Christopher Street Day (CSD) has been celebrated for many years throughout Europe as an answer to Pride Month or Gay Pride Parades. This is particularly the case for CSD in Germany and Switzerland. Now, almost every large city in Germany celebrates Christopher Street Day in addition to a number of other pride events!
History of Christopher Street Day
Christopher Street Day (CSD) can be traced back to 1969 when the Stonewall Uprising took place in New York City. On the morning of June 28, a group of homosexuals and other members of sexual minority groups began the first widely-publicized uprising against the brutality inflicted by police during raids on gay bars. These riots took place outside the Stonewall Inn, which was a gay bar located on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village.
These Stonewall Riots were the beginning of the gay rights movement in the United States, and this day has also become an international marker for other activists around the world in the LGBTQ+ movement. The first Christopher Street Day events in Europe took place in the late 1970s, including Zurich, Switzerland in 1978 and then in Berlin, Germany, in 1979. From there, the events began to grow and spread throughout the country and there are now dozens of events that can be attended.
The purpose behind many of the Christopher Street Day events is to act as a dynamic expression for the rights of LGBTQ+ people to celebrate the ways that they identify, as well as demanding progress in society. The events work hard to create a welcoming and inclusive environment, encouraging everyone to act as and celebrate their authentic selves. The hope is to also provide support and a voice for those with various identities in the LGBTQ+ community as their visibility is increased.
While the actual anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising began on June 28, many cities in Europe that celebrate Christopher Street Day often move the date to correspond with a later weekend, due to city restrictions. This means that the celebratory events and festivals may actually take place sometime in July. So those who want to attend should check on the actual dates as it may change each year. But often the event is more than just a day and sometimes goes on for a whole week or even longer!
How to Celebrate Christopher Street Day
Those who want to participate in Christopher Street Day might be interested in joining in on some of the fun events that are already taking place, or hosting their own!
Head to Europe for Christopher Street Day
Those who are interested in getting involved with Christopher Street Day personally might want to take this opportunity to head over to Germany or Switzerland where this event is honored and celebrated. With more than 50 different cities that host a gay pride parade, carnival, or other event in celebration of this day, Germany might win as an amazing place to be during this time.
Berlin, as one of the leading cities in Europe when it comes to gay events, might be a fun city to visit and participate in festivals, parages and other activities. Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt and many other cities are also notable places to visit when looking to celebrate Christopher Street Day.
Host a Party
Those who are in a place where Christopher Street Day is already celebrated might want to head out to a local parade or festival – where many people like to get dressed up in flamboyant costumes and play loud music! But those who might feel a bit overwhelmed by the crowds or can’t find an existing event might want to celebrate in a quieter manner. Perhaps celebrating more intimately means hosting a little gathering at home by inviting a few friends over for drinks, food and fun.
One of the triggers that caused the Stonewall Riots originally was the fact that members of the gay and trans community have been brutally treated by police and other government leaders for many years. While the situation comes with a huge number of complexities, many people realize that showing more kindness, tolerance and respect for others goes a long way toward developing more unity and understanding in communities.
Anyone, no matter where they live, can take some time in honor of Christopher Street Day to show some kindness to anyone and everyone. Make an effort to perform random acts of kindness on this day, show tolerance to someone who thinks differently than you do, or make a donation to a charity of your choice.