“Keep your sas­hay, swag­ger and swing“

Siegessaeule - - An English Roundup - < Wal­ter Crass­ho­le

> A kick in the leg, a drag queen as­sault, gen­der-po­li­cing, ma­ny mo­re in­stan­ces that can­not be ci­ted he­re – a queer day in the li­fe of a Mahr­zah­ner. Wait, this wasn’t Mar­zahn, whe­re hund­reds of right­wing Ber­li­ners pro­tested a re­fu­gee ho­me this past No­vem­ber – alt­hough it sounds li­ke it. This was Kreuz­berg. And Neu­kölln. And Fried­richs­hain. Our bel­oved, cen­tral districts known mo­re for their di­ver­si­ty than their in­to­leran­ce. But it hap­pens he­re, kids. Af­ter a par­ti­cu­lar­ly row­dy and drun­ken scree­ning of Bon­kin­gBer­linBas­tards in De­cem­ber, fi­ve of us tra­ced Dres­de­ner Stra­ße up to the Piss­rin­ne ne­ar Mö­bel Ol­fe, whe­re echoes of the word “pus­sy” we­re cle­ar­ly ai­med at us. I’ll ad­mit my add­led and in­e­bria­ted sta­te of mind, so what words ex­act­ly we­re ex­ch­an­ged, I don’t re­mem­ber. But at so­me po­int, one of my fri­ends kis­sed me as an act of pro­vo­ca­ti­on. As I sett­led in­to the nice ton­guing – bam! The se­mi-de­bi­li­ta­ting sting of a whi­te snea­ker on my thigh. A few months back, ano­ther fri­end was the pin­ball in a cir­cle of thugs on War­schau­er Stra­ße, and the sa­me night on his bi­ke was hun­ted down by an ass­ho­le with no dis­cer­ni­ble in­ten­ti­ons – alt­hough a pick-up it was not. Du­ring the sum­mer, both I and ano­ther fri­end ex­pe­ri­en­ced gen­der-po­li­cing at two se­pa­ra­te Kreuz­berg and Neu­kölln busi­nes­ses. Ap­pa­r­ent­ly, boys don’t we­ar nail po­lish. And the no­ble shop pro­prietors de­ci­ded it was their du­ty to say so, try­ing to ma­ke us feel as­ha­med for not fit­ting in­to their box. Whi­le this last ex­amp­le isn’t ne­ar­ly as sca­ry as the first two, it’s a bla­tant re­min­der that queers are se­en as so­me­thing be­ne­ath ever­yo­ne el­se. Let me get this strai­ght. I didn’t mo­ve to Kreuz­berg be­cau­se it’s li­be­ral. The­se districts are beats of the outs­iders. People live to­ge­ther in all sha­des of re­al­ness be­cau­se it’s pos­si­ble. I’d ra­ther stand by the jun­kies on Kot­ti than by a fucking glu­ten-free cup­ca­ke shop. And the­re’s a not-even-be­grud­ged re­spect among people around he­re. That’s why ho­mo­pho­bic at­tacks are so sho­cking. This isn’t sup­po­sed to be so­me sort of alar­mist text, eit­her. I’m not crying that the glo­ry days of Ber­lin are over. Ber­lin is and al­ways has be­en a Schwu­len­haupt­stadt (I use the word he­re in­clu­si­ve­ly for the les­bi­ans, too). “Watch out” may sound li­ke a sim­pli­fied an­s­wer, and cal­ling the po­li­ce isn’t a tac­tic that ever­yo­ne’s com­for­ta­ble with, but at the least, if you en­coun­ter pro­blems, tell so­meo­ne – pre­fe­r­a­b­ly queer busi­nes­ses or bars. The­re’s al­so a Ber­lin pro­se­cu­ti­on de­part­ment for ho­mo­pho­bic as­sault. But bot­tom li­ne: Keep your sas­hay, swag­ger and swing – just be awa­re that a big ci­ty is full of ass­ho­les, too. On a ligh­ter no­te: You wan­na see my swag­ger? I’ll be DJing at SIEGESSÄULE’s brand new night, frisch ge­presst, Ja­nu­a­ry 7 at Mon­arch. Bis dann.

A co­lumn of in­ter­na­tio­nal per­spec­tives on queer Berlin by ex­pats on ro­ta­ti­on Wal­ter Crass­ho­le mo­ved from San Francisco to Berlin in 2009. He al­so wri­tes for Ex­ber­li­ner

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