Christopher Street Day in a big village

Munich celebrates Christopher Street Day (photo Jeff Ely)

Christopher Street Day München and all it has to offer.

Munich gay pride started in 1980 and is more commonly known today as Christopher Street Day München (CSD München). Each year the city attracts noticeably more gay visitors than the last. This year's motto was 'Fight for global rights', emphasising that gay rights in Germany are quite advanced compared to other countries such as those of the United States and others. However, CSD München is anything but merely a gay rights march. In addition, it is also a chance for gays, lesbians, gay sympathisers, transgender as well as crossdressers and other assorted gay groups to get together and celebrate.

Last Saturday on the 14 July, the parade started at Munich's city centre around noon and continued alongside two big open air parties. One was across from the city hall (Neues Rathaus) at Marienplatz and the other took place at the Rindermarkt, just a block away. Food and drink were available at both sites. At the Marienplatz, a stage had been built to entertain the public with music, drag queen comedy, and political speeches, while there was proper dancing at the Rindermarkt with DJs spinning electronic music records. Despite some gawking tourists, for the most part it was a GLBT crowd.

The highlight of the entire weekend is the Rathaus-Clubbing event, which is a huge party lasting throughout the night into the early morning hours on Sunday. The beautifully illuminated historical city hall offers several dance floors inside, where revellers can actually waltz, as well as dance to pop and house music of the highest quality. Although the entrance price is steep at 23 euros, the event easily sells out weeks in advance. It is recommended to buy tickets ahead of time at München Ticket or any of the gay sex shops or bookstores. Though it is announced that tickets will be available at the event, it is never the case.

 "This city has such a friendly small-town feel - I just love being here for Christopher Street Day" - Frank Reta, American from New York

In addition, there are other parties happening at the same time and in different locations. The series of events last until Sunday afternoon. In particular, there is the traditional puppet race, which is a comical olympics for transvestites encompassing the weirdest challenges. Similar to the day before, all this takes place in Munich's old city centre.

Although the Christopher Street Day parades take place in each major German city on weekends throughout the summer, Munich's CSD has a unique flair. According to Frank Reta, who was interviewed for this article, the CSD München has less segregation dividing the great variety of GLBT groups. "I have been to CSD events in San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, New York City, said Mr. Reta, who grew up in the United States, "and this is by far the friendliest I've seen. It is more active and exciting." He went on to surmise that due to the Munich's village feel the different groups in the GLBT crowd can more easily mix with one another. Just walking around the CSD München, you could see people of lesbian, drag queens, gay and straight orientation, celebrating and having fun together.

Revellers of every stripe celebrate Christopher Street Day (photo Jeff Ely)

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