The fight for acceptance and tolerance continues!
This June 22nd Christopher Street Day was celebrated for the 35th time in Berlin.
About a million people took part in the parade and the CSD finale, marching on the street for the rights of gays, lesbians, transsexuals, transgender and inter- as well as bisexuals. This year’s main theme of the parade was discrimination.
The CSD is held in memory of the Stonewall Riots that took place on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a bar on Christopher Street, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. The Stonewall Riots were a historic series of violent rebellion by the LGBT community, against biased treatment of homosexuals and other sexual minorities by the police.
The first “Christopher Street Day” in Berlin was celebrated on June 30th 1979. Four hundred West Berlin protesters went on the streets disguised, as they were scared of being recognized. Instead of celebrating “Gay Pride,” the theme was: “Schwule raus aus Euren Löchern, alleine werdet Ihr verknöchern”, “Lesben erhebt Euch und die Welt erlebt Euch”. “Gays get out of your holes, because alone you will fossilize;” Lesbians rise up and the world will acknowledge you.” Today, CSD is a time to have fun and to celebrate queerness in all its glory but the recent hate crimes in New York City also show that we are experiencing a violent backlash against the LGBT community and more outreach work needs to be done.
CSD is a celebration of how far we have come in gender and sexual equality since the 1960s, but the fight for acceptance and tolerance continues! The underlying message, however, is much bigger, it says to people being happy is a human right.
Celebrate the fact that you are who you are!
It also is a festivity to inform especially the younger gay community. My friend Nick, who is a young gay New Zealander living in Berlin for over two years now, finds the crazy partying and happy festivities, can make it easy to forget the historical and political origins of the festival, the battle waged by the older generations in order to allow such a coming together of diversity in today’s incarnation of gay pride. There is still work to do. From his perception, however, Berlin is a place accepting people for whom they are and it is arguably the biggest place on earth where LGBTs can be free to be who they want to be without discrimination.
People from different backgrounds with various sexual orientations come together and share what it is like to be human – not being defined by what separates them.