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Cologne Pride 2005

Photo Report
ColognePride
ColognePride

In the 2nd July Köln/Cologne had one more edition of the Pride Parade. The objective was to have the biggest gathering of Europe but at 600'000 it was eclipsed by the 1 to 2 million persons that where present in the same day in Madrid (a special Pride event since it was the commemoration of the same sex marriage law in the country). At the very same day, and at a more "cozy" scale, Porto Pride was also organized in Portugal. In all these events millions of persons coming from all corners of the world shown that it is possible to overcome the challenge of having a minority sexual orientation and even so give a live testimony and in a party that LGBT persons exist and are part of the society. The Cologne Pride motto this year was "getting older with dignity" showing that we cannot look only to the youth and we have to care about those that built the world that we live in.

Invited by the city hall, PortugalGay.PT visited the city a few weeks before the main event. The organization had the official support of the city tourism but a visit to the local tourism office didn't show a single LGBT item, by the contrary the small office was filled up with promotion material for the catholic youth gathering showing clearly the main objectives of the city for 2005.

But don't think that the XX World Youth Day organized by the Catholic Church will not have a visible LGBT participation. "The KLuST" LGBT organization has prepared a series of events to show that LGBT and Catholic are not incompatible concepts.

With a different perspective of the Youth World Day, that was invented by late Pope John Paul II to promote the Catholic Church to the youngsters, the Cologne Pride, like other Prides all over the world is not the promotion of an invention but yes the remembrance of a striking day, 36 years ago. In 28th June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York, U.S.A. a group of clients reacted to the systematic abuse from the local police. In Germany the pride parades are usually identified as "CSD" - Christopher Street Day in a reference to the street where the mutiny took place.

The Cologne Pride has a diversified program. It includes the "Let the sun shine in your heart" gala with German singers. A conference about "lebenslang liebens: würdig", i.e., "getting older with dignity". The religious side was not forgotten with the "Pride Divine Services" for all LGBT with faith in one God, whoever He may be. But the biggest moments, besides the parade, are the two Pride-Night: two magical nights in the Cologne streets full of party goes that for many justifies by it self the visit to the Cologne Pride.

This year had for the first time an additional program with specific focus on lesbians that included plays, movies, historic visits, a erotic cabaret night (with charity objectives) and a reading about the paper of lesbian women over the world.

Cologne City
Köln

A city with about 1 million persons, full of memories of Roman civilization, it is also a city of architectural contrasts: from modern steel-and-glass buildings, to the typical German houses, gothic monuments and post-war buildings. Cologne has 31 museums (including a Gay History Study Center). It also includes one university and 3 technical schools, the Fachhochschule Köln is, with the 18.000 students the biggest college in Germany. Cologne has a total of 65.000 students. Twenty per cent of the city population is not German, from this a quarter is from turkey. When it comes to eating out we had the change to try two radically different places: the Haxenhaus, at Frankenwerft Strass 19, an historic building where we have an amazing choice of meat; and the "Kini", modern and trendy with a tasty and sophisticated cousine, and also a meeting point for the locals LGBT. Köln/Cologne is also promoted as the only European city with a "Pink Welcome Card": a tourist card valid for several days that combines free rides on the public transportation services with discounts on several LGBT places. About bars and discos the choice is so varied that the mais problem is choosing where to go... the help from the locals may be essential to avoid arriving at a fashion-victim-Eurovision-songs-place using the leather sex club outfit!

German Wings
German Wings

This is a rather newcomer in Portugal but Gordon Jenner (marketing and sales director) told us that the Lisbon routes are a success. Traveling in the German Wings its only possible buying a ticket on the Internet and there are no reserved seats. It can be tricky to get the right seats when traveling with a partner (hummm... this can be an advantage some times). The prices are inexpensive and even the on board menu is rather economic. In our flights the on board service was flawless.

Intercontinental Hotels
Intercontinental Hotels

The Intercontinental Hotel Cologne has 250 rooms and 12 suites, and its situated right in the historic city center with a 5 star service. Sympathy and professionalism is something you can count on from the staff. The rooms are practical for either business or pleasure, with broadband internet connection, several tv channels (although the free channels are rather German-focused). All over the hotel there is a stylish by agreeable environment. Another plus is the direct access to the full-featured health club (swimming poll, 3 sauna, steam bath, fitness classes, massages and solarium). The hotel bar its a surprise like Sascha Brezovac (sales and marketing director) reveals "it is not common to have an hotel bar with so much life as ours. It has clients till late with many visitors and Köln locals enjoying the life music." The Intercontinetal hotel is also, according to Sascha, very used by LGBT hosts specially at the Carnival and the Pride.

More information about Cologne Pride at www.colognepride.de.

Jornalists Sightseeing

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Intercontinental Hotel Köln

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Ancient Köln

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Modern Köln

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Gay Köln

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Cologne Pride (photos by ColognePride)

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19 August 2005
 
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