Saturday, June 24, 2023

Pride/Christopher Street Day March in Tübingen

We're just back from attending the Pride/Christopher Street Day March around the streets of the Old Town in Tübingen. It was a powerful, peaceful and joyful occasion, 'awash' with rainbows in their different iterations. Thousands marched. Interestingly, Tracy and I were among a very small number of 'older people' who marched, but given this is a university town, that's probably not surprising. But it would have been nice to see a few more of our generation showing their support. Plenty watched on from the sidelines.

As the violence of the war in Ukraine shatters lives and communities on a vast scale, and threatens so many others, this was a demonstration of what peace, love, tolerance and respect might bring. It was worth noting a committed political 'intersectionalism' present across the procession, with anti-capitalist and anti-fascist flags, songs and mantras echoing out between the buildings. We always accept these in their peaceful iterations. For us, anarchism and peace are inseparable, and we support only pacifist approaches to even complex problems. And joy, camaraderie, community, and the peaceful benefits and inclusiveness of 'queer revolution' sang to us.

Though different groups represented different political and communal aspects of the queer community, there seemed an overwhelming sense that the exploitation, greed, profit and oppression that arise from capitalism, which is so readily yoked to various versions of fascism (in overt and hidden guises), need to be resisted. Capitalism and climate change. Capitalism and arms production. Capitalism and inequality. To link identity, gender and sexual liberty with a move away from the selfishness of capital and power/hierarchies seems essential to us. I am not speaking for all marchers, of course, but that's just one strong impression we took with us as we walked with the community.

What was equally refreshing about the march is that such unity spreads a sense of safety through the communities which we hope will endure. Only a couple of weekends ago, the inaugural Christopher Street Day March in the neighbouring city of Reutlingen was violated by anti-gay counter-protesters who extended their rightwing bigotry to violence and attacked marchers after the parade. It was so important for community to come together today to show such violence will be resisted by increasing presence, by affirming rights, and by denying it any say in how people are or will be. We send our support to those who were assaulted in Reutlingen, and stand by the LGBQTI+ community in every way. Further, we send our respects to the organisers of the march and other events celebrating queerness in all its manifestations, and further out from Tübingen to the world, where minorities suffer egregiously. In solidarity. 

Here are some images from today (taken by Tracy):

And by way of saying farewell, I add a 'sonnet' I wrote the other day after being yelled at in the street. It says something, I think:


I am walking from the bus stop to the flat
when a couple of 'young blokes' passing
in a car slow down and shout abuse at
me. I turn and study them — curving
around a corner they slow further
and shout again. I shake my head and disappear
down a lane-way, wondering if I will
find them waiting at the other end.
This happens to me around the world
for no obvious reason. I don't get their angle.
This weekend Tracy and I will march
in the Pride Parade to show our support —
there have been harassments and counter-marches
by conservatives here. We will sing but won't shout.

John Kinsella