Zurich, Switzerland is preparing for
the crush of 50,000 revelers expected for EuroPride, Europe's
official gay and lesbian pride parade and march.
The annual festival has been held in a
different European city since its 1992 premiere in London, but
attendance continues to falter when compared to other giant gay
prides such as Madrid's giant July parade that boasts an estimated
1.5 million or Sydney's gay Mardi Gras that draws thousands of people
to its Oxford Street route party.
Last year, host city Stockholm drew an
estimated 500,000 people to EuroPride on a rainy Saturday.
“It's above all a political
demonstration, to defend lesbian, gay and transgender rights. But we
are not just here to demonstrate, we're also going to party,”
EuroPride Spokesman Michael Rueegg told AFP.
This year's theme pays homage to New
York City's Stonewall Riots – often considered the birth of the
modern gay rights movement – that took place forty years ago this
Zurich is also celebrating, adopting
the gay movement's rainbow colors throughout the city. Residents
recently elected their first openly lesbian mayor, Corine Mauch.
Berlin and Paris voters have also elected openly gay mayors.
Gay rights opponents are also making
themselves visible. Several anti-gay groups have condemned the march
and plan to launch counter campaigns during EuroPride.
EuroPride 2009 “Celebrating 40 Years
with Pride” takes place Friday and Saturday and includes a week's
worth of cultural programming on GLBT history.