CSD 2013: more than just a queer street festival
Germany’s LGBT Pride, the Christopher Street Day (CSD), is set to take place in Berlin for the 35th time this Saturday 22 June. The event is a colourful and euphoric celebration of LGBT culture, and a guaranteed fun day out that attracts crowds of up to one million people every year. But this is more than just a queer street festival, and everybody, no matter what their sexual orientation, should care about it. The CSD is a celebration of freedom, and this is something we can all relate to.
The name itself refers to a street in New York once home to the Stonewall Inn, where in June 1969, police violence towards the LGBT community sparked the 1969 Stonewall riots. These riots are considered the beginning of the modern gay rights movement, and the first ever Pride march followed here in November of the same year. Nowadays, Pride events around the world are held in June to commemorate this historic uprising. Despite the relative equality of LGBT individuals in many western countries, being gay is still illegal in 78 of the 193 United Nations member states, and is officially punishable by death in five countries, so there is still a lot to fight for.
There will be numerous politicians, celebrities and influential Berliners in attendance on Saturday, most notably perhaps, the city’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit. In-keeping with the underlying political nature of the CSD, this year’s slogan is ”Schluss mit Sonntagsreden! Demonstrieren! Wählen! Verändern!” (“Enough Sunday Speeches! Demonstrate! Vote! Change!”) The message is clear, particularly given that the next general elections in Germany are coming up soon.
The parade on Saturday will begin on Kurfürstendamm at the corner of Joachimstaler Straße, which is just a few metres away from the Hotel Concorde Berlin, and will culminate in the street festival on Straße des 17. Juni, just behind the Brandenburg Gate. Hotel Concorde Berlin is not only an LGBT-friendly ‘Pink Pillow’ hotel, it is also proud to be an official partner of this year’s CSD. The official press conference will take place at the hotel tomorrow, followed by the ‘Eve of Equality’ Friday night, which is an invite-only dinner event for the organisers and prominent CSD guests. We will also be tweeting and blogging live from a CSD float, so make sure you stay tuned on Saturday!
22 June, from 12.30pm
Provisional route: Kurfürstendamm (corner of Joachimstaler Str.) – Wittenbergplatz – Nollendorfplatz – Lützowplatz – Großer Stern – Str. des 17. Juni – Brandenburg Gate.
Pride Street Festival
22 June, from 2.30pm
Straße des 17. Juni, behind Brandenburg Gate
For more information visit www.csd-berlin.de