Thousands march for LGBTQ rights in Berlin parade

Berlin’s senator for culture called to make the city a ‘queer freedom zone’ amid deteriorating safety for gays and lesbians in Hungary and Poland.

Thousands march for LGBTQ rights in Berlin parade

Around 65,000 revellers have marched for LGBTQ rights at Berlin’s annual Christopher Street Day celebration – twice as many as had been expected.

The parade started with a call from Klaus Lederer, Berlin’s senator for culture, to make the city a “queer-freedom zone” in response to deteriorating safety for gay and lesbian people in Hungary and neighbouring Poland.

“LGBT-free zones” have been declared in parts of Poland, while Hungary recently passed a law banning the depiction of homosexuality or gender reassignment to minors that has been denounced as discriminatory by human rights groups.

Pride parade
(dpa via AP)

The senator also noted that the pandemic had been particularly hard for some gays and lesbians at home as shelters were closed.

He said “there is still much work to be done”.

Pride parade

There was no parade last year due to the pandemic, so many people took advantage of the warm sunny weather and relatively low rate of infections to take part in the last major gathering for Berlin’s Pride month.

Nearby, the United States embassy flew a rainbow flag under the American flag.

A Pride reveller

Organisers made repeated calls for revellers to put masks on and keep their distance – though it was not always possible due to the sheer number of people.

The celebrations were preceded by an apparent homophobic attack on a male couple in a Berlin subway late on Friday.

A pride reveller

Other passengers intervened and he was apprehended after fleeing briefly.

Also on Friday, Bishop Christian Stablein asked during a service at Berlin’s Marienkirche for forgiveness from the LGBTQ community for the suffering caused to them by the evangelical church.

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