Trax sent a (voluntary) journalist to see what goes on at Gegen, one of the most eccentric parties in Berlin

I present myself at KitKatClub around 1am, dressed in a long, black plastic jacket. An outfit that was sure to help me gain entry to many Berlin clubs, but especially Gegen, a bimonthly queer — but hetero-friendly — party held at KitKatClub. At the door, I encounter a bloke with a chiselled jaw stood next to a stone-faced woman in goth attire. Square-jaw asks me a question in German, and I reply speculatively, “I’m twenty-two” — he turns me away without further question. I’m about to argue back when the goth takes over. She signals at me to go through. After paying my thanks to feminism and my euros at the door, I arrive at the cloakroom, where a small, vivacious blonde woman in shorts (and nothing else) takes my things.

On the main dance floor, a motley crowd vibrates to the rhythm of some muscular techno. Around me, a few people have a go at an improvised pole dance routine from one of the bars at the side of the room, while others have climbed up onto the counter. It’s there that I meet two Brazilian sisters who are here on their first night in Berlin. We sit down by the swimming pool near the entrance, a little natural reserve of STIs that’s better off left alone. We sip our vodka apple juice and indulge in some people-watching. It’s a veritable parade, featuring trans folk with blue manes among other freaks of every variety, girls with model-like figures and guys in harnesses… The most unlikely character: a small, pot-bellied forty-something wearing a pair of briefs with a large hole surrounded by fairy lights cut out of the back.

© Aghia Sophie

I get up to take a tour of the club, which is nothing short of a labyrinth. Walking between several alcoves that I’m not sure what to make of, and an arrangement of beds being used as sofas (for tonight at least), I discover some new dance floors in the basement. As I make my exit from a stone cellar where a thick-bearded DJ is playing back-to-back house tunes, I’m suddenly nose-to-nose with a guy who is bent over, hands held up against a pillar, having his arse whipped by a slightly lenient man with a moustache wielding a belt. I feel like I’ve been thrown into one of Bruce LaBruce’s queercore films.

© Gili Shani

Soon after, I meet Simon, a smiley sadist with greying hair, sporting leather trousers with matching boots, who wastes no time in telling me about his penchant for master-slave relationships. He travels around Europe in search of sadomasochist get-togethers and guys he can spank while insulting them in German. He’s disappointed to learn that I don’t really share his interest, or his sexual orientation. We separate immediately.

I go back into the main room, where the bar staff are now bollock naked, and immediately notice a guy getting sucked off on an armchair upstairs. The crowd is steadily letting itself go, but this kind of occurrence remains rare: if KitKat is known for welcoming orgies, it’s not something that happens at every party. At Gegen, there is even a security guard at the toilets to stop people going in in pairs.

© Claudia Kent

It’s 6am and the club ins’t emptying; it doesn’t close for another five hours. The spirited, unrestrained and subversive atmosphere here calls to mind the PériPate parties in Paris. People dance, laugh and kiss, celebrating their hedonistic cult with exuberance, under the guardianship of half-naked or leather-clad DJs-cum-priests. The room is carried by a frenzied energy that transcends the superego of each individual and which allows an overwhelming sense of liberty to reign over Gegen, a party that appears to me, as I walk back at the end of the night, like a kind of fleeting, anarchic utopia. A good day’s sleep awaits…

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