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© Brigitte Dummer
© Brigitte Dummer
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Gay Berlin: The City’s Biggest LGBT Festivals

Picture of Lily Cichanowicz
Updated: 9 February 2017
Berlin has long been regarded as one of the most gay friendly cities in Europe. With its historic neighborhood of Nollendorfplatz, many gay rights demonstrations, and flourishing gay nightlife and tourist scene, the city has plenty to offer members of the LGBT community, its allies, and anyone curious to learn more about this diverse and inclusive scene. Here are some of the city’s most exciting and prominent events and festivals.
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Lesbian and Gay Festival

Berlin’s annual Lesbian and Gay Festival is the largest pride event of its kind in Europe. Naturally, it is held in and around Nollendorfplatz in Schöneberg, the city’s traditional gay neighborhood. The two-day festival is held each July, and it draws over 400,000 visitors. From food stalls and market vendors to information booths, live music, and art installations, the festival includes attractions for everyone. Plus, most things are owned and coordinated by members of the local queer and transgender fraternity, meaning that attending the Lesbian and Gay Festival is an excellent way to support Berlin’s LGBTQ community.

Nollendorfplatz 5, 10777 Berlin, Germany

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Christopher Street Day

Also known as Berlin Pride, Christopher Street Day is a widely celebrated event dedicated to commemorating the Stonewall Riots of the late 1960s, which served as an important milestone in the fight for gay rights around the world. The event includes a march that begins at Kurfürstendamm followed by a demonstration for tolerance and equality for LGBTQ at the Brandenburg Gate. After the demonstration, people congregate in the Pride Village where there are two stages presenting live music, speeches, and finally, the Soul of Stonewall Award ceremony.

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Folsom Europe

Organized under the motto ‘Let every man seek heaven in his own fashion’, Folsom Europe is a Berlin-based festival all about fetishes with particular emphasis on leather and BDSM. Held in early September, it attracts more than 20,000 visitors over its five day duration. There are men-only meet-ups, parties, a street fair, and other events to unite and connect members of this subculture. The city’s best food vendors, queer organizations, retailers and fetish clubs participate in various ways to help facilitate this truly unique event. This is the place to go if you’re a man looking for a dose of the risqué.

Fuggerstrasse, Berlin, Germany

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Kreuzberg Pride (Transgenialer CSD)

Kreuzberg Pride, also known as Transgenialer CSD, is usually held the same day as the main Christopher Street Day event with a special focus on the transgender community and their allies. The event consists of a demonstration followed by a final rally with live music in Heinrichplatz. This event is usually more on the political side than Christopher Street Day so the presence of national flags and commercial advertising are not permitted. It’s an unmissable event that usually ends with everyone dispersing to one of Kreuzberg’s alternative clubs.

Heinrichplatz, 10999 Berlin, Germany and various locations throughout the city

Lesbisch Schwules Stadtfest

This street festival is the precursor to the Christopher Street Day celebration and is often regarded as the kick-off to Berlin’s pride events. Under the motto ‘equal rights for the unequal’, the Lesbisch Schwules Stadtfest, with LGBT organizations, set up stands and shops presenting within the realms of six different ‘festival worlds’, under the categories of film, radio, positivity, politics, sports, and health & wellness. This is one of the more laidback of Berlin’s pride events and is popular with both tourists and locals alike.

Various locations throughout the city

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Respect Gaymes

Respect Gaymes is a completely free event comprised of sports matches, live music, and more with the aim of promoting respect and acceptance of gay and lesbian persons in Berlin and beyond. About 60 participating football teams compete in a tournament at the event. Meanwhile, six bands compete by inspiring both the jury and the audience with songs written specifically for the event. There is also a breakdance battle, beach volleyball games, workshops, and even celebrities at the event who serve as Respect ambassadors. The Respect Gaymes are held in early July.

Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark Cantianstr. 24, 10437 Berlin, Germany, +49 30 2250 2215

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Easter in Berlin

Even bigger than Folsom Europe, Easter in Berlin is the largest fetish event on the continent. It happens every year at Easter time, and the Berlin Leather and Fetish club are its organizers. Nollendorfplatz is the epicenter of Easter in Berlin, but events are organized throughout the city, and many of its fetish shops and nightclubs including the legendary Berghain participate in various ways. Easter in Berlin is also meant to promote tolerance, interchange and community for fetish lovers. This is not an event to be missed for those curious about the more alternative gay scene.

Nollendorfplatz, 10777 Berlin, Germany

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Gay Night at the Zoo

Gay Night at the Zoo is an open-air swing party held at Berlin’s Zoological Garden each summer, often on the night of Christopher Street Day, whatever the weather. It mostly centers around music and dancing with performances by live DJs along with the BVG Big Band. Of course, it is also possible to stroll throughout the zoo, a unique experience at night. In its 12th year, Gay Night at the Zoo has become a Berlin tradition. Food and drinks are served at the Penguin Bar.

Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin, Germany, +49 30 2147 3586