Why would a nice Jewish gay boy want to march in the NYC Steuben German-American Friendship Parade? First, I wanted to let more people know that Herr von Steuben, the Prussian American Revolutionary War hero, was gay. There are numerous books written about how George Washington didn’t care that Steuben had boyfriends. Secondly, we are everywhere and should be part of all of the parades in NYC. We are now part of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Celebrate Israel Parade, so why not the German parade?
Considering how the American LGBT Rights Movement can be traced back to Germany through the Mattachine Society (people like Frank Kameny and Harry Hay) through Henry Gerber who heard Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld of Berlin who came to America on his world-wide tour.
Of course the Nazi era tried to destroy or eliminate people with both of my characteristics, but I think the time has come to remember the past; but move on. In today’s world, I am more afraid of the American right-wing supremacists than I am to today’s German society.
So many Americans actually do have German ancestors, but they are still afraid to be open about it. In my case, parts of my family lived in Germany for centuries; and why should I forget or ignore them or their contributions to this world? Many people are surprised to hear that German Jews had a rich culture for centuries and had more rights than American Jews did from 1896-1933. And Germany also had a vibrant homosexual culture in Berlin around the turn of the last century that we shouldn’t forget.
So I, and other LGBT German-Americans and allies, marched along with LGBT Germany and German Pulse — and if more people want to get involved, next year I hope to be joined by more men and women marching; and possibly getting together this winter for drinks.
For more info on the progress and events, be sure to check back on LGBT Germany and infotrue.com/LGBTG.html