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Germany's gay and lesbian community celebrates its big day in July at the annual Christopher Street Day parade. Thousands of gays and lesbians dress up in their most colorful clothes, or strip down to the bare minimum and dance through the streets of German cities watched by millions of spectators along the route and on television. For gay and lesbian people their sexuality is everyday normality. German government recognized gay marriages by giving gay or lesbian couples living together the same tax benefits as traditional married couples as evidence of that.
In Hamburg alone there are some 60 cafés, bars and discos for gays and lesbians, and over 70 gay/lesbian groups from gay Alcoholics Anonymous to a gay Magic Circle. There are doctors, lawyers, hotels and shops catering specifically to a gay clientele. In Germany's unofficial gay capital, Cologne, the first gay youth club has been set up. Industry has discovered the "pink deutschmark" with advertising campaigns aimed at gay target groups that feature gay couples. Even television - which has tended to be a bastion of conservatism in gay matters - now has gay soaps. All this despite the fact that homosexuality was still illegal in Germany well into the 1970s.