EuroPride Zurich 2009: Switzerland Is Buffed For Its Party Of The Year


EuroPride Zurich 2009

Switzerland Is Buffed For Its Party Of The Year

EuroPride gold medals for the sports festival

‘Gay’ and ‘Zurich’ are hooking up this month, and quite the affair it is turning out to be.  Never at the forefront of gay tourism, Switzerland is coming out of its chalet to welcome Gayworld to its biggest city for EuroPride09, the continent’s annual celebration of GLBT pride and culture.  This year’s festival has been pleasing participants with a diverse range of events that began with the opening ceremony on 2 May and will last until the final celebrations on 7 June.  That’s right, more than a month long.  The Swiss, in a reflection of their nation’s ethos, have taken EuroPride to a new level of sophistication and diversity, incorporating its annual Pink Apple, Warmer Mai, and Christopher Street Day cultural events into the greater EuroPride celebration, making for the most exciting period ever in gay Switzerland’s history.  What can possibly be offered over such a long period?  Far more than you can imagine; one glance through the exhaustively comprehensive EuroPride09 guide will have you wondering how to fit in volleyball, political discussion, concerts, and all-night parties into one visit. 

The Zurich cantonal, Swiss national, and rainbow flag flying with Pride

For those who are only familiar with Pride events hosted by individual cities, Europe goes one better by electing one city each year to be the host of a pan-continental celebration.  EuroPride debuted in London in 1992 and was an instant success, with a crowd of more than 100,000 people attending.  Since then, such cities as Paris, Manchester, Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, and Stockholm have all had their turns in the spotlight, with Madrid’s 2007 edition reaching phenomenal numbers of attendees at more than a million people.  

The goals of every EuroPride celebration is to bring GLBT campaigns and culture into focus on a European level and to support gay communities in each host city.  In 2009, the message is even stronger as the fiftieth anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots reminds us of the first mass resistance to gay oppression and police harassment, perhaps enlightening a younger generation of gay people of the struggle to establish the rights and freedoms enjoyed to day in such enlightened countries as Switzerland, where laws against homosexuality were abolished way back in 1939 and where civil partnerships were legalised in 2002—the first time such a partnership law was approved directly by the people themselves. 

The city centre on beautiful Lake Zürich

In Switzerland, you see, the people have the power.  With political talk of democratic principles bandied about between world leaders like hors d’oeuvres at yet another palace reception, they would do well to slack off Swiss banks and instead examine Swiss politics with a similar intensity.  Switzerland is home to the world’s truest democracy, with referendums taking place four times a year so that Swiss citizens can vote directly on the propositions of the day.  The people’s votes determine the law, not politicians who decide whether or not to muffle the voice of the majority.

Political discussion, of course, is part of the EuroPride agenda, as are economic symposia, special gay-themed tours of Zurich attractions (Homosexuality In The Animal Kingdom at Zurich Zoo, for example), and a whole lot of goodwill.  Zurich is emitting a lot of positive vibrations this month, culminating in the big Town Festival and parade coming up on this weekend.  If you drop everything and leave the office right now, there’s still time to make it to Switzerland; get on a flight with Swiss International Air Lines and be here for the festivities!  In fact, they will start on the plane as soon as you take off.  Business Class on Skytrax’s winner of Best Airline in Europe already brings Switzerland to passengers as soon as they come on board.  

EuroPride’s Center Point is buzzing every
night of the week

Check out Switzerland Tourism’s gay and lesbian page, Switzerland Tourism’s EuroPride page, Zurich Tourism’s gay and lesbian page, EuroPride09, and the very helpful EuroPride Magazine, a 120-page masterpiece of literature outlining the entire program.  Last weekend, the EuroPride sports festival took place, with athletes from many countries taking part in such events as swimming, volleyball, aerobics, and running. 

With Park Hyatt Zurich providing a very posh place for gay travellers to rest between events, it’s easy to see why this hotel is so popular with A-gays who appreciate the hotel’s finesse in service as well as its convenient location and fashionable rooms.  Discretion, of course, is another asset.

What are you waiting for?  Book your flights, book your room, and see you in Züri!

Source = WoRLdviews: R.L.B

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