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