Berlin’s gay and lesbian scene is world class, making it a magnet for gay men and women from all over Germany and Europe. This has been the case since the 1920s, when Christopher Isherwood and W.H. Auden were both drawn here to escape the fear of harassment and legal persecution in the rest of Europe. Weimar Berlin’s gay scene in the 1920s and early 1930s was prodigious before it was outlawed and persecuted in the Third Reich. This is a distant memory today: the charismatic city mayor, Klaus Wowereit, nicknamed “Wowi”, is openly gay and it’s not uncommon to see glitzy transvestites dancing on tables at even conservative bashes. The monthly gay magazine Siegessäule (siegessaeule.de) has listings of events and is free from most gay bars and venues, while monthly publication Blattgold (www.blattgold-berlin.de) lists lesbian groups and events and is available from feminist meeting places and bookshops. The best time to explore the hurly-burly is during the annual month-long Pride Festival, centred on the Christopher Street Day parade (csd-berlin.de) at the end of June.

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