Topics of these groups remain marginal, serve the diverse look of the Pride, but nothing changes in the structures. We want to distance ourselves from this in order to create space for our political expression of opinion and for setting topics.
We want our voices to be heard, not just our bodies seen. We want to articulate ourselves and take space, without compulsion to consume and exclusion during the Pride Season.
We think intersectionally – based on our own experiences as Black people and as People of Color who experience different forms of discrimination and exploitation at the same time. We organize ourselves knowing that we are very different but share experiences of exploitation and exclusion.
Malonda: It’s actually the case that despite this difference, we still have similar structural experiences. Racism is a very central issue for BIPoCs in queer movements. In this respect, what happened before the CSD is very emblematic of the historical stories of BIPoc Queers, who have often not joined white prides for years.
And it’s not even about our demands being listened to. The Pride movement in Germany is also inspired by Stonewall, but it is still a white space. Of course, this has to do with the issues of being white and racialization in Germany in general.
In Germany it is different. There is no history of displacement here, it was white movements. What happened in the feminist and gay movements in the 1970s was primarily white.
Counter-movements to commercial Pride have resulted in eight Prides, with many saying we need to talk politics, social equality and intersectionality before we can drive rainbow-colored Teslas.
Malonda: The intersectional experience is not the historical starting point of Pride in Germany. Throughout German history, black people and people of color have been alienated in the movement time and time again. That’s why it’s no use if the CSD e.V. simply elevates a black person or a person of color to the board. The problem is structural and already inscribed in the clubs. We are often accused of not wanting to take part. The rooms are constructed in such a way that we cannot participate at all.
Malonda: With seven alternative prides in the meantime, the political meaningfulness of the commercial CSD is obviously not sufficient. I think it’s nonsensical to speak of a split in this context. This is merely a straw man who serves to maintain dominance structures.
But visibility without real participation is ultimately just tokenism, the commodification of our bodies. This is part of the suppression mechanism in white structures. If we behave well, we’re allowed to dance – if we’re too critical, we’re kicked out.
Shukrallah: It can certainly benefit people individually, to be visible as queer people among many in public space. But that has nothing to do with a demonstration, and it doesn’t undo the existing relationships of violence.
That’s why we not only reject the CSD Berlin, but the white Pride Season as such. On September 10th we want to demonstrate and celebrate for emancipation. We want a Pride in which there is space for people who would otherwise not find representation.
Shukrallah: We need to think of oppression based on class, “race”, gender, sexuality and body together. And we have to name capitalism as the problem. If we don’t do that, then we’re not fighting battles, we’re just having a party.
In the catalog of demands that the CSD Berlin e.V. handed over to the Berlin police in 2022, there was not a single line about racial profiling or the protection of trans* and queer sex workers*. But Stonewall was mainly about the fact that marginalized people have repeatedly defended themselves against police violence.
Since the association does not clearly address this topic, it is really a mockery to present the Soul of Stonewall Award – especially as a white institution. If the soul of Stonewall can be found anywhere, it is in abolitionist movements that oppose police structures and advocate new forms of justice.
Shukrallah: We want to question the situation, the police have to defend it with violence. This contradiction cannot be resolved. There are many indications that the Berlin police played a problematic role in the Neukölln complex, attacks on migrant businesses and the so-called NSU 2.0.
That these police then run along with the CSD is simply absurd. It trivializes violence, is racist and anti-queer. Police structures are designed for authoritarianism, esprit de corps and group discipline. You cannot create change with such structures.
Rather, the impression arises that the city should be freed from black people, people of color and from visible poverty. Repression is class warfare from above.
Especially in times of inflation, the question of living space is therefore all the more important. Repression hits poor queers, black people and people of color first, because poverty affects us in a special way and because our struggles are linked to broader struggles.