Flashy, colorful and open-minded...that was Vienna’s motto on July 4th, 2009 when the 14th Rainbow Parade took place in the streets of 1st district, the Ring Boulevard, one of the most exclusive and most beautiful streets of Vienna, which is on this special day staged as ‘the Street of Republic’.
Every year, since its first Organization on June 29th 1996 by Andreas Brunner, Christian Michelides, Guenter Strobl and Hannes Sulzenbacher within the ‘Austrian lesbian- and gayforum’, over 100.000 people travel across their constraints and want to be a part of this very special and unique day in Austrian History in connection with the gay and lesbian community. As an official political demonstration the Rainbow Parade advocates for solidarity, tolerance, equality and equal opportunities for gays, lesbians and transgender people in Austria and works parallel to Germany’s Christoper Street Day. The name for this famous event was brought up by Mario Soldo and his thought of incorporating the rainbow-flag, one of the most-known and spread symbols for the homosexual culture.
For the homosexual community in Austria the Rainbow Parade does not only symbolize standing up and fighting for equal rights and opportunities, but also removing the scales from a lot of people’s eyes and showing the world outside that the homosexual community is open-minded to every citizen of Vienna and kind of invites everyone to celebrate and demonstrate with them. According to Mahatma Ghandi’s non-violent resistance the gay, lesbian and transgender community fights against discrimination and for freedom for the full expression of their personalities. Though homosexuals have to face the issue of being politically unprivileged, the Parade shows a political background on the whole scenario of the Rainbow Parade and even various political parties show their respect and party with the homosexual community on this very special day, among all the Social Democratic Party of Austria and the Greens Party. Once again, the main focus of the 14th Rainbow Parade was the homosexual community arrogating a statute of a civil union for co sexual relationships. Minister for women’s affairs Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek from the Social Democratic Party of Austria and Ulrike Lunacek, Europe assembly woman of the Greens Party proclaim at the closing event of the Rainbow Parade on the Schwarzenbergplatz that they are very sanguine that this would be the last Parade without a law for a civil partnership for homosexuals.
Showing that the homosexual community not only cares about the political situation of gays, lesbians and transgenders in Austrian, an own truck was dedicated to commemorate gays and lesbians in Iran. The truck of the organizers of the Rainbow Parade called HosI (Homosexual Initiative) drove with the Motto ‘HosI: Since 30 year a Hit’, because this pressure group celebrates its thirty years of existence. Every year, after the main march around the Ring Boulevard took place, thousands of people assemble at Schwarzenbergplatz, where the closing event of the Rainbow Parade takes place and where politicians hold speeches and celebrities show their respect through performing their songs on a big stage with draped with the rainbow flag. This year, Valerie, a very famous Austrian singer, Lutricia McNeal, a well-known international singer and many others took their places in demonstrating for the equal rights and opportunities for the homosexual community. The whole march for equal rights, civil union and tolerance ends up in a big party where those thousands of people who assemble are having a wonderful time, full of music, love, tolerance and respect. At 10 p.m. the whole Parade ended with the well-known and famous ‘Blue Danube’ by Johann Strauss, just like it has to be for an event of the Danube-Metropolis.
Beyond all this happy an frolicsome party mood and peaceful demonstrations, there are still a lot of problems unresolved and questions unspoken. What happens to the homosexual community politically in the future? Will they ever be equated in rights and opportunities? Will all this fight and effort one day turn out aided and bring up those issues the homosexual community is fighting for so long and so hard? Problems that will remain unresolved until society finally takes a few steps forward to embrace equality of all kinds of human, whether they are gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgenders, because all that really matter is that we are all one of a kind, humans, with one blood and one need… to be loved.
Last week on the 12th of July 2008 the 13th Regenbogenparade took place in Vienna, which is a street festival for the rights of gay people always attracting homosexuals from all over Europe. This year 120.000 spectators, among them many tourists, gathered along the sides of the street and had a look at the spectacular outfits presented in the colourful parade to the rhythms of classical music and techno. Due to the European Football Championships the parade also had a football theme: “No more offsides!” whereby the organisers called for the discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender people to stop.
Regenpogenparade means rainbow parade in English. The name for the event was chosen as the rainbow flag (or pride flag) is a symbol for the homosexual culture. The original rainbow flag was introduced in 1978 at the San Francisco Freedom Gay Parade consisting of eight stripes in different colours that each has a deeper meaning. Pink stands for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic, blue for serenity and violet for spirit which are all important themes for the gay community.
The Vienna Rainbow Parade was started in 1996 in order to emphasize solidarity, tolerance and equality for gays, lesbians and transsexuals. It should remind people of the first upraise of lesbians and gays against the police in June 1969 in New York on Christopher Street. This is also why there are many similar parades around the world on the so-called Christopher Street Day. While preparing for the event the gay community as well as clubs, bars and shops in Vienna host several events every year with the theme “Gay Pride” in the 29 days before the Vienna Rainbow Parade.
Ever since its start the parade has been a great success with a huge, colourful crowd walking down the Ringstraße (the grand boulevard surrounding the inner city of Vienna) and passing by Vienna University, City Hall and the Parliament finally ending at Heldenplatz, a huge square where a huge open-air event takes place after the parade has finished. This event usually also features prominent acts and celebrities.
At this year’s event Right Said Fred and Kosheen partied with the big crowd celebrating their lifestyle on the streets of Vienna. However, the event is not all about partying; it is also there to remind people of the equality of the gay community and also of risks of this special lifestyle. Therefore, a minute’s silence was held for the remembrance of people who died from AIDS because of their sexual preferences.
The 48 groups who presented there crazy and creative costumes on the parade also showed that the event wasn’t all about fun, but definitely had a political background too. The call for the legalization of gay marriage was clearly in evidence throughout the whole parade. In an act of solidarity two rainbow flags were hissed by politicians on the Parliament for that special day.
Due to the good weather and the immense efforts of the organisers and participants of the parade the event could achieve a visitor record this year. This makes it one of the most important events for gay rights right after the Lifeball Austria’s famous AIDS charity event held every year in the Vienna City Hall that attracted popular celebrities such as Elton John, Sharon Stone, Linda Evangelista or Kylie Minogue over the last years in order to raise money.
Time will tell if the demands of the gay community proclaimed in this demonstration will be heard and fulfilled by the Austrian politicians. In any way the Vienna Rainbow Parade 2008 was a huge success and people here in Austria look forward to the 14th Rainbow Parade that will take place in 2009. If you happen to be in the city around that time, this is definitely a place to go!
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is the most famous Austrian of all time.
2006 marks the 250th anniversary of his birth and Austria will be honoring this musical genius with a rich and varied calendar of events.
New museums, attention-getting operatic performances and extraordinary concert series, festivals and galas, expos, special exhibitions and discussion forums the entire year of 2006 will revolve around Wolfgang A. Mozart in Salzburg, in Vienna and in several other places as well…
some interesting events
The Vienna Stephansdom ( also called Steffl ) was first built as a parish church in 1147 and rebuilt and enlarged over the centuries, with major new work concluding in 1511, but repair and restoration has continued from the beginning to the present day.