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1 entry from June 2007

Munich is comfortably gay. But discomforts can be arranged.

Ah, to be gay and live in a European city! Men holding hands in the Marienplatz. Ogling the Jungen at the Englischer Garten. Gay unions at the town hall. No evil eye from Bundescrats when you ask about permanent residence for your partner. Few other places does being gay mean so much, and matter so little.

Germans tut-tut about hung-up Catholic Bavaria. But as far as I can see, Munichers let it hang out with the best of them. The picture above, of two gay couples lounging naked outdoors, was not snapped at some all-male nudist resort. It was taken on the banks of the Isar River on a Sunday afternoon, in the centre of Munich. Gay, Schmay!
Mind you, the schwulen may be gay, but they’re not always lighthearted. Bavarians invented leather pants, and some riff quite elaborately on this theme.

As any gay male with broadband and a right hand knows, the German leather-bear scene is formidable (especially in Berlin, whose municipal symbol is the bear.) The picture shows a retail outlet for a large distributor of kinky leather gear, and sexual—how shall I put this?—apparatus. The day I strolled by, they were having a sale on forceps.

I innocently walked into a Munich gay bar one day, for a schnelles Helles. The barman instructed me to remove my clothes. When I demurred, he looked at me like I needed special ed. This was Naked Day. If I wanted a pint I would need to drop trou.

Of course, the bar in question was the Munich Eagle, so you can argue that I was asking for it. Still, I have never been asked to remove my clothes at any of their other fine establishments. A gentleman at the Eagle in Barcelona did spend the evening licking my shoe, though.