In the first instalment of our new travel documentary series PLACES, FACES, SPACES, Sophia Emmerich (she/they) shares with us some of their favourite people, projects and venues that are making a positive impact on queer culture and queer people's experience in Berlin right now. We hope these examples can highlight to you the possibilities of fostering in-person queer community, and encourage you to think about how you could contribute to building queer spaces local to you, as well as be a strong Queer Leader in your local area.
In addition, if you're thinking of visiting Berlin for the first time, we hope this round up will help get you inspired about what aspects of queer culture you could explore. If you live in Berlin or know it well, you might even learn about something, somewhere or someone that you haven't come across before - you never know!
First, here's a little about Sophia, and their connection to Berlin's queer culture...
I’m a Berlin-based photographer and videographer. I’ve lived here for almost twelve years and can’t imagine living elsewhere. The queer scene in Berlin is vibrant, diverse, and multi-cultural. The city welcomes everyone with open arms. There are a lot of queer places to visit and things to experience. I know that Berlin is some sort of a “bubble”, but I love this little queer eco-system that has become my home in the past decade.
And now on to Sophia's picks!
1. P7 Gallery
P7 Gallery is a space that hosts many queer events, including exhibitions, release parties and live nude painting classes. The owner is Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert, a well-known photographer who focuses on Personalities, Art & Queer Culture. The space is small but has what I like to call “a Berlin look”: artsy and industrial.
Kanaan describes itself as an “Israeli & Palestinian coop proving every day that together is better and tastier!”. So if you like hummus, it’s the place to go. The first time I went, the owner, Oz Ben David, was wearing a shirt that said “I am hummussexual" and I’m just a sucker for a good pun.
Schwuz is the biggest queer club in Berlin. It’s been around for 45 years and hosts various parties, so there is something for everyone. This place combines dance, art, and community. And if you are looking for a good drag performance, you won’t be disappointed.
Nora Eckert is an author and trans activist living and working in Berlin. In her recent book “Wie alle nur anders, Ein transsexuelles Leben in Berlin." [Translation: Like everyone only different, A transsexual life in Berlin] she talks about being trans in the early 80s in West-Berlin. She organizes walking tours for trans, inter, and non-binary youth in her free time and is part of the Board of Directors at TransInterQueer.
5. Queer Garten
Queer Garten is a bi-weekly event in Berlin that started amidst the pandemic in 2020. It takes place at the outdoor area of the “Festsaal Kreuzberg”. You will get some nice tunes, food, and drinks. I highly recommend it during the summertime in Berlin.
6. Marietta Bar
Marietta is where your queer neighbourhood connects. The self-proclaimed “queer living room” is located at the heart of the formerly East-Berlin district Prenzlauer Berg. Despite its vintage interior, its only other old-fashioned element is the eponymous drink on the boozy menu. The Marietta hosts weekly events such as “The gay Wednesday”, lesbian regulars’ tables but is also proudly straight-friendly.