Christopher Street Day (CSD) is an annual European LGBT celebration and demonstration held in various cities across Europe for the rights of LGBT people, and against discrimination and exclusion. It is Germany's and Switzerland's counterpart to Gay Pride or Pride Parades. Austria calls their Pride Parade Rainbow Parade. The most prominent CSD events are Berlin Pride, CSD Hamburg and CSD Cologne, Germany and Zürich in Switzerland.
The CSD is held in memory of the Stonewall Riots, the first big uprising of LGBT people against police assaults that took place at the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Manhattan, New York City's Christopher Street in the district of Greenwich Village on June 28, 1969.
On June 28, 1970 the Christopher Street Liberation Day in New York and the Christopher Street West Association in Los Angeles marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the first Gay Pride Parades in United States history. To accommodate the interests of the many different groups participating, the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee named the days leading up to the march Gay Pride Week. Both New York City and Los Angeles have since continued to remember and celebrate the Christopher Street Liberation Day/Christopher Street West on the last Saturday of each June. It has become an international tradition to hold a demonstration for the rights of LGBT people in the summer. The first German Christopher Street Day took place in Berlin in 1979; other parades before then had different names. The first documented LGBT parade in Germany was in Münster on 29 April 1972. The first parade in Switzerland was celebrated on June 24, 1978 in Zürich and was called "Christopher Street Liberation Memorial Day."
CSD Berlin started already in 1979. Now almost every large city in Germany celebrates CSD, with the largest in Berlin (Berlin Pride), Hamburg (Hamburg Pride) and Cologne (Cologne Pride). When Cologne hosted Europride in 2002, it attracted 1.2 million participants and spectators to the city together with the Cologne Carnival.
Due to organizational reasons, the CSDs do not take place on the historic date of June 27, but on different weekends between June and August. On the one hand, CSDs are considered political parades, and therefore also include speeches, political mottos, and attendances and patronages from well-known politicians. On the other hand, CSDs are often compared to carnival processions or techno parades, in which celebrating and partying are the main focus. This is the idea of all gay prideparades: through celebrating, the LGBT community shows that they can be proud of themselves and their community.
A typical Christopher Street Day Parade includes floats as well as walking groups usually provided by and made up of members of LGBT organizations, but is increasingly used also as a platform for political campaigning and commercial advertising as floats by political parties and commercially sponsored trucks are becoming more common. It is also typical to see many drag queens or women and men (mostly the latter) scantily dressed. BDSM enthusiasts also often participate in CSDs. The parade is usually quite joyous and has a rather upbeat and exciting energy to it. In addition to the Parade and the final rallies, in many cities there are days or up to whole weeks of street festivals and cultural events with artists, political events, lectures, readings, parties and other festivities.