Thursday, May 23, 2013

It’s Pride Time! Enjoy, But Don’t Be Comfortable!!

If anything, Switzerland is a discreet place. Proof in the many royals, celebrities and high-profile CEOs who find comfort in visiting paparazzi-free. Arms folded, eyes down is the nature of the Swiss, and even the more outgoing immigrants soon enough find themselves conforming. It may seem a cold way of life, but it’s a peaceful one.

Peace often equals happiness. But does it equal equality? In a world that is overall unwelcoming for gays, Switzerland is an easy place to get comfortable. But gays here legally don’t enjoy equal rights and do face discrimination. What was once a huge leap for the LGBT community in Switzerland, the registered partnership, now looks like outdated legislation. Switzerland must move ahead.

It’s pride time and it’s time to show that we aren’t comfortable. It’s time to demand more. And, with pride in Switzerland, options are aplenty! Hold your head high, have fun, and don’t be discreet at one of these upcoming events:

All Families Matter
Zurich Pride Festival, June 8 (parade and main event)

No surprise the biggest pride celebration in Switzerland is in the country’s largest city. The Zurich pride parade kicks off at 14:00 in Helvetia Square, and Swiss Germans don’t mess around when it comes to timing. 14:00 is clearly 14:00 and not a minute later. And, if you’re planning to walk along with the parade floats, make sure you wear good shoes. In Zurich the parade’s speed is more that of a light jog rather than a leisurely stroll.

The theme of the Zurich Pride Festival is “All Families Matter.” One of the aims is to make it clear that, while the Swiss registered partnership is a compromise, LGBT families matter as much as all others and deserve real equal rights. Indeed, “All Families Matter,” and do they ever! Just think of the shocking opposition to the French “marriage pour tous.” Discrimination and hate are strong, we must be stronger.

Following the parade it’s party time. The pride park at Turbinenplatz is nicely located just in front of the Ibis and Novotel (Zurich City West). For all the club rockers, the night lights up in burlesque style at the WonderWorld Party, official pride party.
Like Everyone
Pride 2013 Fribourg, June 22

While pride in Zurich may be Switzerland’s largest, it’s by no means the only place to make a statement. Pride Romande, organized by the Swiss-French is taking place in Fribourg, a charming town of 285,000. The location choice is worth taking note of. After all, is it not the conservative areas where the LGBT community needs to make its case the most? If there’s any part of you that has ever said, “I wish I could do more,” then here’s an easy and fun way to participate. 
The motto of this pride is “Like Everyone.” Quite simply, gays are different, like everyone is different. And in the end we are all more alike than we may think, especially in the human need for rights.
Things in Fribourg get going at 12:13 – why not 12:15, well again, this is Switzerland and it’s all about timing, isn’t it! The parade rolls out at 13:13 in front of the Théâtre Equilibre and a whole list of activities are in place for the day.

Not to miss is the divine Catherine D’oex (pronounced Day), who has an iconic, yet approachable status with Swiss Romands. And for the club rockers, the “Very Official Pride Party” opens at 23:13. For accommodation, try the nearby hotel NH Fribourg, only a 2 minute walk from the parade start point, Théâtre Equilibre.

In the Same Boat
Party in Basel, June 15

All aboard! Once a year the gay community meets in Basel on THE SHIP in the Rhine Harbor. Things get started at 19:00 when the party is officially opened by the executives of Network, who represent gay leadership. Various organizations present themselves as the sunsets and DJs move in by nightfall. The party goes until morning, but should you wish to retire before the cock crows, find accommodation nearby at The Best Western Basel.

Happy Pride!