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Gay Travel Dispatch of the Day: Carnival in Cologne, Germany

2_yabis
Writes DJ Yabis on Instagram: "Yeehaw! Best spot to watch #CologneCarnival 🎉🎶🎉🎶 #asianfingers #notapresstriphashtag"

This new series features dispatches from LGBTQ travel writers, bloggers, and photographers who are on the road in far-flung places. If you know somebody who should be featured here, send us an email at travel@towleroad.com.

DJ Yabis is a travel writer and trip planner who has traveled to more than 100 European cities in the last three years. Currently he's in Cologne, Germany where there is an annual carnival underway, similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and he's been posting a few images and clips to Instagram.

Today marks the culmination of Germany's weeklong Carnival festivities highlighted by a long, raucous costumed parade, lots of drinking and singing. Carnival ends at midnight between Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. While the festival has religious origins it has a political dimension as well.

Bloomberg reports that this year the Rose Monday parade (which took place today) gave a nod to Charlie Hebdo:

A float featuring a clown watering a garden of pencils with the words “freedom to joke” led the traditional Rose Monday parade through the streets of the old town on Monday. Authorities previously rejected as too provocative a motif by the Koelnische Karnevals-Gesellschaft von 1945 e.V. with the clown blocking an Islamist terrorist’s gun barrel with a pencil.

DJ posted a few videos from the parade in Cologne, which travels through the old city. You can follow him on Instagram here or his blog here.

More, AFTER THE JUMP...

And find out more about Gay Cologne, here.

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German Town Tricks Neo-Nazis into Marching Against Themselves: VIDEO

Neonazis

Every year for the past 25 years, a group of neo-Nazis marches in Wunsiedel, Upper Franconia, the former burial place of Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess. But they got a big surprise this year when they unwittingly marched against themselves after the town secretly turned their march into a walkathon to raise money against them.

Write the organizers:

On November 15th, neo-Nazis walked through the streets of Wunsiedel. We could not stop them - but we could make them walk for something meaningful: and that is how for the first time a right-wing memorial march became a charity walk - without knowing of the participants. For every meter they walked, €10 went to EXIT-Deutschland - a Nazi opt-out programme. The result: €10.000 and lots of surprised right-wing extremists. But we believe there is more to come. With your support. Engage against neo-Nazis - in everyday life, online or with a donation. www.rechtsgegenrechts.de

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Along the way they were mocked with signs reading “If only the Führer knew!”

Fuhrer

They also provided bananas for the marchers with a sign reading “Mein Mampf” (my munch).

Don't miss the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Couple Share Cute Moment In German Cookie Advertisement: VIDEO

GermanGayAd

German company Brandt Zwieback, advertising what appears to be a chocolate cookie, took an opportunity to turn a simple commercial into a cute, romantic moment between a gay couple. I know my day would be made if a significant other surprised me with chocolate...

Check out the ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Three Arrested in Attack That Left German Gay Rights Activist in Critical Condition: VIDEO

Serbia

A 27-year-old German gay rights activist who was attending a LGBT conference in Belgrade, Serbia is in critical condition after sustaining "life threatening" injuries from an attack Saturday.

Three men have been arrested in connection with the attack - which was captured on CCTV footage, PinkNews reports:

Dusan Jovanovic, deputy director of the hospital where the man is being treated, said the man [whose name has not yet been released] has undergone surgery but is still in a “serious condition”.

He suffered internal bleeding and head injuries in the attack.

It is thought that he was set upon by a gang of men who screamed about “foreigners” in Belgrade, following the gay rights conference.

Footage of the brutal attack AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: violence)

It's unknown how much (if any) the man's sexual orientation played a part in the attack. Anti-LGBT sentiment is rampant in Serbia though, with the government frequently shutting down planned gay pride marches

Continue reading "Three Arrested in Attack That Left German Gay Rights Activist in Critical Condition: VIDEO" »


NewFest Films: 'Futuro Beach' and 'Gerontophilia'

  Gerontophilia
Bruce LaBruce's newest provocation is intergenerational romance

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Help, he’s drowning! In good movies so don’t rush to the rescue. Both the opening and closing night films of this week’s satisfying NewFest (July 24th-29th), NYC's annual LGBT film festival in partnership with OutFest, begin with a drowning. Both drownings become romantic catalysts for the lifeguard, but the films couldn’t be more different in tone or purpose so it’s surely a coincidence. NewFest got the order right, opening with the dramatic punch and ending with a sweet drive into the sunset.

In the Brazilian/German film FUTURO BEACH, which opens the annual LGBT film festival tomorrow, two tourists are hit by violent waves. Lifeguards rush in to save them but only one survives. Donato (Wagner Moura) shaken up by losing his first swimmer, seeks out the survivor's friend, a sporty motorbike enthusiast named Konrad (Clemens Schick) to explain the process for dealing with the body. Soon they're angrily rutting, caught up in the disorienting and wrenching drama. Their hookup appears destined to burn bright and die quick due to its emotionally disconnected start and its rapid and frank visual presentation -- English language cinema still lags far behind European cinema in its depictions of sex; the full frontal here is presented as if it’s no big deal.

MORE ON BOTH FILMS AFTER THE JUMP...

FUTURO-arms

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Gays Face Backlash in Germany

Germany

Conservatives campaign to stop gay sex education amid celebrations for a gay soccer player's coming out.

BY JASON OVERDORF / GlobalPost

BERLIN, Germany — German athletes will sport rainbow-colored uniforms at the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month in a move widely interpreted as a protest against Russia’s crackdown against gay rights.

Although some see it as part of the country’s redoubled efforts to be perceived as a leader in gay rights following Moscow’s recent enactment of an anti-gay law, the recent coming-out of a gay German soccer player has drawn new attention to problems that still face gays and lesbians at home, which suggest the real picture is more complex.

T_hitzlspergerWhen former professional player Thomas Hitzelsperger announced that he was gay last week, he was almost universally celebrated in the German press.

But rumors persisted that his coach dissuaded him from making the announcement until he retired — while the European championships were underway — suggesting that German soccer fans, at least, haven’t fully accepted the idea of gay players.

“The rejoicing sounded suspiciously self-serving and smug,” Der Spiegel observed. “'We are so amazingly liberal that we can even get excited about a gay professional football player,' the message seemed to be.”

James Gardner, a gay American living in Berlin with his German husband, sees cynical politics in the new enthusiasm for gay rights.

“The whole issue of homosexuality is so politicized right now,” he says. "We have this Cold War happening on the gay front," he says, referring to the unspoken divides in Germany on homosexuality, "this Cold Gay War.”

Moves by the Catholic Church in the state of Baden-Würtenburg to ban sex-education classes from teaching students about homosexuality — even though there’s no sign the public school system will be teaching anything of the kind — suggest that in Germany, as in the US, ordinary people remain deeply divided over the issue, says Carolyn Gammon, a Canadian lesbian married to a German woman.

“I'd like to say that it's two steps forward, one step back,” she says. “But it's more like 1.1 steps forward, one step back.”

Recent polls suggest 65 percent of Germans favor full equality for homosexuals, according to Renate Rampf, spokeswoman for the Lesbian and Gay Federation of Germany, the country's largest non-profit gay rights organization.

That means one in every three Germans believes gays and lesbians aren’t entitled to equal treatment, which leaves fertile ground for evangelical Christians and Catholics who vehemently oppose certain rights for homosexuals.

Merkel“Even Chancellor [Merkel] has said that she has a bad feeling when it comes to the issue of gays adopting children,” Rampf said in an email.

Germany recognized domestic partnerships for gays and lesbians in 2001. Three years later, gay and lesbian couples in legal partnerships were allowed to adopt children.

But some less contentious rights — such as tax equality for same-sex partnerships and heterosexual marriages — have been slow in coming. And numerous attempts to legalize gay marriage have failed to pass in successive parliaments led by Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union.

Gays and lesbians confront similar contradictions in daily life.

When Gardner was an openly gay student at an elite private school, he says, his peers accepted his sexuality.

But Gammon says even in her liberal Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg, “schwule” or “gay” is the most common insult in her son's schoolyard.

“Our child is now going through this system,” she says, “and he's never had a single thing that's gay-positive.”


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