International Pride Month may have ended, but in Munich the party is just getting started. And you can be assured Bayern Munich fans will join in on the festivities. Ahead of Munich’s annual Christopher Street Day celebration, Bayern put out a press release on the club’s website in support of their largest LGBTQ+ fan club: Queerpass Bayern.
The club’s statement reads:
FC Bayern are showing their colors on Saturday in Munich: On Christopher Street Day, where a stand is made against discrimination and exclusion as in every year, the champions of Germany will be supporting the “Queerpass Bayern” fan club. Around 40 supporters will take part in the procession and FC Bayern will show their solidarity with shirts, balloons, and Berni will be on their side.
The statement also said the club plans on producing Pride merchandise and will light up the Allianz Arena in the colors of the Rainbow Flag.
Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge publicly supported the festivities:
Along with our ‘Queerpass’ fan club we want to continually make a stand for tolerance and diversity and against racism and homophobia. Football brings people together and, as an open-minded club, we want to make our own contribution.
Queerpass Bayern chairman Markus Janke voiced his own joy over the support from the club:
We are very happy about the commitment of FC Bayern. It sends out an important message when a global club like this one takes up the subject of homosexuality. That makes an important contribution to the removal of taboos.
Christopher Street Day has been the most important public event in the movement for over forty years. Janke explained,
It really means a lot to us for FC Bayern to show they are standing with us on a day like this. We want to present a common image with FC Bayern – campaigns like this send out a wonderful signal that encourages and helps a lot of queer people to break down barriers.
Context and Commentary
For those unaware of how important this is, allow me to catch you up.
Munich has celebrated Christopher Street Day each year since 1980. Since you may be wondering about the name, Germany and Switzerland are the only two countries in the world that refer to their Pride festivities as “Christopher Street Day.” The name is a tribute to the Stonewall Inn, which is located on Christopher Street in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.
In 1969, fifty years ago, New York City police raided Stonewall, which was a popular gay bar. The patrons revolted and protested, leading to a series of events known as the “Stonewall riots,” widely considered to be the most important event in the Gay Liberation Movement.
For those unaware of German politics, Munich is widely considered one of the most conservative cities in the country and is one of the few where its Roman Catholic population is larger than its Protestant population.
Munich’s role in Nazism must also be addressed. The movement was started there, and homosexuals were some of the Nazis first targets. Tens of Thousands died in concentration camps throughout the war.
So, for Bayern Munich, paradoxically one of the most fiscally conservative, yet socially liberal clubs in Germany in one of Germany’s most conservative areas, to support a queer club on their day of Pride, is something amazing and important. It shows the club is able to adapt with the times, and accept all of their supporters.
...and a personal note
Which is perfect for me. And everything I look for in a club. Here’s why:
This is a photo of me at NYC Pride a few weeks ago. This was the largest LGBTQ+ event in the history of the world. Over four million people were in attendance for the parade alone.
See that tattoo on my arm? It’s not clear, but I can tell you what it says.
Mia San Mia.
I got that done after a rough patch in my life, because it’s more than the Bayern motto, it means something very deeply to me. “We are who we are” is a great motto for a club, and it’s a great reminder to me to not be hard on myself or hide who I truly am.
It’s been a long hard road to being comfortable with myself, but it’s something we all do in life. To be fair, I didn’t know that by 20 years old, I’d be able to say that I’m okay with myself. Hell, I’ve only been truly comfortable for the last few months and have told only few who I truly am. So, this is incredibly big and hard for me.
But, we are who we are. And I am who I am.
And I am bisexual.
To see my favorite club support me and those like me on a major day is something I deeply appreciate. It shows me there’s a place where I belong, and a place where I can get as much support as I give them.
So, thank you for supporting your supporters Bayern Munich; and Happy Christopher Street Day Munich. Let your hearts out.