The SchwulenZentrum, (short: SchwuZ) is a place of great diversity – that goes for both our guests and the program itself! In the nearly 40 years since its founding in 1977, a continuous questioning and continual development of our own values and responsibilities has taken place. Ever a place of rebellion and emancipation for non-heteronormative lifestyles, today we come together as men, women or neither of the two, white or black queers, queers of color, trans* or inter people, lesbians and gays, bearded women, queens, butch and fem, people with and without disabilities, migrants, young and old, and so much more. SchwuZ is an open house for all!
In August of 1971, the Homosexuelle Aktion Westberlin, or HAW for short, was founded. A major motivation for this was the film “It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives” by Rosa von Praunheim. From this primarily politically active group arose the SchwulenZentrum in June of 1977 as a self-managed communication organization. Work groups came together here to discuss emancipatory topics, actions were planned and many new projects such as the city magazine Siegessäule, the bookstore Prinz Eisenherz, the Schwulenberatung and the first CSD in 1979 were started. There was partying and celebration as well: Gay parties, film evenings and the café at SchwuZ attracted a larger and larger group of friends. Across all age groups, the house was marked by a politically active, leftleaning alternative following. An ideal breeding ground for the development of the legendary Berlin queen culture and SchwuZ was able to make a decisive contribution to its formation. From the outset, a major concern was offering artists space for rehearsals and performances.
Great acts that stood the test of time came about here: Melitta Poppe, Chou Chou de Briquette, BeV Stroganoff, Melitta Sundström and Pepsi Boston. And, of course, Matthias Frings, the Teufelsberg Showproduktion, Cora Frost and Rosenstolz, just to name a few. The 90s saw a true boom of new parties in the Berlin scene: Club 69, the Houseboys and the legendary Cockerparty all had their roots at SchwuZ. With increasing popularity, the desire to take the public into account continued to grow. That’s how SchwuZ, which still consists of the sponsoring association SchwuZ e.V founded in 1995 with its open panel and the subsequent SchwuZ Kulturveranstaltungs GmbH, came to change locations several times: From its initial location in Kulmer Straße in Schöneberg to Kulturfabrik in the Hasenheide and then Mehringdamm in Kreuzberg and finally Rollbergstraße in Neukölln, our home since 2013.
The change in location to the old Kindl brewery in Neukölln is also a political task for SchwuZ. Our goal of connecting different, cultural aspects of life and a part of this exciting neighborhood have been significant motivators. In addition to the normal club operation, larger event spaces also offer room for additional concepts & actions: New initiatives, such as the live concert film series known as Berlin live and produced for the television station arte, exhibitions and discussion forums pave the way for a broad audience. To this day, SchwuZ remains an extraordinary project that lives from the enormous professional and volunteer work, flat hierarchies and the desire for an emancipatory and above all dialogical development.