CSD Berlin

“Society is becoming increasingly tolerant when it comes to sexuality, but if you are in a wheelchair and have a different sexuality from “the norm”, it is almost seen as a double handicap.” -Hanna

Hanna has always thought she was bisexual, until her child (17-year-old transsexual) explained to her that she is pansexual – she falls in love with people, not genders. 

Hanna is diagnosed with SLE – systemic lupus erythematosus – when she was 16 and has been in a wheelchair for 8 years.

I met her at the wheelchair podium at the side of the CSD main stage, where she was watching the programme with a friend. When I asked her what she thought about accessibility for people in wheelchairs during large events like this, she told me that, unfortunately, it often fails to provide what is needed. Despite a protected area for wheelchair users and a translation of the stage programme in sign language, it is still not barrier-free enough, in Hanna’s opinion.

This was proved when she had to go to the toilet. She managed to navigate through a crowd of waiting people to get to 1 of the 2 handicapped dixies, which was almost too gross due to the use of the many ‘normal’ visitors.

Eva suffered a stroke in 2021 and is therefore dependent on her rollator. She has come to the CSD to support a queer family member who is walking in the parade. She herself comes from a small village where she grew up among narrow-minded people therefore she feels that it’s important to show up as an ally for the LGBTQIA+ community; especially as there recently is a global rise in hate crimes.

In the protected area for wheelchair users at the CSD parade I photographed this wonderful little family.

Jessy has been dependent on her wheelchair since 2009 due to a kneecap injury (patellaluxation). Unfortunately, after 16 operations, there is still no improvement.

Jessy and Elisa met in 2015 and got married in 2018. That same year, Jessy developed her first herniated disc in her cervical spine and required surgery.

In 2019, they lost their first son Noah in the 5th month of pregnancy. In the middle of the pandemic, Mads was born extremely premature at 26 weeks. He is small in stature but is developing wonderfully!

In December 2022, Jessy underwent a second hernia operation, when everything just seemed to be going better she suffered her first two strokes last February and a 3rd one in April. After examination, Jessy was found to have the autoimmune disease APS (antiphospholipid syndrome) and in addition she was diagnosed with SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus).

However, this does not stop them from participating in life and enjoying the CSD parade together.