Hannover, Munich, Cologne, Berlin, Hamburg, Katowice, 09/18/2023

A Look Back At The ‘be.queer Pride Season 2023’

Subject: Society
Country: International
Category: Project

This year, hundreds of thousands of people advocated for diversity and tolerance in a number of cities and at various events. The “be.queer” employee network participated in a total of six “Pride” parades with several hundred colleagues. We present a review of the season.

Six cities, hundreds of colleagues, well over 1.5 million people reached…just some figures that describe this year’s “Pride” season in Germany and Poland, in which Bertelsmann’s employee network “be.queer” was also actively involved. The season began on May 30, when our colleagues from Arvato took to the streets of Hanover, Germany in bright sunshine. Equipped with handcarts, rainbow flags and a lot of good cheer, they sent a strong message advocating for equal rights for the queer community.

Less than a month later, Munich held its “Christopher Street Day (CSD)” parade, for which colleagues from Verlagsgruppe Penguin Random House, Arvato Systems, DK Verlag, RTL Zwei, Telamo, and Territory joined forces. More than 180 groups marched in Munich’s biggest “Christopher Street Day” parade to date. Shortly afterwards, on July 9, UFA and Arvato Systems took part in the CSD demonstration in Cologne with their own float. As temperatures soared, the “Space for All” group paraded through the streets of Cologne with a total of over 150 participants, including Ute Biernat, CEO UFA Show & Factual, and Matthias Moeller, CEO Arvato Systems Group. The CSD parade made its traditional start on Deutzer Bridge and then took the 4.3-kilometer route through downtown Cologne. More than a million spectators and supporters watched and cheered the CSD parade from the side of the road. With more than 220 groups and around 60,000 participants, this CSD parade, too, was bigger than ever before.

Colorful, noisy and peaceful

Likewise, in Berlin, hundreds of thousands of people made a stand for diversity and tolerance in July. They included numerous Bertelsmann colleagues who rode through the streets of the capital on Bertelsmann’s double-decker “be.queer” float. Also on the float were Lucy Diakovska from the pop band “No Angels,” radio host, podcaster and Goldmann author Philipp Fleiter, and actor Jannik Schümann, known from the UFA series “Disko 76” and the RTL series “Sisi.” Hundreds of thousands of people came to the “Christopher Street Day (CSD)” in Berlin and celebrated colorfully, noisily and peacefully. More than 70 floats and some 100 groups on foot paraded along a 7.4km (4.6 mile) route through Berlin’s various neighborhoods. “Be their voice – and ours! ... for more empathy and solidarity!” was the motto of this year’s CSD parade in Berlin, and Bertelsmann’s double-decker float with space for 150 people lent full support to it. Finally, in August, “be.queer” participated in the “CSD Street Festival” in Hamburg. A raffle featuring a diverse range of books from Verlagsgruppe Penguin Random House attracted hundreds of visitors to the “be.queer” booth and led to lively discussions. The colorful Pride season ended with the Equality March in Katowice (Poland), for which close to 50 colleagues had spent weeks preparing.

“Be.queer” is the cross-divisional network of LGBTIQ+ employees and allies at Bertelsmann. With the backing of Bertelsmann management, it promotes a “queer-inclusive” corporate culture and encourages exchange within the community. The network is present at CSD parades, career fairs, and internal events and organizes regular meetups at various Bertelsmann locations.