Photo © Getty Images / Mixmike

Pride and Prejudice

Lost while searching for an archive of LGBTQ+ culture, a couple ends up surrounded by the biggest LGBTQ+ experience of all – Stadfest, Berlin’s massive Lesbian and Gay City Festival.

Sarah O'Donnell's Profile Image

By Sarah O'Donnell

Travel Writer

13 Apr 2022 - 5 Minute Read


“The Schwules Museum, one of the largest and most important cultural institutions documenting LGBTQ+ culture from around the world, is located just a short walk from Nollendorfplatz”, the guidebook promised.

Over an hour and a few heated discussions about the delightful nuances of ‘a short walk’ later, my girlfriend and I admitted defeat. We were lost. As we schlepped through the shadow of the Metropol Theatre for the third time that afternoon (its ornate Art Nouveau façade becoming decreasingly ‘nouveau’ to us), we pledged to swallow our pride and ask for directions.

Instead, Pride swallowed us.

Berlin’s Lesbian and Gay City Festival is Europe’s largest street party of its kind, taking place annually in June, and we had just stumbled into its midst: specifically, into a man with a beard made of glitter and wearing a festive bra headdress.

All around us bodies writhed to the pulsing bass of German techno as our tributary of two merged with a river of thousands. Carried by the current of the crowd we streamed through the Schöneberg streets, past information kiosks, arts ‘n’ crafts stations and every kind of world cuisine imaginable.

Getty Images / Omer Messinger

Eventually recalling our original goal and spotting a life raft in the unlikely form of a fetish leatherwear stall, we dredged ourselves from the whirlpool of miniature rainbow flags and iridescent soap bubbles to ask for directions.

“Schwules Museum? You are looking at it!” the guy behind the counter grinned, gesturing to himself and his colleague, both advancing in age.

While meant in jest, his comment struck a chord. What better source of LGBTQ+ life in Berlin than this? We’d been so focused on finding an archive of LGBTQ+ experience when the festival offered something more valuable: the experience itself. Grabbing a large, frosty stein each, we ambled over to Das Wilde Sofa, where festival presenters grilled high-profile guests from politics and the media for the delight of the crowd.

Pleasantly lubricated, we eventually arrived at the Schwules Museum, taking in both its permanent display and the remarkable temporary exhibition of queer South African activist and photographer, Zanele Muholi.

Before embarking on the journey home, we paused in front of a memorial plaque near the entrance of Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn commemorating the gay victims of the Nazi era. A sobering reminder that, although for LGBTQ+ people worldwide there is still a long way to go, so much has already been achieved.

And that is something to celebrate.

Sarah was a winner of the World Nomads Travel Writing Scholarship 2015.

Discover similar stories in

Travel Writer

Sarah was a winner of the World Nomads Travel Writing Scholarship 2015.

Related articles


  • Shazad Ahmed Khan said

    Thank you

  • Kerrie Meek said

    Dear friends at

    My name is Kerrie and I am a volunteer with Action for Humanity Charity.

    I am writing to you to see if you or anyone at would consider donating to help us provide humanitarian aid to the civilians in Gaza.

    Action for Humanity is working tirelessly to save as many lives as possible, but we need YOUR HELP!

    Action for Humanity has been able to distribute water tanks in Gaza and bring in supplies. In the midst of the conflict, we distributed food and essentials, but due to the cease-fire, we have brought in more supplies and emergency aid.

    Gaza is a cramped home to 2 million people, one of the most densely-populated cities on Earth. A large majority live under the poverty line. Your donations are essential to their survival. Provide emergency aid today and together, we can begin to bring some relief to the people of Palestine.

    Innocent children in Gaza are trapped in a cycle of suffering and trauma, with no chance to truly recover due to the ongoing hardships; they need URGENT help RIGHT NOW!

    The Action for Humanity team are working tirelessly on the ground to save as many lives as possible and rebuild Gaza.

    Please spare what you can and donate towards this appeal.

    Please share this message with your friends and colleagues. No donation is too small.

    Thank you for your time.

    Warm regards

    Kerrie Meek
    phone: 3769478631
    Address: Via Belviglieri 116, Roma, 174, RM, Italy

  • Ellen said

    Hi Kerrie,
    We are currently funding a project in Gaza through our Footprints program:

    While the project you're supporting certainly seems like a worthy cause, the bitcoin links in your comment raised some red flags. So we have replaced those links with the Action for Humanity donation URL.

    World Nomads

Add a Comment