Saturday, 27 June 2009
Schwul's Out For Summer!
My puns get worse! Schwul is German for 'gay' ('School's Out' is by Alice Cooper). And by the way, I kept wondering why on die Wettervorhersage (weather forecast)they kept saying that tomorrow would be ein schwuler Tag (a gay day?). Actually, they were saying it would be a schwüler day, which means hot and humid. Just shows how important pronouncing those umlauted vowels is!
Anyway, today was very much a Schwuler Tag, it being the Christopher Street Day parade in Berlin. You would spend a long time looking at a map of Berlin without finding Christopher Street (besides, it would be Straße). The reference is to the name of the street in Greenwich Village, New York, where the so-called Stonewall Riots took place in anger over a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in 1969, and which pretty much marked the beginning for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) folk not taking any more shit anymore. I paraphrase of course. Curiously it is only known as a Christopher Street Day (or CSD) parade in Germany and Switzerland; elsewhere around the world it is called a Pride Parade.
So what's it all about? I can sum it up with one representative photo I took (as usual, click for a larger image):
"We're gay, we love each other, we will demonstrate our affection for each other in public and we don't care what you think!" And what on earth is wrong with that? Well, looking at TV footage of the people watching the first Berlin CSD parade in '79 (faces displaying shock, disbelief, disgust), there obviously was felt to be a great deal wrong with that. It shows how far we have come as a society that at today's CSD parade straight people were joining in the spectacle and bringing their kids for a day out. Indeed, I wonder how many people there had become 'gay for the day' just to be able to let their hair down, dress up (or undress!), and take part in this event of unbridled celebration, exhibitionism, and total FUN!
Here are a few photos from the day:
On the downside though, I never, never, want to hear 'Dancing Queen' or 'YMCA' ever again!