Germany's First LGBT Xmas Market to Make Advocates Out of Shoppers
By Michael Regula
If you’re shopping in Cologne this holiday season, don’t forget to don your gay apparel. The return of the annual LGBT Christmas Market is back, complete with Cologne’s deputy mayor to preside over the opening ceremony on November 25.
Known as Christmas Avenue, this year's market will officially open with Deputy Mayor Elfi Scho-Antwerpes presiding over a ceremony featuring a popular drag queen/comedian, and Wanda Kay, the performer who delighted crowds last year with an array of singing and dancing numbers. And if that’s not enough, all previous Avenue performances will surely be dwarfed once Mark Janicello, one of the world’s best-known Elvis impersonators, takes the stage for "A Very Elvis Christmas Concert." (Surprisingly, David Hasselhoff is not part of the festivities.)
Christmas Avenue, however, is not just about shopping for loved ones this year. While locals and tourists will scramble for last minute gifts and indulge in culinary delights and hot drinks, local activists will also be on the prowl raising awareness and support for current LGBT issues and a mixture of LGBT and HIV/AIDS charities. Among the more prominent issues hoping to garner awareness this season is the ongoing battle for equal rights in Russia. A special event dedicated to opposing homophobia and transphobia in Russia is scheduled for Human Rights Day on December 10.
Christmas Avenue officially opens at 7 p.m. on November 25.