Poland is only a two hours bus or train ride away. Still, the situation for LGBTQI* people could not be more different than in Berlin. The politics of the strictly catholic neighbor country is still holding on moral concepts of the 40s. Assaults and police brutality against members of the Rainbow spectrum became more in the last years. These are issues that queer activist from all over the world are becoming aware of and want to tackle on.
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!
The Berlin Pride Week is finally upon us, and we’re ready to celebrate! If you’re looking for fun activities beside joining the parade on Saturday, we’ve got just the list for you. Together with Airbnb, we’ve singled out 5 fun and slightly unusual experiences that will let you embrace the upcoming celebrations and learn something new while supporting the local community. Check them out!
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 I was invited by Wella Professionals to be part of their new #ShowYourPride campaign and participate in a photoshoot for Blonde Magazine along with the striking Strify, the luscious Leonie, and the daring David. It was certainly an unexpected request, but one I followed gladly, because it gave me the opportunity to talk about diversity and being different – but also because I got the chance to express some public pride myself with a dash of rainbow colors in my hair.
Living in Berlin as one united city, it’s hard to imagine a life surrounded by a city split in half. Living in todays liberal, progressive Berlin, it’s even harder to imagine how it must have been being queer in times when gays were despised, even pursued as criminals. The new documentary “Mein wunderbares West-Berlin” by director Jochen Hick gives fascinating insights in 19 individual stories of gay life in the underground of West-Berlin.
Legal or not, Berlin has always been the place of a vibrant gay subculture. As Berlin was one of the only cities in Germany where men were allowed to dance with each other, the democratic German enclave rapidly became a hotspot for gays, students, runaways, and many different people in search for their personal freedom. The documentary shows a world that is long gone, places that might have lost their appeal and stories that cannot be relived in the way they are depicted. It is a must-see for any Berlin Queer, wanting to understand where his or her culture comes from and what the community has gone through.
photos: Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert
Continuing my story about our campaign for the Ehe für Alle organization together with SKYY Vodka I would like to present you today with the results of a photo shoot and interview we did with some of my dear colleagues from the world of blogs and Instagram. We designed a T-shirt that is calling for support from our straight friends and family members in our fight for marriage equality and other causes important to the LGBTQ community. We gave these shirts to a group of fellow bloggers and Instagrammers so they can spread our message to their fans and followers. We asked Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert to take some photos of them with the shirts. He’s one of our favorite Berlin photographers who we have featured multiple times here on iHeart over the years with his amazing analog portraits and who has empowered the LGBTQI community with his book Gender is a Spectrum. Today we want to share with you the beautiful results of our shoot.
We also asked all of them what their position is on the campaign, on the involvement of a brand like SKYY Vodka and what they think the next big steps should be now that marriage equality has been introduced. Their answers were so strong and beautiful that we want to share them with you as well. Thanks to everyone who participated, especially to the Ehe für Alle initiative and all the organizations that are part of it who fought hard for marriage equality to become a reality in Germany.
Berlin is many things, but undeniably, Berlin is pretty damn gay. The capital is so famous as a vibrating LGBTQ hotspot with countless bars, clubs, parties, different places, different styles, scenes and people that it can all become pretty confusing. You have something for everyone here, and that can be a bit overwhelming at times. So, we put together a little list of places a Berlin gay should know.
When I talk about the fact that I got married in Argentina last year one of the most likely questions I will get is why I didn’t get married here in Germany. The answer to that is quite simple: Because it wasn’t legally possible. It doesn’t matter if the person who asks me this is German or not they are always surprised by this. It’s incredible how many people are not aware that we don’t have marriage equality in Germany.
When SKYY Vodka approached me recently and asked me to participate in their “One Generation forward” campaign about diversity and equality it felt only natural to me to take a stand for marriage equality because I too have felt affected by discrimination of the law against same-sex couples, and several of my friends have too. So we teamed up with Sören from the organization Ehe für Alle who has been at the forefront in the fight for marriage equality and cooked up something together. And as life is always full of surprises everything took an unexpected turn about 2 weeks ago…
Part of my answer to ‘what draws you to Berlin?’ is it being this exciting metropolis where all cultures mix and interact. Life here changes from one minute to the other, making each day a unique experience that keeps me on edge, as I try to be part of everything the city offers.
This lifestyle, however, doesn’t only have a positive side to it. This constant business and change can be overwhelming and stressful, turning the fairy tale into a nightmare. In big cities like Berlin, where the levels of excitement, challenges, temptations are always on max, it should be our primary concern that we keep ourselves safe, maintaining our peace no matter what; ‘When we love ourselves we can love others’, and other Eat Pray Love cliches, in this case stand surprisingly true. There is absolutely no shame in getting help, us is all we got, so our well being should come before any fear of mom, friend, employer being judgmental. Sometimes it’s little things we need to do to decompress, like jogging, meditating, knitting, whatever works. Other times though, balance is a bit harder to find: Instead of ignoring the signs or avoiding it, we owe ourselves to reach out to a professional helping hand, and Berlin gives us quite a few options to help us get back on track.