The 44th CSD will take place in Berlin at the weekend. How are the preparations going? Good, even though we’re on the home straight and therefore have a lot to do.
The motto of this year’s Pride demo is “United in Love! Against Hate, War and Discrimination”. What is it about? It is about the process of uniting people with each other and the common greatest denominator: love. Our demands this year are extremely detailed: They range from the topic of hate crime/hate speech to education and enlightenment to work and diversity, trans/inter/non-binary topics, rainbow families, health and generations – to name just a few.
The CSD is like a big party. How do you ensure that these demands don’t go unnoticed? Apart from Pride, we will also send our demands to a total of 150 institutions, parties, business and cultural establishments and civil society organizations. And this year we want to put particularly high pressure on the lack of reactions. Thematically, it is important for us that this year we are against wars, not just against one war: we also want to draw attention to hatred on the street and in the digital space. And on the discrimination outside, but also within our community.
But the war in Ukraine will play a role, right? How can the barbaric war against a sovereign state like Ukraine not play a role? The war is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms and is also having a massive impact on the queer Ukrainian community. We invited the Kyiv Pride and are in contact with Quarteera, WostoQ, the LSVD and also the Marzahn Pride. During Pride Month in Berlin we initiated a Ukraine benefit concert with Quarteera and collected donations.
Berlin Pride Month took place for the first time this year. However, one month after International Pride Month in June, why? There is a well-known problem: How do we ensure that entertainment and our demands find each other? Pride Month Berlin is the start of a journey on which the community and we as an association jointly curate content and define annual focus topics. The international Pride Month does not compete with that in Berlin. On the contrary: It’s great if this creates two months of increased visibility for queer topics!
A focus topic this year is Mental Health, why? Mental health and psychological problems are affecting more and more people, but people from the LGBTQIA community in particular are increasingly affected by depression or anxiety disorders. The multiple burdens of queer, sick people often remain invisible.
And what do you do specifically? For many months, Anna Holfeld and Tobias Herrmann-Schwarz from our team have been giving tips, tricks and addresses for help on our social media channels as well as advice via email every Monday. We are infinitely grateful for that, because it is all voluntary work. There will be a whole mental health truck at the CSD itself. There was also a sober party – without alcohol and drugs – which Tobias and Anna also curated. Such a low-threshold and easy access to important information is great!
And how are the other events as part of Pride Month going so far? Very good! We have included a total of 63 events in our program in Berlin, some of which we have initiated and supported ourselves. We are incredibly happy that all previous events have strong partners and collectives and that the plural society also visits our events strongly. The highlight will of course be the demonstration on Saturday. We will be particularly loud there, because we want and have to create reach and yes – we have to turn the city upside down so that our demands are heard. In order to be visible with the large amount of content, there will again be voice contributions on the trucks.
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Speaking of trucks, 96 cars will take part. Groups like Queers for Future are calling for a move away from big trucks amid the climate crisis. What do you think of that? The CSD has an important tradition, which also includes trucks, in order to differentiate itself from ordinary running demos by size and volume. The CSD without trucks, without music, without people would not be a CSD. The CSD is revolutionary and belongs on the streets. If we keep quiet on the streets, then the necessary attention for the queer community and its issues, which also include environmental awareness, is missing. If Queers for Future want to work out demands with us, we are happy if they come to us.
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Not only the Queers for Future are welcome. The CDU, the Axel-Springer-Verlag and various companies that are not necessarily known for campaigning for the rights of queer people will also have a car again, why?Freedom of expression is an indispensable part of our democracy. This also includes the opportunity to learn new things and to change opinions – also in politics. And change can also happen from within organizations if we support queer groups within those organizations. Then they can campaign for more understanding. We are ready to enter into a meaningful discourse with everyone who is open to it. These are not all political forces in Germany, but most are. That’s why our motto “United in Love” is so important. The LGBTQIA community as a monolithic block does not exist. We speak with many voices and have many opinions that come together in the fight against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and for queer love. Something that society as a whole can still learn a lot from.
The CSD association speaks with many voices, but you are the only woman on the five-member board. What is the club planning to achieve more diversity? For me personally, it would be important to become more diverse overall. It is, however, a difficult task to get people to volunteer at one of the largest one-day events in Germany. Because shouldering such a great responsibility on a voluntary basis, you have to be able to afford it in terms of time and money. Perhaps the income gap between men and women also plays a role here. However, we try to keep the access to the team low-threshold and to promote the participation in the CSD with personal discussions. Incidentally, not only the five people on the board are involved in the organization, but a core team of around 15 wonderful people, which also includes many women and people who do not fit into these categories of male-female.