Unlike other Pride festivities of Berlin, such as the CSD, the “Lesbisch-schwules Stadtfest” in Schöneberg is not just a parade. It’s a whole weekend of queer partying. And unlike other queer celebrations, which I all hold dearly, the Motzstraßenfest – as is it’s colloquial name – is not just a gay party, it’s also a very traditional get-together of a neighborhood that sometimes stands in the shadow of the much cooler, younger Berlin quarters (i.e. Kreuzberg and Neukölln).
What I like about it is the lack of pretentiousness. Young and old, straight or gay, and a general, inclusive attitude make Motzstraßenfest a great occasion to practice the typical Berliner “laissez-faire” attitude. The people who visit – almost 500.000 per year – give a great overview of all the people that have found a home here. It gets trashy sometimes, but at least not everything is covered in glitter and gold. Guaranteed is a full weekend of people-watching and exploring the parts of Schöneberg around Nollendorfplatz.
Even in a liberal city as Berlin, celebrating multiculturalism, celebrating differences and generally forming strong, supportive communities is a necessary political statement. But even measured on a social scale, to have even one weekend where it’s not weird if you’re dressed up, where nobody looks at you threateningly while you’re kissing your partner or holding hands – if it’s only for these little moments of comfort that are not normally self-evident and naturally accepted, then it’s a full success.