PHOTOS: Dresden Takes to The Streets For Christopher Street Day

The reborn eastern German city of Dresden exploded with color on Saturday wit its ever-growing annual Pride march—known (like all German Prides) as CSD, for “Christopher Street Day.”

With about 4,000 marchers this year, Dresden’s parade is still on the small side. But for what it might lack in size, it makes up with panache and sheer endurance: The marathon four hour procession crossed the Elbe River twice and wound through several neighborhoods in the city of half a million, before emptying into the city center Theaterplatz—much to the bewilderment of the throngs of pre-summer tourists in the gorgeous and culture-packed Old Town.

Plucky Dresden has endured a lot: After rocketing to prominence in the Renaissance, it was bombed to near-oblivion in WWII, only to then become a gloomy Soviet satellite as part of East Germany. Now, scores of the city’s landmarks have now been painstakingly reconstructed—including the Zwinger Palace (which houses the incredible Old Masters Picture Gallery) and the Saxon state opera house.

In recent years, Dresden has experienced a remarkable rebirth as a Euro cultural capital.

Though its the largest city in the former East Germany, Dresden’s often stuck in the shadow of bigger Berlin just to the north, and remains mostly undiscovered by Americans. But the city makes a simple, brilliant and very gay-friendly stop on the road from Berlin to Prague, just two hours by train from each. Its hip Neustadt (New City) area is booming, and even the New York Times has now caught the Dresden bug. (Learn more about visiting Dresden here.)

Click through for more images from CSD Dresden 2012.


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  • Carl

    Less than a month until Köln CSD, really looking forward to it!

  • Paul

    You’d think that the Germans would call their LGBT festival something original or re-name it since Christopher street in NYC is very dated and a relic of the 60s and 70s.

  • Carl

    Gay pride festivals in Germany and Switzweland are named CSD in honour of the Stonewall riots, which kick started the entire LGBT rights movement. The name is about respecting and remembering our collective history, not being “original” or concern over whether the phrase is “dated”. CSD’s/Prides are, ultimately, a protest and a reminder, a reminder of what happens if we stay silent. In that tradition, the name serves as a constant reminder of why we hold these events, of the importance they hold, that they are more than simply an excuse to party, get drunk and grope pretty people. Personally, I’ve always preferred the term CSD over pride: it has a deeper meaning and significance.

  • Olive Austin

    Yea, Carl! Not everything is about marketing something new.

  • Holly

    Interesting choice to have folks dressed in the Czech flag as the poster children for a German celebration…

  • operami

    The czech guys did promotion for the gay pride in Prague, just 120km from Dresden. It’s good singn of international cooperation. The Dresden CSD board will attend Prague and Berlin gay Pride in exchange.
    Read more about:

  • operami

    @operami: The czech guys did promotion for the gay pride in Prague, just 120km from Dresden. It’s good singn of international cooperation. The Dresden CSD board will attend Prague and Berlin gay Pride in exchange.
    Read more about:

  • Carl

    @operami: You’re right – a great many prides ‘advertise’ at other nearby events to increase attendance at their own. A personal example – Sheffield held it’s annual pride event this Saturday just gone and the Doncaster Pride committee had a stand there, advertising their own event in early August.

  • Carl

    And I’ve just realised – I post from my ipad and laptop, it’s showing me up as “different person #1 using similar name”. I wonder if actually registering will stop that. Time to try…

  • Carl 1

    @Olive Austin: Sometimes the attitudes of the latest generation stuns me. I’ve met more than a few people who think pride/CSD is just an excuse to party. So sad :(

  • Zach

    Carl-Yes LGBT pride celebrations are basically seen by many as nothing but a reason to party. It’s like that even in Europe, and it’s been like this in the United States for decades which is why I don’t go to pride events anymore.

  • Carl 1

    @Zach: I’ve found that smaller Pride events retain much of the spirit of protest and mutual support that has been lost in the larger events. I see it as community versus commercial. Community prides are a truly wonderful thing – Sheffield Pride which was held last Saturday is a fine example of that. Of course, there is some commercialisation present, but nothing like Manchester or Brighton. These smaller events have a much more ‘real’ atmosphere: I’ve found the larger commercial prides to be little more than meat markets, where the attendees are most concerned about racking up as many conquests as possible.

    So yeah, don’t give up on prides completely – find smaller, local prides to support, where the message is kept real. Despite being a happy day, Sheffield nonetheless brought home the reasons behind pride: before *every* main stage act, a voice recounted through the sound system why we have them. Murders. Discrimination. Assaults. Inequality. Matthew Shepard was mentioned, as I recall.

    Just in case some scream “hypocrisy!” because I’m attending Cologne’s CSD: that is a coincidence of timings, as the main intention is to visit a friend who is living there with her girlfriend, who works at a school. So, obviously, the best time is to visit during school holidays. Coupled with other events taking place (weddings etc), I had limited time lol So, I intend to enjoy myself. As much as my limited German will allow, anyway lol

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