The lesbian history of Parla only became visible in the mid-2010s, despite the town being inhabited since 200 CE when people from the coastal part of the Iberian Peninsula began to settle in the area. When real lesbian history started in Parla, it was the early 2010s and it was intrinsically linked with either homosexual and bisexual groups, or with the broader LGTB community and it was remarkably devoid of actual lesbians; most of the leadership in these groups were men. While Madrid is very close by with an active lesbian activist community, and historically having lesbians who were more out and engaged in activism even if it was not centered around their lesbianism, Parla appears to have lacked lesbians of their own. Unlike other regions in Spain, the Comunidad de Madrid did not appear to have a lesbian, homosexuals rights or LGTB organization that operated on a regional level, specifically seeking to draw attention the lives of LBT women in areas outside the big city; Parla lesbians could not benefit from such structures. Researchers at their hospital do not appear to have engaged in research that focused on the infertility needs of lesbians or their needs after they became mothers; this was the case elsewhere in Móstoles and Alcorcón.
Izquierda Unida Parla founded ALEAS as an LGTB group inside their association in January 2010. The group was the first in Parla dedicated to defending the rights of the LGTB community. They unanimously chose Mariano Vilar, a 31-year-old from Madrid, as their first coordinator. Their immediate goal was to fight homophobia while also addressing class privilege. Vilar said that it was in addressing this class privilege as part of the battle against homophobia that differentiated Izquiera Unida from Partido Popular and PSOE. Izquierda Unida Parla went on to issue a statement in honor of Orgullo 2012. The only member of the LGTB collective that they named in their statement was transsexuals.
For the first time in 2015, the town hall celebrated Orgullo, and expressed their support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The following year, Orgullo was again celebrated by the town hall with a rainbow flag hung across the facade of the building and a manifesto being read out by Arcópoli member from Parla Eduardo Garcia Rios. He emphasized “the dignity of each person constitutes the basis of the rule of law and is hidden in the Spanish Constitution.” Following the manifesto being read, Social Area Councilor Marta Varón Crespo gave a symbolic welcome to COGAPA, an LGTB collective created earlier that year to work on supporting the rights of LGTB people in Parla.
COGAPA was founded in 2015. They were only around for a few years before folding in 2019, with the brunt of their activity existing only on social media. After they disbanded, the town was left without a homosexual rights or LGTB organization for two years. The group met in February 2017 to vote on the statues to create an association, vote on positions in the collective, and to set goals for the year. COGAPA met with Rubén Lodi from Arcópoli in Parla for Orgullo 2017.
Podemos founded a local branch in Parla in early 2015. They would go on to post about lesbians a number of times on their social media, including mentioning Lesbian Visibility Day on their Twitter account on 26 April 2016, using the hashtag #DiaVisibilidadLesbica. Despite this, they never advertised any lesbians in leadership inside their organization and never organized any events in support of lesbians or in honor of Lesbian Visibility Day. They also never specifically named any lesbians from Parla and how issues impacting lesbians specifically affected them. Podemos Parla occasionally made lesbians visible as a class but never made lesbians in Parla visible as individuals with class specific needs and never named any of the lesbians their class based mentions were designed to assist.
According to a 2016 Observatorio Madrileño contra la homofobia, transfobia y bifobia report, there were 240 LGBT hate crimes with 316 victims in the comunidad de Madrid. 93% of the aggressors were men. Gay men were 71% of the victims with lesbians and transwomen the second most with 13% each. Lesbians were one of the groups least likely to report such crimes, with only 18% of victims doing so. That compared with transgender people at 30% and gay men 25%. When corrected for under reporting, the total of likely lesbian victims increased across the region from 31 to 57. Three of the total incidents occurred in Parla, though the data on the members of the collective victimized was not shared.
Asociación LGTBI Arcópoli’s manifesto against LGBT discrimination in sport was read aloud during the 9 February 2017 plenary session of the city council. The town hall celebrated Día Internacional contra la Homofobia, Bifobia y Transfobia on 17 May 2017 with a reading of manifesto by Mayor Luis Martínez Hervás on the steps of the building. He condemned the fact that there were seven countries where LGBTI people could be given the death penalty and eighty plus countries where LGTBI people could be imprisoned for their existence. He affirmed the town hall would fight against discrimination and promote equal treatment of lesbians, gays, transsexuals and bisexuals. The concentration was attended by PAH de Parla, local neighborhood associations and collectives, municipal employees, unions, members of the local police. In honor of Orgullo 2017 Parla, the town hall put a rainbow flag on the front of its building on 28 June. The President of Arcópoli, Rubén Lodi, read an institutional statement by the town hall at the door of the town hall.
Kolectivo Atropa Feminista de Parla is a women’s only feminist collective in Parla, seeking to empower women through the sharing of knowledge so they can combat machismo in their closest environment. Kolectivo Atropa Feminista de Parla have mentioned lesbians on their Facebook page four times since early 2018 but only one of these mentions had to do with lesbians in Spain, and then only in a sporting context. They have also never promoted any lesbian related events. In general, they have focused on female sexuality very little across their social media platforms, discussing it as a primary topic only three times of which one of those was in reference to male violence. They also did not promote events that discussed female sexuality.
The town hall, in collaboration with Arcópoli de la Comunidad de Madrid, again celebrated celebrated Día Internacional contra la Homofobia, Bifobia y Transfobia in 2018. They published the manifesto by Arcópoli and also held a minute of silence to recognize Ekai and Thalia, two trans neighbors from Ondarroa and Móstoles, who committed suicide.
Podemos Parla recognized on their social media that lesbians faced double discrimination for being women and being homosexuals as part of their Orgullo 2018 activities.
2019 saw a decrease of LGBT hate crimes in the Comunidad de Madrid, down 24 from the previous year. While 248 of the 321 reported incidents took place in Madrid capital, Parla recorded three cases, tied for sixth most in the region alongside Collado Villalba, Fuenlabada, Pozuelo de Alarcón and Navalafuente. The total number for Parla was also unchanged from 2016. 19.4% of the victims across the whole of the region were lesbians, the second largest group behind gay men at 68.1%. The percentage of lesbian victims was a six percent increase from three years earlier.
Ayuntamiento de Parla and Podemos Parla mentioned Lesbian Visibility Day on their Twitter account on 26 April 2020, using the hashtag #DiaVisibilidadLesbica. Podemos Parla also mentioned the day on their Facebook page. Neither engaged in any institutional activity to recognize the day.
Orgullo 2020 Parla took place from 25 to 28 June 2020. Events were organized by Monturiol Diverso, the town hall and Arcópoli. These included the reading of a manifesto and the hanging of a rainbow flag from the townhall, a video conference history of the LGTB collective, and a videoconference to educate people on basic concepts about LGTB diversity.
Podemos Parla participated in a virtual Orgullo 2020 manifestación convended by COGAM and FELGTB, with the motto, “Sororidad y feminismo para TRANSformar. ¡Mujeres lesbianas, trans y bisexuales en acción! ¡Por las más vulnerables!” While lesbians and bisexuals were mentioned as facing double discrimination for their sex and sexual orientation, transwomen were also included as suffering the same double discrimination and the call was to pass the gender identity law. There were no mentions of lesbians or the specific needs of lesbians as females, with lesbians being treated as equal to transwomen in needing the passage of the gender identity law to alleviate their double discrimination.
Ahead of Orgullo 2021, Podemos Parla met in their offices on 17 June 2021 to work to defend and promote policies to expand the rights of lesbian, gay, trans, bisexual and intersexual people. Their social media messaging about their activities that day included the rainbow flag and the trans flag, but not the lesbian or bisexual flag.
LGB Parla was created in September 2021. They quickly became active but were unable to get institutional support inside Parla. Their existence was one of the impetuses for the creation of La Pluma, who wanted to erase the visibility of LGB Parla. In early January 2022, LGB Parla started taking to the streets to leave messages in marker like, “Las lesbianas no tienen pene.”, “Los gays no tienen vagina.” and “Ley Trans es homofobia.”
La Pluma, Asociación LGBTI+ de Parla, was founded in late 2021 in Parla by Daniel Marín and claimed to be the first association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and ‘intersex’ people in the town though they were likely at least the third. They were heavily linked as to Podemos Parla, with a lot of membership crossover. One of their major goals was to protect human rights of LGBTI+ people. Their other purpose was the recovery of LGBTI + historical memory in the municipality. They participated in 8 March 2022 International Women’s Labor Day events in Parla and in Madrid, including lesbians and transwomen in their events, with a major focus on the proposed gender identity law which would legally define transwomen as women. They had no specific statements related to lesbians or acknowledgement that lesbian sexuality may exclude people with penises, instead treating people with penises as people who were part of lesbian sexuality. They did not have any lesbian flags, pictures of lesbians or lesbian imagery to promote the event, only pictures of transwomen and trans related imagery.
In honor of 8 March 2022 International Women’s Labor Day, Casa de la Juventud hosted an institutional act titled,” Educando en Igualdad, sumamos,” made by the town hall with Spokesperson for the Ministerio de Igualdad, Feminismo y derechos LGBTI Leticia Sanchez Freire presenting the act. The town hall defined women as including transwomen. This was a highly contentious claim in the sense that in other parts of Madrid, feminists were taking to the streets in their own manifestations to claim that transwomen were not women but were men. The town hall’s materials did not reference this at all, nor did they acknowledge that one of the LGTB groups active in the town made the claim that allowing people with penises to identify as lesbians was homophobic.
Kolectivo Atropa Feminista de Parla supported the 8 March 2022 International Women’s Labor Day event by La Pluma about feminism and the LGBTIQ+ community, and made clear they supported the presence of transwomen in the feminist collective, claiming they were needed as part of the feminist struggle.
On the amigos madrid website, the lesbian Parla page had zero posts as of March 2022. There were three lesbians listed as being members of the group, two of whom were in their thirties and one who was in her fifties. The website Pink Cupid, listed eight lesbians from Parla, ranging in age from 21 to 55. Most were looking for serious relationships or friendship. In early March 2022, there were ten LGTB friendly rooms in shared accommodation for rent on Idealista. Of these, half were in homes that had all female roommates.
The I Joranda Feminista Parla took place on 26 March 2022 at the Casa de Juventud de Parla. It included a feminist self-defense course, a session on the impact of male violence on women’s health, a vegan breakfast, a discussion from a group that defines transwomen attracted to women as lesbians about feminism and the LGBTIQ community have a lot of similar needs, a session about why it is necessary to have bisexual activism, a presentation about the fanzine Atropa and a concert.
With lesbian history only starting in 2010, the situation by 2022 appears bleak. Institutional LGTB activism requires lesbians to accept penises if they wish to be included. Feminist groups in the city ignore female sexuality and also allow women with penises to enter in this space, all the while they ignore lesbian sexuality. There are no visible lesbians, identified by name, in the town and others are left to speak for them. The only places where lesbians are visible as lesbians appears to be on dating sites, with few lesbians from Parla actually using them.
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