Berlin: A Peaceful and Colorful Christopher Street Day

Update June 28th, 2019, 06:10 a.m.

In Berlin, hundreds of thousands of lesbians, gays, bisexual, transsexual, inter-sexual people and their supporters staged a huge show of love, colors and music on Saturday. Almost a hundred trucks were part of a big procession from ‘Kurfürstendamm’, in the western city center, to Brandenburg Gate (see video above).

The participants were dressed in all colors of the rainbow, thousands of them, and all sexes with all sexual orientations were represented. Everyone involved made the 41st Christopher Street Day in Berlin a joyful event. Even the weather showed solidarity. After the serious heatwave of the past days, it contributed some clouds now and then, and a little wind, which helped cope with the still high temperatures.

Rainbow Flags All Over the Place

All over Berlin, rainbow flags had been raised in support of CSD. There was one on top of the U.S. Embassy building even though the State Department in Washington D.C. had forbidden any such display of solidarity. Ambassador Richard Grenell, who is a member of the LGBTI community himself, was part of the fun. So was Klaus Wowereit, the former Governing Mayor of Berlin, who had his outing during his term.

The Berlin Senate showed support. So did the conservative publishing house Axel Springer SE, which prints the ‘Bild’ tabloid, the ‘Welt’ daily and countless other publications. Some years ago, they were not exactly known for supporting the LGBTI community. Today they are.

It is similar with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party CDU. Its ‘LSBTI’ group was part of CSD today. At the same time, the CDU’s new chairlady Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is against same-sex marriage. Recently, she expressed that view, even though marriage for all was finally approved by the Berlin Bundestag two years ago.

Demands Connected to CSD

The 41st CSD in Berlin was connected to several demands. Those include the establishment of a housing project and cultural center for lesbians, a “diversity management” for queer employees of the municipality and a
right to stay for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and inter-sexual asylum seekers who come to Germany.

Also the organizers called for action “against ultra conservative and radical right wing positions” which could restrict the LGBTI community’s rights.
“To hell with patriarchy!” is yet another demand the CSD organizers listed. They oppose what they call sexist norms and habits “which favor men and exclude women”. They also want an end to discrimination against HIV positive individuals and a large awareness campaign about HIV.

On top of it all, CSD Berlin 2019 commemorated the Stonewall Incident in New York City, which happened exactly 50 years ago, in late June of 1969. Back then, the NYPD brutally raided the bar ‘Stonewall Inn’, which was frequented by members of the LGBTI community. The raid lead to demonstrations and more clashes between protesters and police. In addition, five other personalities who fought for gay rights in history were honored.

Needless to say, CSD was a very international event. Participants from Canada, the United States, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, all of Germany’s nine neighboring countries and many other nationals were there.

Security was tight at CSD today. The Berlin Police Directorate made sure the rally was safe. Several hundred officers were on duty.

One issue surfaced at the CSD: Some 150 supporters of the antisemitic BDS movement reportedly joined the procession. They refused to take down their flags when they were told to by the organizers. Also there was an obvious contradiction: Under the rule of the Palestinian leaders they claim to support, homosexuals are being persecuted.