Every year, the rainbow flag flies for a week over Mannheim City Hall. With this symbol of the acceptance and appreciation of diversity, Mannheim unambiguously shows its true colours and is strongly committed to equal opportunities for people of diverse sexual and gender identities. Mannheim not only has the first LGBT representative in Baden-Württemberg, but also excellent support structures and all kinds of great events.
The city of Mannheim has been committed to peaceful coexistence in diversity for many years. For example, the city is a founding member of the “Rainbow Cities Network”, an international association of cities that campaigns for the rights and active participation of queer people.
The city has also established the “Mannheim Alliance for Diversity in Coexistence”. This organisation provides a platform for alliance partners to combine their strengths with the aim of jointly promoting respectful coexistence in diversity and fighting against the various forms of diminution and discrimination – whether based on sexual or gender identity, social or ethnic origin, skin colour, gender, mental, psychological or physical abilities, age, religion or belief.
Since 2016, Mannheim has hosted the city’s Rainbow Reception as a strong sign of solidarity with the concerns of LGBT and appreciation of queer community volunteers in particular. The Rainbow Reception takes place annually as part of PRIDE WEEK. For one week, love is celebrated in all its colourful diversity. The Christopher Street Day demo, followed by a street party in the courtyard of the Mannheim Baroque Palace, is one of the largest CSD parades in Germany. The “Dyke*March Rhein-Neckar” takes place on the eve of the CSD, demanding more recognition and visibility for lesbian, bisexual and queer women.
PRIDE WEEK will also feature an ecumenical service for the LGBT community. By the way, on Valentine’s Day, the “Gemeinde Hafen-Konkordien” also holds a well-attended queer service in the Konkordienkirche (Church of Concord).
Founded by the Mannheim association “Benefiz-Rhein-Neckar”, the “Rainbow Festival” is another magnet for visitors. Featuring music, dance and a tombola, the event is held in benefit of people with HIV and AIDS.
Every year, on the occasion of International Family Equality Day (IFED), rainbow families and their friends gather in the Luisenpark for a joint barbecue. Another popular event is “Grilling on the other side of the river” *, to which PLUS Rhein-Neckar regularly invites visitors in July.
For young people between age 16 and 30, there is the monthly Queer Weekend Lounge. Away from the commercial party and pub scene, it offers space to get to know each other, engage in lively discussions and enjoy a fun and relaxed evening beyond social boundaries.
* "to be from the other side of the river" is a German colloquial expression for being gay
If you prefer relaxing in bars, restaurants and cafés, you can choose from a wide range of locations. At “Café Lello”, you can enjoy a relaxed start to the evening with Italian food. The cozy “Bar2” in T6 is very popular with the gay scene, and then there’s “Café Klatsch” right next to the National Theatre, and the lively “Café Solo”, which is the starting point of the internationally famous Fetish Pub Crawls.
Very popular too are the “Raspberry Party”, which takes place once a month in the Alte Feuerwache (Old Fire Station), and the quarterly “Paisley Party” for lesbians and all women of the queer community. “Disco Zwei” hosts the “HADA ANA Queer Oriental Electro Party” and the colourful “Pony Club”. The “Gaywerk” at MS Connexion – once the biggest gay club in Germany – is also very popular, and there is a huge party during PRIDE WEEK.
As a non-commercial platform for lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer women, FRIEDA offers the opportunity to promote events in the Rhine-Neckar region and arrange dates for celebrations, hiking or sports. Sports enthusiasts should also explore what the MVD e.V. has to offer.
The university group “Queer im Schloss” has established itself at the University of Mannheim and organises various joint events. Apart from that, “Queer im Schloss” is also involved in activities such as #UnserSchlossIstBunt (#Our PalaceIsQueer) to promote the rights and recognition of LGBT students, and not just at the University of Mannheim.
Getting to know interesting people from all over the world and exchanging ideas also goes perfectly with the monthly cooking evenings “Cooking Love”, organized by PLUS Rhein-Neckar. Everything here revolves around new friendships and the pleasure of eating.
For over 20 years, PLUS Rhein-Neckar (short for Psychological Lesbian and Gay Counselling Rhein-Neckar) has been providing a wide range of activities and seminars, individual counselling sessions, network meetings and information events. At “KOSI.MA”, the centre of competence for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), you can be tested free of charge and anonymously for HIV and other STIs. Of course, there’s a counselling service as well – for example on the topics of PEP and PrEP.
There are plenty of self-help groups in Mannheim, including the monthly “Transtreff Mannheim” for trans women and the “Gipfelstürmer” and “Delta-Boys” groups. Here gay, bisexual and trans boys come together to interact, support each other and spend their free time together. For women, there is the “JuLe” group where lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer women between the ages of 15 and 25 meet to share their experiences and make new contacts.
There’s a forum in Mannheim for young transgender or intersexual people too. Once a week, trans, inter, non-binary and gender-queer adolescents and young adults meet together in the “sT*ernchen” group to inspire each other, chat and enjoy their free time together. There are also self-help groups in Mannheim for homosexual fathers, inter-gender people, gay seniors and queer teachers, offering the opportunity to profit from each other’s experiences or get actively involved.
The whole of Mannheim lives colourful love and is known for it far beyond the city limits. Through the active support of the LGBT community and the lively range of bars, cafés, clubs and events, Mannheim attracts countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexual and queer people who can be the way they want to be in the city of squares – and the way they are.