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Christopher Street Day

Cosmopolitan and tolerant – Germany as a destination for gays and lesbians

Being homosexual is simply not an issue in Germany and is part of normal, everyday life in towns and cities up and down the country. Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich in particular have an open and vibrant gay and lesbian scene.

Germany's has some of Europe's most progressive legislation regarding homosexuality. Same-sex couples have the right to adopt and any form of discrimination against gay or lesbian couples is prohibited by law. An open and vibrant gay and lesbian scene has flourished as a result, to the increasing benefit of cultural life in general. Christopher Street Day is celebrated exuberantly in almost every major city, and cinema-goers in Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Cologne are treated to the 'Verzaubert' Queer Film Weekend, which brings homosexual issues to the big screen. These are just a few of the many 'pink' highlights in Germany's calendar of events.

Berlin alone is home to some 300,000 gays and lesbians. It's the third-biggest gay city in Europe. So it's no surprise that the scene is thriving. There are 150 gay bars, same-sex dance classes and sports clubs, specialist fashion stores and even a french fries stand staffed mainly by gay people.

According to a survey, one in ten people in Cologne are at least occasionally attracted to members of the same sex. It's nothing strange to see men kissing openly and women holding hands outside Cologne Cathedral. Aside from Christopher Street Day, the highlight of the city's event calendar is the WomenPride festival. Both form part of the annual Cologne Pride festival.

Smaller, but very multicultural is the gay and lesbian scene in Germany's banking capital Frankfurt. Most 'pink' pubs are found in the area north of Konstablerwache known as the 'Bermuda Triangle'. Visit frankfurt.gay-web.de to find out about upcoming events and the hottest venues.

'Live and let live' is the motto in the port city of Hamburg, Germany's gateway to the world. Most gay people are drawn to the St. Georg district. Previously written off as a crime hotspot, the area has attracted an increasing number of cafés and bars since the 1990s.

Munich has a particularly active gay and lesbian scene. The gay Rose Monday Ball in the Oberanger Theatre and Gay Sunday at the Oktoberfest are just two in a long list of annual events. During the festive season, gays, lesbians, transsexuals, singles, couples and families gather together for the Pink Christmas in the Glockenbachviertel district.