Sunday, June 24, 2012

CSD 2012

Christopher Street Day in Berlin.
Welcome to Berlin...
It all started in the late 60's when a few pissed off people finally said "no more" as the police stormed into the local gay bar, New York City's Stonewall Inn, for their weekly shake down.

Some said that the patrons were mourning the death of Judy Garland and just started to fight back in anger when the police came in. Of course no one really knows what was so different about this night, but the gay men in that bar weren't having any of it, not any more. 

They pushed back when the police came in, and eventually they trapped several police officers IN the bar itself as the patrons left, and locked the doors. That will show you what a few pissed off drag queens can do.

More and more people filed into the streets of Greenwich Village that night in an angry and violent mood. The police had lost all control. 

The next evening another, even bigger crowd gathered in the streets and sparred with an even larger police force, but once again, the police lost control of the situation.  A few days later, once again more people filled the streets and generally let it be known that the archaic rules placed on American gays and lesbians was no longer to be countenanced. 

After seeing this general outpouring of anger, gay community leaders began to get together and form groups to do something with their new found power. Within three years there were over 2,000 gay and lesbian community groups mobilized in America. In my estimation these were the soldiers of '69, and I thank them for their bravery and courage. Because without them, we wouldn't be where we are now.  

These events are commonly referred to as the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement in America. It was a Rosa Parks moment. Just like the other groups of people in America who were insisting on their civil rights at that time, gays were ready to stand up and proclaim that the American Constitution guarantees equal rights for ALL men. 

Ask any gay person living in New York at that time and they will tell you that they were AT those riots. It is a common joke that EVERYONE was at Stonewall. 

A year later a memorial parade was planned. As the Stonewall Inn (owned by the mafia and by this time closed down) had been on Christopher street, they decided to start the parade at that location and call it the Christopher Street Liberation Day. This was the first American Gay Pride Parade, and is the namesake for the Berlin Pride Parade, as well as some others throughout Europe. 

Which brings us to today. I'm quite certain that the parade attended by hundreds of thousands of people (gay and straight) yesterday was quite a bit different than that first parade in the Village. For one thing it is all rather commercial, the next is the "let it all hang out" attitude which can be a bit shocking to first timers. I guarantee that those first parades were walked by men and women in suits and ties and generally quite "normal" attire so as to appear "normal" as well.

But in general it is good, safe fun and an enjoyable time with some of the best mobile sound systems to be had. This year's route took it past a cute little park at the corner of Dorotheenstraße and Neustädtiche Kirchstraße. What a PERFECT place for the trucks to stop and have an impromptu dance session. Wonderful!

Enjoy some pics
Squeeze

Need to rest...

Dance it UP!

WHAT is that round thingie?

There she is... Miss America
Next year I plan to check out the Transgenialer which is the alternative Gay Pride held in Kreuzberg. They say it is less commercial. Perhaps that is where I belong, even though I must admit that I LOVE dancing behind the BIG trucks with their chest thumping beats.

Some would say that in these times when gay people are getting more and more rights, do we really still need gay pride? I say yes. It is a time for us to take to the streets and show the world who we are and that we are proud of it. 

All of my CSD pics can be found here

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4 comments:

The Honourable Husband said...

Snookmeister,

For a lady of a certain persuasion, you have a fine eye for the male form.

I might borrow one or two of your pics for a blogpiece in a couple of weeks, with attribution, of course.

Cool bei dir?

Snooker said...

Dear HH.
By all means. Enjoy!

ianandebe said...

Love these shots. Even a lady liberty! Love, love, love all around.

And to ground these shots in reality, appreciate your perspective and nod to the not-so-happpy road that took us here.

Goofball said...

I've wondered before if the extravagance of some outfits doesn't alienate some straight opiniated people even further, rather than it enhances inclusion?