of different sexual orientations or gender identities.
The biggest celebration of this diversity is definitely the annual Christopher Street Pride Parade. Since I came to Berlin at the age of 18, I have been visiting the parade regularly. Some years I remember as stressful because of the heat and too many drinks. Or I felt that the event had turned too commercial, so I decided I’d rather visit an alternative demonstration instead. Other years the weather was a bit tricky. But nonetheless every parade has had its highlights and stolen kisses to tell of afterwards.
My personal highlight of this year was to bring along my little sister to Pride. It was her first big Pride parade and as I wanted to make the experience as memorable as possible, I showed her all the typical Pride rituals.
A couple of weeks ago we got a call with a seductive offer: Tenga, a Japanese brand specialized on male and female masturbation toys, asked us if we would make a photoshoot with their products, specifically the pride edition of their bestseller, right at the Christopher Street Day parade in Berlin. The task: the models of this shoot should be the visitors of the parade.
We thought about it and finally decided that having a “good excuse” to talk to cute strangers about masturbation on the Pride parade is not such bad job. Slurp!
It is that time of the year! Call it Pride, call it Christopher Street day, call it “All the Queers are out on the streets”, all differences, frictions, and issues aside, it’s the week when all queer people are loud, visible and all over Berlin, proud of what they are and fighting for their place in society. For some protest means political actions, demonstrations, and speaches for some it’s dancing protest on Berlin’s streets and clubs. Any way it’s done, we are here, we are queer and there’s a lot for us to do this weekend. And the selection is as diverese as the queer community itself. Whether you’re into CSD or not, there is definitly something to participate for everyone.
With literally every single queer bar, club and venue closed until further notice and all Pride parades and other queer festivals canceled this year, it looks pretty dim on the queer visibility front right now. But all clubs and bars are closed and festival canceled – what difference does it make, you might wonder? Of course, every nightlife and cultural space has its importance – but for the queer community these places and events are not just for fun and socializing, they are important platforms for activism and for the fight for acceptance and equality. There is still a lot of homophobia and transphobia in the world, even here in Berlin. Queer visibility is an important act against those nasty phobias – and for queers to disappear into quarantine behind locked doors and behind anonymous masks is quite the setback.
Musician, stage performer, editor, and Berlin’s only real Diva Kaey has come up with a clever plan on how queer visibility can continue in a creative way in times of Corona. For over a month now, she has taken the time during the quarantine to sew hundreds of colorful facemasks with rainbows, sequins, and Tom of Finland prints for the queer community. This way we can be out and proud every day when we’re complying with the new face mask rules in the city.
Teaming up with Brothers From Different Mothers on a Saturday night.
Low Jack [BZH]
SPFDJ [Interpid Skin | Herrensauna]
ONIO [Fridges | Bushwig]
This week is Pride Week in Berlin which means there is a whole string of fabulous queer events happening. In fact, there are so many events and parties that it might be hard to figure out which ones to go to. But don’t worry, we got you covered. We selected the highlights that you can trust will extra cool!
Every time I spent a longer period of time abroad, staying in big cities always make me aware of what I appreciate the most about life in Berlin. Granted, it is exciting to roam through the restless streets of Bangkok or indulge in some ice cream while watching the sky go up in flames at sunset hour in LA, but never would I trade in Berlin for any other city in the world. Maybe this feeling can be blamed on the fact that I grew up here, but I believe that if you fell for Berlin once, you will stay incurably in love for the rest of your life. Below I put my feelings into words, summing up what I missed most about Berlin while visiting busy cities on the other side of the world.
photo: Dominik Pascal
While right-wing populism is spreading over Europe like a virus, we have to ask ourselves, is Berlin still the liberal and international safe haven we thought it is? Do we keep on doing what we’re doing or is this our wake up call?
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While knowing that I live in Germany, that’s what I always liked to tell myself…
One of the questions that I get the most as a blogger is not how I come up with my stories or what I want to accomplish with the blog, it’s how I make the blog work as a business, or more specifically: how I make money with it. It’s actually quite a bold question to ask someone, but I can understand where it comes from. Even though blogs have now been around for over 10 years in Germany, it still is a fairly new medium – people have a lot of questions about it.
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