Tag Archives: Berlin

Make Berlin Your Next Queer Vacation Spot

Are you and your girlfriend planning a lesbian vacay getaway? Are you newly single ready to Eat, Pray and Love your way across the European social scene? Hop on a nonstop flight to Berlin, Germany.

Lesbian clubs and parties aren’t dead here.

Lesbian bars may be shuttering all over the world, but Berlin – once known for its incredible queer nightlife – keeps the party going.

Lace up your motorcycle boots and head over to a hollowed-out former motorcycle clubhouse called Roadrunner’s Rock and Motor Club, where you can dance at the Mondo Klit Rock Party for Girls and Friends. Get ready for queer, sexy bartenders, skilled DJs, and drinks that will set your body on fire.

Activists are everywhere.

When you think of squatters, you probably think of Occupy Wallstreet or the cast of Rent singing, “We’re not gonna pay.” But the squatter’s movement is alive and well in Berlin, where you’ll find dozens of “queer-centered anarcha-feminists” living in abandoned buildings, making art and resisting the establishment.

Nerd out, lesbian style.

Take your first date to Spinnboden, which is Berlin’s largest lesbian library and archive. Not only is it gorgeous, with blossoming courtyards, but you can also access Germany’s lesbian history dating back more than 100 years. You can also find movies in all languages, a research room with materials you can’t find anywhere else, and a general library for all your queer tastes.

While you’re at it, check out Berlin’s famous lesbian cemetery.

It’s cheap.

Let’s talk dollars. Or rather, euros. The euro is worth more than the dollar right now, but in Berlin your money can still go a long way.

You also don’t have to worry about public transportation, because you can rent bicycles on a weekly basis (that’s cheaper than a car note or an NYC Metro Card).

Learn more about queer Berlin, and start planning your trip today!

1920s Berlin Was Queerer Than NYC is Today

Although Germany now has a lesbian-only cemetery, the country was not always so progressive. During Hitler’s reign, Nazis rounded up LGBT people. Queer women went into hiding, lost their families and were forced to flee the country.

But what happened right before that?

The new book Queer Identities pulls back the curtain on pre-Hitler Germany. The Berlin of the early 1900s had more in common with NYC’s very gay West Village than it did with anywhere else in Germany. It was so gay that tourists called it both Sodom and Gomorrah.

One writer in 1928 said about Berlin’s finger-licking lesbian scene,

Here each one can find their own happiness, for they make a point of satisfying every taste.”

By the mid-1920s, Berlin had over fifty lesbian bars. That’s more than there are in NYC right now (and soon that will be more than there are in the entire U.S.).

While some bars were refined, many were far from tame. Many times, female performers got so scandalous and bawdy that they were arrested.

Male gay bars were often segregated based on class, ranging from hole-in-the-wall bars where patrons paid 10 pennies for a cheap beer (the equivalent of about $1.30 today), to swanky affairs where the cheapest drinks started at 1 reichsmark (about $13).

In lesbian bars, this wasn’t so. People of every classes mingled, from artists to sex workers to professional women to working-class women. This was unprecedented at the time.

When women weren’t making love behind curtains at lesbian bars (which was an actual thing), they were attending grand gay and lesbian balls. From October to Easter, clubs all over Berlin hosted magnificent balls several times a week. On any given night, you could attend several. Drag was common, and guests dressed up as “monks, sailors, clowns, Boers, Japanese geishas, bakers and farmhands.”

Queer history has often been unkind, as Nazi-era Germany proved a few short years later. But through it all, lesbian and bisexual women have somehow found ways to prosper and continue being themselves. They were heroes, and the best way to honor the ones who came before us is to continue to be our amazing, creative, queer selves.

Pick up Queer Identities here.

A Lesbian-Only Cemetery In Berlin, Germany

A lesbian-only burial plot is being inaugurated in the Lutheran Georgen Parochial Cemetery this weekend in Berlin in a two-century-old cemetery. The group behind the project is called Safia Association.

“We are the first real generation of emancipated, feminist, open lesbians, and we need somewhere to be buried. There is no reason to be buried anonymously anymore and like everyone else, I want to lie with the people I’ve fought with.”

Dr. Astrid Osterland of the Safia Association.

The Safia Association is a national group consisting of elderly lesbians. The association has ownership of the plot for 30 years in exchange for its upkeep and landscaping. Around 20 women have registered for a space so far.

In response to come criticism from local media, Osterland claims the project has “nothing against men.” Anyone is allowed to have their urns in the space, but women will have first pick of the plots.