A queer action plan for Bavaria!
For the first time in history, 20 Prides in Bavaria have joined forces to put pressure on politics under a common motto. In Munich, the growing Pride makes the cause more visible than ever.
Discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ* are part of everyday life in our land. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans*, inter* and queer people believe that an action plan could help. They will take it to the streets in Munich on 24 June. The Pride Parade and the PrideWeeks before will be bigger than in previous years.
Munich, 7 June 2023 - They kicked off the season with the IDAHOBIT on 17 May. Around 500 people protested in front of the Bavarian Parliament on the International Day against Homo-, Bi-, Inter- and Transphobia for what is the motto of this year's CSD, "Queer Action Plan Bavaria Now!". It should bring equality to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans*, inter* and queer people as well as end discrimination and violence.
On 10 June, with the beginning of the two PrideWeeks, Munich's community wants to further emphasise the demand for a queer action plan. And then march for it on 24 June at the Pride Parade. For this purpose, Munich's and 19 other Prides from Bavaria had already joined forces at the beginning of the year: before the elections on 8 October, they wanted to visibly represent their position together.
For weeks now, the organisers have been trying to draw attention to the issue. However, such an action plan is complex. Most recently, the far more obvious discussion about a drag reading in Munich distracted the public from its important content.
Violence and discrimination against LGBTIQ* are a fact.
Yet a queer action plan seems urgently needed. As the LGBTIQ* office against discrimination and violence, Strong!, documents for Bavaria, the number of offences against the community is increasing throughout the State. The body recorded a total of 159 incidents in 2022, including insults, physical and sexual assaults, rapes and stalking.
Strong! has been systematically documenting attacks on lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans* and inter* people across Bavaria since 2020. 165 cases were registered in 2021 for example, 101 in 2020. However, the number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher, as many victims do not report them out of shame.
"I'm tired of us in Bavaria always bringing up the rear on issues like this," says Katrin Habenschaden, Munich's second mayor. "Waving rainbow flags once a year is not enough; that has nothing to do with real queer politics. In many places around the world, the rights of queer people are being restricted, and here in Germany, too, we're under pressure. It is therefore particularly important that the state government sets a sign of diversity and acceptance through a queer action plan."
The demands: Collect data, sensitise police, revise curricula
A petition for the action plan has been running since last year. The Munich gay-queer centre Sub, co-organiser of the CSD, had made initial demands for IDAHOBIT 2022. Among other things, the state government should finally record queer-specific violence and discrimination figures, sensitise the police to the concerns of queer people, expand the patchy counselling infrastructure, especially in rural areas, revise curricula, create accommodation specifically for LGBTIQ* refugees in all administrative districts, etc.
Uganda shows how important the issues of migration and asylum are. At the end of May 2023, probably the world's harshest anti-LGBTIQ* law came into force in this country. Queer people can be sentenced to life imprisonment, even death; the persecution of HIV-positive people is also enshrined in law. People who stand up for queer rights can be imprisoned for up to 20 years. Those who are able to, they, of course, flee.
"We can hardly keep up with the requests for help," says Julia Bomsdorf, public relations person at the lesbian counselling service LeTRa, which helps organise the CSD through its umbrella organisation LesCommunity. "In August 2022 we had 150 clients in refugee counselling, in June 2023 we are already at 300." Protected accommodation for the mostly severely traumatised people and protection from deportation are therefore essential. "But both are still lacking in Bavaria."
At least an action plan now seems more likely. In a podcast, Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder recently mentioned that such an action plan is now needed even in his Land. His government had ignored this concern of the community for years.
The community is ready to cooperate
Representatives of Bavarian LGBTIQ* organisations now see this as an opportunity to develop the contents of the queer action plan together with the state government. Dr. Kai Kundrath, for example, executive director of Sub, says: "We are happy that Mr. Söder and his government finally want to implement a queer action plan. But the announcement is one thing; now action must follow."
The community should definitely be involved in this, Bomsdorf emphasises. "In the past, it has been shown again and again that the state government and the Ministry of Social Affairs lack knowledge and awareness about queer lifestyles."
Everyone can participate in the action plan
The CSDs in Bavaria will soon set up an online platform where everyone can contribute with suggestions on what they think belongs in such a queer action plan. On 8/9 September, the LSVD Bayern will invite to a parallel conference where queer organisations and professional associations will work out the measures that will then go to the government.
"Bavaria needs a queer policy compass that bundles strategic measures, controls political decisions and makes success measurable," says Markus Apel, board member of LSVD Bayern. "Rainbow masks, small-scale funding and lip service are not enough to comprehensively combat queer hostility in our Land."
It is these demands that Munich Pride will draw attention to over the next two weeks. On 10 June, the two PrideWeeks begin, culminating with the big Pride Parade and the two-day street festival on 24/25 June.
Christopher Street Day is growing
Everything will be a bit more colourful and bigger than before: In order to be able to continue to hold the growing Pride in the city centre - we counted 400,000 participants in 2022 -, the organisers had moved the event forward from the second weekend in July to the fourth weekend in June. This is because no other events take place in the city centre then, such as in July "Klassik am Odeonsplatz".
"We wanted to create space for the Pride," says Alexander Kluge, managing director of Munich Pride. This has the charm of bringing Pride closer to the historic date of the Stonewall Uprising, which marks the beginning of the modern LGBTIQ* movement. On 28 June 1969, in front of the bar of the same name in New York, people of colour, trans* people, lesbians and gays fought back for the first time against the police, who often acted arbitrarily against people of the queer community.
The PrideWeeks are also already more popular than last year: over 100 events have been registered. From 10 to 25 June, the Munich community invites you to a diverse programme of talks, parties, church services, workshops, readings, guided tours, etc. And, yes, the much-discussed drag reading by Vicky Voyage and Eric BigClit is also among them. Many events deal with the Action Plan and its issues.
Solidarity with Ukraine
The PrideParade on 24 June is getting a new, longer route, which is only partly due to the construction works at Sendlinger Tor. With more than 170 registered participating parties, the organisers expect - if the weather cooperates - the biggest protest ever.
This year, the Pride will once again take the opportunity to show its solidarity with the queer war victims in Munich's twin city Kyiv: guests and refugees from Ukraine will walk in the front. There will also be several events on Ukraine. By the way, Munich now has a new twin city with which the queer community of Munich wants to build a special partnership: Be'er Sheva.
The Party Area will find a new home at Odeonsplatz on 24/25 June: the square is bigger, less cramped than Rindermarkt used to be. There are more opportunities to party in general: there is a Musikinsel in Sendlinger Straße; Munich's Stadtmuseum invites to a Lip-Sync Battle in the inner courtyard. And the RathausClubbing is celebrating its 20th anniversary on six dance floors spread over four levels, indoor and outdoor, with a night beer garden!
The new party area leads to the main stage on Marienplatz via in Wein- and Theatinerstraße. This is why there are now information desks as well, which have traditionally only been in Kaufinger- and Weinstrasse. More groups have registered for the Street Festival than last year, a total of 77.
Rainbow families will meet as usual at their area on Frauenplatz in front of the cathedral.
Awareness Team: Safe celebrations for all!
To ensure that all visitors feel well looked after, Munich Pride has set up a team for the first time to take care of awareness and accessibility. "We will not accept offensive behaviour such as sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, interphobic, ableist and similar attacks at the Pride ," says team member Viola Werenbach. Via text message or phone call, they are there for anyone who needs help in conflict situations.
And finally, the queer action plan also plays a central role in the programmes of the main stage at Marienplatz and the community stage in Kaufingerstraße on 24/25 June. At both locations there will be repeatedly held speeches and discussions on the topic.
Melovin and Conchita Wurst are coming!
But above all, the audience can expect music, drag shows and the famous PumpsRace here. The programme has never been more diverse. For the first time in 2023, there will be two main acts: on Saturday evening, the Ukrainian pop star Melovin from Kyiv will perform at Marienplatz, and on Sunday evening Conchita Wurst will come.
"We are looking forward to a visibly political, big, diverse and joyful CSD," says the Pride's Managing Director Alexander Kluge. "It's good that we as a community are united in standing up for our causes and celebrating together what we are. This year even beyond the city limits of Munich, with all the Prides in Bavaria, Kyiv and Be'er Sheva together. That makes me proud."
LGBTIQ* have been demonstrating for equal rights and acceptance in Munich for more than 40 years. At the largest event of the community in southern Germany, which is supported by the lesbian-queer association LesCommunity, the gay-queer centre Sub, the Munich Aids-Hilfe, the voters' initiative Rosa Liste and the queer youth organisation diversity, more than 100 events (2023) take place during a 16-day PrideWeek. Highlights are the Pride Parade with 400,000 participants and spectators (2022), the two-day street festival around Marienplatz and the party event RathausClubbing.