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Walter Crasshole: CSD’s storm in a Sekt glass

Stonewall or Christopher Street Day? Does it really matter? Either way, the CSD e.V. is stirring up controversy ahead of the June 21 big gay day. And the arguments don't stop there. Walter Crasshole thinks it's lame.

Image for Walter Crasshole: CSD's storm in a Sekt glass
Photo by Mannhoefer

In case you were wondering, the CSD will happen this year, like every year, on a Saturday in June – June 21. For all the gaiety and glitz that goes along with it, it largely passes under this queer Kreuzberger’s radar. But in case you were wondering, there’s a bit of a tizzy this year. And where one catfight breaks out, there’s bound to be Perücke-pulling elsewhere.

In case you didn’t know, CSD stands for Christopher Street Day and is Berlin’s annual gay pride celebration – much like any other major city would have, including the parades, the disco and the large corporate sponsorship – held every year since 1979.  It’s not undercutting it by saying that if you’ve been to one gay pride, you’ve been to Berlin’s CSD.

Maybe they know that and maybe they’re vying for a little of our attention, so this year they decided to shake things up. The tyranny of the CSD e.V. (the main committee behind CSD) came down this year when the organizers decided to unilaterally change the name from Christopher Street Day to the “Stonewall Parade”.

What’s the difference? Beats the hell out of me. The Stonewall Inn was the supposed birthplace of gay rights in New York City as the first site of gay and transgender resistance to police harassment in 1969 (although documented footage shows San Francisco to be the first site years earlier). Where was the Stonewall Inn? On Christopher Street. Both names are referring to the same event – it’s not called CSD because of fabulous shopping opportunities there. They reason that by calling it “Stonewall Parade” they’re politicising the parade – with nothing but a horizontal move. It’s just moving one urinal over to get a better view of the junk, not exactly taking the struggle out of the public toilet.

Why look to another city for a name for our demonstrations? Sorry New York, but we don’t need ya. Berlin’s full of points of queer resistance, transgression and activism from creating the world’s first gay magazine in 1896 to the first gay demonstration in 1922 at Nollendorfplatz to the actions and films of Rosa von Praunheim in the 1970s through today, to countless other examples too numerous to name here. Berlin’s never had a queer drought. So why not dig into our own big, deep gay pockets and find something better? Magnus Hirschfeld Tag?

At any rate, while the name change is the source of one large eyeroll for me, it’s brought out a rainbow coalition of parties against the CSD’s identity-crisis: the gay factions of the SPD, CDU, Greens, Die Linke and the FDP, as well as a host of activists are pissed that the decision came without consultation of the community.

And the CSD e.V. seems to be having a problem getting on with anyone this year.

In case you didn’t know either, there’s a Miss CSD competition every year – or this year, maybe not. A group I’ve never heard of called Hurra Entertainment claims to have taken over the event (with approval by someone from the CSD) to which the CSD e.V. says, nuh-uh. Whether Hurra or the CSD are right, I have no idea. But for nobody’s entertainment purposes Sissy Kraus from the CSD e.V. decided to post an email to Hurra on her FB page. And thus began what a would-be-comical-if-it-weren’t-so-kindergarten 81-comment-strong “interoffice” politics debate. My hat’s off to you queens, you’ve created a storm in a Sekt glass about something, in case you didn’t know, called Miss CSD.

One thing you should know (in case you really wondered) is that I won’t be anywhere near the CSD, er, “Stonewall”, anyway. There are better demonstrations south of the Brandenburg Gate. Mind you, they have their own sets of petty squabbles, but in case you didn’t know, this is 2014 Berlin and I can’t be bothered with something as lame as the CSD.