It’s 2019 and everyone’s gay. At least in Berlin. And I’m not talking a soft and whimsey 1 on the Kinsey – I’m saying full on, beast mode, hardcore motherfucking gay. In fact, “gay” has transcended its initial label of homosexuality. It now means “to live your best life”, whatever that may be. If you’re able to accept this new and heartwarming reality, then you’re most welcome to enjoy Berlins Pride Week, this year in honor of the 50th anniversary of the New York Stonewall Riots of June 27, 1969.
“Stonewall” was a historical pivoting point for the US homosexuals’ civil rights movement which went on to inspire thousands of people worldwide to fight back against political and social oppression. Hence: Pride Month in June. The Ramadan of Gay (except it’s July in Berlin for organizational reasons and that’s okay, too).
In Berlin, Gay, Lesbian, Queer, Trans, Inter and Asexual Pride (and all the other prides I’ve now forgotten) is traditionally celebrated in July and finds its peak in the annual Christopher Street Day parade (named after Christopher Street, where the Stonewall Inn was located in New York). While the Berlin CSD isn’t the biggest in Germany (Cologne holds the number one spot, while Madrid is the European lead), it’s still a grand old and fabulous party with around 500.000 visitors per year. But all gay isn’t every gay and so there’s much more than just one big parade – there’s something for every inch on the LGBTQ+ scale.
Here are our recommended Berlin Pride events in 2019 (garnished with vintage imagery of LGBTQ+ in Berlin and worldwide).
Lesbisch-Schwules Stadtfest Schöneberg
Kicking off Berlins Pride Week 2019 is the Lesbisch Schwules Stadtfest in Schöneberg, usually known as “Motzstraßenfest”. It is the biggest LGBTQ+ neighborhood party in Europe and attracts around 350.000 visitors per year since 1992. As usual, it takes place at the traditionally gay stomping ground around Nollendorfplatz in Schöneberg. First-timers can expect a very crowded, cheerful atmosphere in this lively Schöneberg Kiez with plenty of different queer projects and stages to draw inspiration from.
Like many Berlin events, the Motzfest has become somewhat commercialized – political institutions and organisations as well as private sponsors all have their place – but it’s still very beautiful. It’s kinda like 1st of May in Kreuzberg, except it’s gay, and therefore much better.
Dyke* March Berlin
It doesn’t take much to be stigmatized as lesbian. Hell, all it takes is to be a woman, usually. The Dyke* March stands for diverse lesbian visibility, following the example of the North American Dyke March movement and sticks to its core principles: It’s a traditional political protest without big cars, commercial advertising or parties.
The Dyke* March Berlin 2019, the 7th since 2013, is held in solidarity with the Liebig34 house project. In September, the queer feminist house is due for a court hearing. There is a threat of eviction because the lease expires and the owner does not want to extend. And very important: the Dykes on Bikes are back!
CSD Reclaim Party at Polygon Club
If Dyke March wasn’t enough lesbian visibility, then here’s the very enticing afterparty by the Berlin based Room 4 Resistance x Lecken x mina techno crews. Just watch the line up and get into the 24h extravaganza. By the way, what the fuck is Polygon Club?
We want to queer Pride™ with you! After walking the Dyke March on Friday evening [26.7], our 3 queer-feminist collectives will be throwing a *24h* gaiety to multiply the senses and strengthen the ties that bind us. We hope to recharge, degenerate and simply bliss out with you in the ballroom, the bunker or the lush garden of Polygon!
Infinite Quest: Pride Edition feat. House of Living Colors
If you’re still hungry for glitter, gold and goddesses after the Berlin CSD, you should consider stepping into the world of INFINITE QUEST and HOUSE OF LIVING COLORS. House of Living Colors have made themselves quite a standing as an open drag collective particularly for QTBPOC to explore gender performance. The focus is community and intersectionality. Expect exciting drag performances and kickass DJ sets.
Christopher Street Day Berlin
When Germans say “Christopher Street Day”, it tends to sound like an Irish drinking fest. Christopher Street is rarely associated with the riots at Stonewall Inn. The name is somewhat irritating – many people don’t know where or what or who Christopher Street Day is or how it became the name of German Pride.
On the one hand, CSDs are considered political parades – full with speeches, political mottos, and patronages from well-known celebrities and politicians. On the other hand, CSDs are often compared to techno parades, where celebrating and partying are the main focus. Unfortunately, this is also one of the main points of criticism: too commercial, too noisy, too superficial to be taken seriously.
Make what you will of it: the CSD in Berlin can be an enormous spectacle and a haven for lonely, rural baby queers who’ve never seen two men hold hands, let alone wear each other on leathery leashes. For everyone else, there are many alternatives during Berlin Pride Week.
If you’re attending, make sure to follow the truck hosted by Wilde Renate Club with TrashEra, Zur Klappe & Melancholie and the Urban Nation Museum truck hosted by Griessmühle (Ellen Allien DJ set!).
Radical Queer March
Even today – half a century after Stonewall – there is still discrimination and violence against queer people. Especially Queers of Colour and queer fugitives, people who do not conform to gender norms, trans* and inter* as well as people whose lifestyles fall outside other social norms still feel this violence and discrimination today. The Radical Queer March is an answer to their specific calls of unison.
This protest takes place in Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain parallel to the official CSD. The protest is a more intimate – and if you ask me, more important! – alternative to the CSD, providing more security and acceptance than the extra-gigantic CSD for those who need it. It’s a “re-appropriation” of Pride and, considering all those brand and politicians dressing their products and logos with rainbows like they’re shitting Skittles, I’d say: very appropriately timed.
The HIGH Society
After the party is the after party? All weekend long – including an open air at SAGE Beach, a boat party on the Spree, a darkroom at Fiese Remise and a float at the CSD. This is the Eierlegende Wollmilchsau of Pride Week parties. Convenient party alternative, as Berghain will most likely be overflowing with gays.
We are a secret queer society from Berlin’s underground. We create and promote spaces where people can be themselves, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, skin color or origin. Our motto is to be positively inclusive, a patchwork of likeminded Berliners and misfits from around the world finding their home in the city where it’s fine to be different.The High Society