Lesbian intersections with transwomen

This is not written in a coherent manner.  Rather, this is a summary written by looking through my various histories and copying and pasting the relevant bits of intersectional history.  I did this at the request of someone who was interested in knowing when the conflict between L (and maybe G and B) became much more open.   These are intersections, where both lesbians and transgender people were in the same space, like inside LGTB organizations or at Orgullo.  Some of these are conflicts between the two groups. Some of these bits are lesbian responses to transactivists. Some are comparisons between representation of the two groups or the levels of violence faced by both groups.  It lacks a complete narrative form.  My apologies.  (Working on La Rioja lesbian history and taking a break to compile this. This is around 9,500 words from probably 250,000 total words.)

What I do hope this conglomeration of random facts about lesbian history shows is the relationship between lesbians and transwomen, be they transsexual or transgender, is complicated, at times and places intersectional in goals and in other times and places conflictive and combative.  At the end of the day, both groups need to have their own specific goals worked on as each group is treated differently within Spanish society because of a Spain’s history rooted in Catholic gender roles and then reinforced through the Franco dictatorship’s state imposition of gender roles to maintain their desired political and social goals.

Spanish lesbian intersections with transexuals and transgender people

Francoist Spain (1939 – 1975)

Torremolinos had many foreigners living in it during the 1950s and 1960s, and it required the Spanish government to act with more caution towards foreigners in the city as the Franco regime did not want to tarnish its reputation internationally. It was one of the reasons the city had gay bars when they would not have been tolerated elsewhere.  Lesbians were occasional patrons at these gay bars. Lesbians were rarely bothered by the regime in that context unless they too openly transgressed the gender norms of the time or displayed their sexuality outside the hidden confines of the bars.

Pasaje Begoña is an L-shaped street in the city that during the 1960s and early 1970s was home to over 50 bars. During this period, the street was one of the LGB and transvestite friendly places in the city, helped in its tolerance by the presence of a lot of foreign tourists, including Hollywood celebrities. The street was named after the daughter of an owner of a building on the street. It was renamed in the 1980s to Pasaje Gil Vicente. For many, the street is the twin of The Stonewall Inn in the United States. That is because on 24 June 1971, a major raid took place in which 300 people were identified and 114 were arrested for “violating morality and good customs” as defined by the Dangerousness and Social Rehabilitation Law. In custody, there were subjected to further humiliation. Foreigners picked up in the raid were deported, and police records were opened for all arrested. Some of them were subjected to further police surveillance upon release. Following the raid, most of the LGB friendly places were closed out of fear.

Spanish democratic transition (1975 – 1982)

A group of tried to create a homosexual rights organization on the island of Gran Canaria in 1976, but its organization fell into the hands of transvestites who had injected themselves into that movement. Homosexuals distanced themselves from the organization as they associated transvestites with intravenous drug usage. At the same time, the transvestites were working in the entertainment industry, and their work performing as transvestites at gay clubs meant they were too busy to fight for homosexual rights.

II Jornadas  Estatales de la Mujer was held in Granada in 1979.  Over 1,200 women from across Spain participated over the three day event. Among these women were a number of lesbians.  Topics addressed included womanhood, motherhood, youth, marriage and family, women’s education, media, the class struggle and its connection to the feminist movement, abortion, reforms to the penal code, pornography and women’s sexuality.  Different types of feminism were also addressed including feminism of the difference.   At the 1979 II Jornadas Estatales sobre la Mujer in Granada, lesbian separatist Gretel Ammann presented her work Feminismo de la diferencia along with”Como lesbiana contra la nueva moral feminista”. The work went on to become important in radical feminist circles in Spain. The Grup de Dones d’Alacant gave a presentation that dealt with lesbianism. The event took place in December. Other lesbians who participated in the event included Montse Oliván, who began to introduce the concept of gender identity in her support of transexuals participating in women’s spaces.  The event was important because it showed that lesbians were aligning with the feminist liberation movement.

Socialist government of Felipe González (1982 – 1996)

One of the biggest changes of this period though would be the integration of transsexual and transgender people into a shared lesbian and gay rights history. Beforehand, transsexual rights would sometimes just intersect primarily with the gay right’s movement over specific issues common to those groups as persecuted male minority groups.

The fight against AIDS in Spain emerged in the early 1990s not from lesbian activist circles or gay rights activist but from a new activist group identified as queer activities, which grew out of anarchist culture and the newly emerging transgender culture that was replacing transexual culture in Spain. These newly emerging queer organizations challenged the more conservative and homosexual organizations that already existed, such as Col·lectiu Lambda, Coordinadora Gay y Lesbiana (CGL) and the Colectivo de Lesbianas y Gais de Madrid (COGAM) who were perceived as not capable of taking direction on the street to effect social change in the face of blatant homophobia. Queer activist groups challenged existing lesbian and gay men activist groups by demanding acceptance for who they were, without the need to conform to heterosexual norms as a means of being acceptable to society, culture and the legal system.

Grup de Lesbianes Feministes de Barcelona (GFLB), located at Carrer de Casp, 3, was founded in 1987 and would play one of the largest roles in lesbian political activity during the 1990s. The group believed it was important for lesbians to build bridges with groups not institutionalized through state support to achieve common goals. This included developing relationships with feminist women not part of organized groups, transsexuals, non-feminist lesbians, queers, and gay men. At the same time, GFLB worked with similar organizations including Red de Amazonas, the state network for feminists in Catalonia. Front d’Alliberament Gai de Catalunya (FAGC), joined the group, launched the Insubmissió Marika campaign in 1997. The following year, Grup de Lesbianes Feministes de Barcelona (GFLB) launched their campaign Un carrer per a les lesbianes to criticize civil marriage in Spain, comparing the inability to for homosexuals to marry is akin to forbidding Spain’s monarchy from ruling the military to fight. They would have approved of the destruction of all three institutions.

The 1988 Madrid Pride event took place on 28 June. Around 100 people participated in the march, organized by lesbian groups, with a route taking place from Plaza de Callao to Puerta del Sol and then on to Calle de Preciados. It was in this period that Pride continued primarily because of lesbian activists. At Madrid Pride in 1988, gays and lesbians continued their political demands, asking that the law discriminating against same-sex sexual behavior in the Spanish Penal Code be amended. Transactivist have criticized pride in this period for excluding transwomen, engaging in transmisogyny and being largely focused on lesbian feminism. Lesbians disagreed, saying their need for visibility and the need to combat sexism in the homosexual rights movement was why they were being so militant.

Foro permanente sobre Homosexualidad was founded by Rafael Salazar Conde in 1989 for gays, lesbians, bisexuals in the city. Two years later, the organization was the launching point for the creation Asociación Colega; this group also included transsexuals. Both organizations, under his leadership, specifically sought to highlight the work of lesbians who Salazar understood were doubly discriminated against. Rosa Ortega was one such lesbian to benefit from those programs.

By the early 1990s, AMG had backed away from institutional feminism and had begun to interact with the newly emerging queer feminist movement coming out of Madrid. By the late 1990s, they were fully immersed in this, discussing things like gender binarism, the deconstruction of identities and the diversity of experiences within the feminist movement.  AMG started welcoming transsexual women like Kim Pérez into their group.  By this point, the group also started supporting the rights of prostitutes.

Asociación Feminista de Autodefensa Walkirias are a feminist self-defense group. They took their name from the Norse female mythological warriors, Valkyries. During the 1990s, they were located in an apartment on Calle del Barquillo. They were founded with the goal of teaching women how to protect themselves after a series of sexual assaults and rapes that had brought women to the streets to demand better protection. Lesbians were a majority of participants in the association. In 1992, the organization received a grant of 700,000 pesetas from the Instituto de Mujeres located inside the Ministerio de Asuntos Sociales. They worked with similar groups in France and Germany. During the late 1990s, a group of transwomen asked for a session for transwomen. The association said no, because their focus was on assisting women who had been born girls. This created a conflict with transgender groups that they were not prepared for. The Insituto de Mujeres though stood with them, and they learned to grow both as lesbians and feminists.

Conservative government of José Maria Aznar (1996 – 2004)

Lesbians would rarely be the focus on these historical memory efforts, both in this early period and as the movement started gaining momentum later in the 2000s and into the 2010s. The focus, by intentional design, was instead on gay men and transgender individuals. It followed a historical pattern in Spain of intentionally telling the story of male participants first, with women playing secondary or incidental roles. The LGBT community as a whole, often infused with patriarchy as a result of lesbian activists leaving for feminist communities as a result of not feeling welcome because of patriarchy, just were not interested in prioritizing lesbian historical memory over that of gay men.

Lesbian and future Podemos representative Beatriz Gimeno would be among those feminists in Spain who led in changing of terms, of removing the concept of sex and replacing it with gender, in political and feminist discourse; this allied her more with queer theory and transgender people. Her support proposed that sex distinctions were what the Spanish right and ultra-Catholics were doing and not what the left should be doing.

During the late 1990s, a group of transwomen asked Asociación Feminista de Autodefensa Walkirias for a session for transwomen. The feminist self-defense association said no, because their focus was on assisting women who had been born girls. This created a conflict with transgender groups that they were not prepared for. The Insituto de Mujeres though stood with them, and they learned to grow both as lesbians and feminists.

During the mid and late 1990s, mixed lesbian and gay organizations again became the dominant organization model in the Basque country in a return to the situation following the immediate death of Franco. This time, they were joined by transgender people, with the theoretical models for understanding militancy being lowered and organizations switched at times to a more service model. Unlike other parts of Spain, lesbian feminist collectives disappeared in the Basque Country.

By the mid-1990s, the Logroño newspaper La Rioja had advertisements for discrete French and Greek speaking lesbian prostitutes who also offered golden showers. Advertisements for lesbian prostitutes continued in the into the paper until at the mid-2010s. In later advertisements starting in the mid-2000s, lesbians prostitution services were offered alongside transvestite prostitution services.

Beyond the lack of educational materials available for lesbians about AIDS / HIV and STDs, there was also a lack of research done in Spain in the period between 1998 and 2012 on the sexual behavior of lesbians and other women who had sex with women, or statistics on prevalence inside this group for any sexually transmitted disease. Scholars have attributed the lack of research in this area to machoism and sexism in general, and as a result of pressure from the LGBT community who do not view lesbians as important as they are viewed as lower risk for contracting AIDS with the belief that resources should not be diverted away from gay men and transwomen towards lesbians.

In March 1998, NGOs, unions, left wing groups, gay rights groups, gay and lesbian groups, and transexual groups protested attempts by Partido Popular to amend the legislation about civil unions, with the Coalición Canaria presenting a bill trying to enshrine family rights for same-sex couples. These groups held a rally in Madrid on 28 March 1998 with the motto “Familias diversas, iguales derechos”.

Córdoba hosted the 2000 state feminist conference, with over 3,000 women participating.  Many of them were young.  The conference attracted feminists from a diverse swath of Spanish feminist perspectives.  It would help mobilize the next generation of Spanish feminists, including lesbians in those circles.  Transwomen were included in it, and there were transwomen participating in it including Laura Bugalho of the Colectivo Trans Galicia and Identidad de Género president Kim Pérez.  They each presented a session.  Transfeminism was also defined for the first time in a Spanish context.  The transfeminist movement wouldn’t start fully until 2009.

Transexualia joined FELG in 2001 after the XIII Encuentros Estatales de LGTB in November in Granada.  It was at that meeting that the decision was made to add the T to the organization’s name

Socialist government of José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (2004 – 2011)

Madrid 2006 Orgullo took place on 1 July 2006. The motto for the event was “Por la diversidad: todas las familias importan”. Madrid became home to critical actions around Pride by 2006, a movement that would begin to be taken up by other cities in Spain through Bloque Alternativo. They had the motto ‘Orgullo es protesta’ and included gays, transsexuals, bisexuals and lesbians, along with LGBT collectives such as Liberacción, RQTR, la Eskalera Karakola y el Grupo de Trabajo Queer-GTQ. These radicals became stronger and as the 2010s advanced, they would begin organizing counter programming centered around anti-capitalist, anti-racist, transfeminist and anti-speciesist struggles. Their inclusion of lesbians appeared minimal and much of their struggles often focused around issues specific to transpeople. Many of the slogans explicitly mentioned transpeople.


Called Orgullo Gay de 2008 by the media, Pride in Madrid had a Olympic atmosphere in Plaza de Cibeles. Organizers estimated that more than a million people participated. The 2008 Madrid Orgullo festivities, organized by COGAM, had a slogan of “Por la Visibilidad Lésbica”. This was decided on by a state meeting of FELTGTB a year before. The 2007 Madrid Orgullo march had the slogan of “Trans”, and following it up with a year about lesbian visibility could be viewed as attracting lesbians and a general audience put off by the increased focus on the sometimes more controversial transgender population. For both transpeople and lesbians, the slogans representing their groups in 2007 and 2008 were ambiguous and while still being political. The nature of the event was at times muddled, because organizers would use the term manifestación to describe it when talking about the vindication of rights and the creation of political awareness around those rights. At the same time, when dealing with participants and other stakeholders, they would describe it as desfile, meaning parade, or cabalgata, meaning trip. The extent to which there was overt political activity was with a reading of a manifesto at the end of the march. All other political actions involved with Orgullo involved belonging to a group marching who had a slogan, or were a politically affiliated group, or were a group carrying their own political slogans. The playful nature, commercialization of the event and welcoming of many people across the political spectrum had largely removed the political nature of the march itself. An example of muddled messaging involved the organizers also wanting to draw attention to lesbian visibility, but the organizers also wanted to draw attention to HIV / AIDS. The exhibition at the Círculo de Bellas Artes on HIV / AIDS focused almost exclusively on gay men on a year when the motto was “Por la Visibilidad Lésbica”. Most of the other major programming around Orgullo organized by FELGTB had similar issues.

Extremadura Entiende was founded in 2008 in Mérida as an association for lesbians, transpeople and bisexual women in Extremadura to give LGBT women their own space. Sisi Cáceres Rojo was the association’s president in 2019, having been first elected in 2015. Pilar Milanés Milanés was the president in 2020. At the time, most of the members were white and either lesbian or bisexual, with few transwomen members. They had been working to try to change that for a few years. In 2019, the association was looking to expand and add a physical presence in Cáceres and eventually did so, while also closing its space in Merida. The group had engaged in programming in secondary schools to try to combat hatred against LGBT people. They had also become a member of FELGTB. The group had worked with Asamblea Feminista de Cáceres since at least 2015. The group is part of Spanish fourth wave feminism.

Club Esportiu Panteres Grogues, located at Carrer de Floridablanca, 145-131, is a Catalan sports club founded in 1994 by a gay German man, initially to support gays, lesbians and bisexuals looking to play beach volleyball on the beaches of Barceloneta. In 2001, members officially organized as a non-profit sports organization to give members of the LGB community a place to play and to bring visibility to LGB sportspeople in Catalonia. In 2003, the club organized the first edition of the LGTBI+ multisport tournament Panteresports to give greater visibility to LGTBI+ sportspeople internationally. The annual September competition attracts sportspeople from all over Europe. In 2004, the club added a women’s basketball team to give women greater equality on and off the court. By 2007, the club had over 400 members and also welcomed heterosexuals as members. The club organized the 2008 edition of the EuroGames in Barcelona, with over 5,000 sportspeople coming from around 40 different countries. In 2009, the club organized the first edition of Donasport, a multisport queer women’s competition to increase visibility of women in sport. Their program has 29 sections, 19 of which are mixed and 3 which are for women, including transwomen.

In 2008, Área de Libertad de Expresión Afectivo-Sexual de Izquierda Unida (IU) made a call for organizations to fight against homophobia and transphobia. In 2008, Área de Libertad de Expresión Afectivo-Sexual de Izquierda Unida (IU) called for people to take to the streets for lesbian visibility as part of 2008 Orgullo events. Their claims about lesbians and their needs also included rights around transsexuality and sex re-assignment in public health, along with a reformulation of the National Plan on AIDS. [1]

By June 2008, Atención Social a Homosexuales y Transexuales in Madrid had assisted more than 16,000 people. The service provided legal advice, along with social and psychological care to people who were rejected by family and friends or faced discrimination in the workplace beause of their sexual orientation or gender identity. By June 2008, Atención Social a Homosexuales y Transexuales in Madrid had assisted more than 16,000 people. In 2008, the offices were located on the fourth floor of Gran Vía, 16. One of the people helped in 2008 was a lesbian named Marga, who had been married for many years and had two daughters with her husband. After 21 years of marriage, she confessed to her husband over the phone that she was a homosexual. Most of the people using the center, who came from 83 different countries, though were male with only 3,620 of the 16,135 cases being females, 1865 being transwomen and 10,650 being male.


The 2009 Jornadas Feministas Estatales in Granada included a number of presentations by Conjuntos Difusos about gender binaryism, transfeminism and fighting against transphobia. One presentation at the conference was titled “translesbianismo y otros deseos transdiversos” held in the Espacio de Debate and presented by Juana Ramos and Amets Suess.

By the early 2010s, some lesbians in LGBT spaces and inside LGBT organizations were beginning to find themselves labelled transphobic because of their sexuality. Transwomen labeled them as too focused on the binary of sexuality, which excluded other women from their sexual orientation. Some lesbians were being urged to shed this identity as a transitory one on their way to fully understanding their own sexuality. For some lesbians, such accusations were hugely jarring as lesbians were being killed in other parts of the world and not naming themselves allowed such violence against lesbians to continue by removing valuable words to describe what was happening to same-sex attracted women.


COGAM was the organization in Madrid for lesbians to seek help from if they had AIDS or HIV in the 2010s. COGAM’s website in 2010 featured their lesbian section, but it made no mention of women’s sexual health. Their HIV page referenced that they held two workshops a year on sexual health for lesbians and bisexual women, and also contained a brochure about lesbian sexual health. By 2012, their website no longer offered these workshops and instead offered a number of workshops aimed at transwomen and male sex workers. These services were also not offered by the lesbian group inside COGAM on their website. The situation from 2012 was repeated in 2014, with the only image of a woman appearing on the page being a single generic form as one of many in the rainbow. There was however imagery of nearly nude men. 2016 was the same as 2014 but with an image high heels encouraging transwomen and male sex workers to get tested. Sexual health was mentioned only once on the lesbian page and that was as an interest for which they provided no additional information. Their NEXUS group on HIV and AIDS also made no mention of lesbian or bisexual women sexual health needs.

Sevilla hosted Orgullo festivities in 2010, with one event specific to a member of the rainbow.  That event was about transpeople.

Conservative government of Mariano Rajoy (2011 – 2018)

Trends from the Zapatero era continued into both the Rajoy and Sanchez period.  This included the events being very commercial affairs with little activism taking place, a large focus on male sexuality, and over representation of gay men and male nudity at Orgullo events.  Lesbian visibility, even when it was intentionally discussed, would rarely result in actual increased visibility in this period.  Lesbians themselves were rarely every addressed as a class by Orgullo events, and were often included in a general category of women that included bisexual women and transwomen.  When activism was present, it was often transactivism that suggested the primacy of gender identity over biological sex, creating a hostile environment for lesbians who risked being accused of being TERFs if they were out as visible same sex attracted lesbians using female symbols.  Institutions also rarely addressed lesbians as a class in this period, instead focusing on transpeople and the need for legal reform discussions in institutional statements. Lesbian reproductive rights rarely rated a mention.

One of the biggest issues at play in the LGTB community in both the Rajoy and Sanchez periods would be the laws around gender identity and removing the restrictions that did allow trans identifying individuals to legally change their sex or gender without undergoing medical assessment and a lot of bureaucratic processes.  When lesbians raised concerns in this period, both within an LGTB framework and in a broader feminist framework, the transgender and gay male community would accuse Spanish lesbians of being TERFs, transphobes and gender fetishists.  The gay male behavior demanding that transpeople be accepted for the sex they claim their gender identity was always exclusively focused on transwomen.  These same gay men, including many prominent in the movement and on social media, almost always had heavily misogynistic overtones.  At the same time, these prominent gay men never discussed transmen as being men, never said that vaginas, clitorises and cervixes were inherently masculine, never demanded their fellow gay men prove their lack of transphobia by having relationships with transmen. Consequently, lesbians faced increase misogyny specifically from gay men.  This caused some tensions, especially as for some lesbians it meant they had to opt out of the LGTB community and head back to a feminist community that was increasingly becoming abolitionist in its perspective but at the same time was often ignoring lesbian issues.

With a conservative government in power, the tenor of the campaign for political rights had changed in Spain along with the areas of focus changing.  The major issues of the period would consequently differ, and included institutional relations to lesbians, abortion rights, the situation for lesbian asylum seekers, and creating laws to eradicate homophobia and transphobia.  Marriage rights also had increased attention as a result of the legal challenge to the process by Partido Popular finally ending in the courts. Partner violence inside same-sex relationships also began to gain attention from inside the LGTB community as there was few legal options to address it and a vacuum of information about it.


The first full year of the Mariano Rajoy era saw the start of the fourth and final wave of lesbian interactions with HIV / AIDS and STIs more generally. This wave is characterized by a marked decline in institutional investment by both the state and LGBT organizations in women’s sexual health. Instead, priorities and resources were shifted to addressing the sexual health of male prostitutes and transgender women who were viewed as having a greater need for those services. This was despite the fact that at the end of the José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero several regional and state level organizations had identified lesbian sexual health as a priority given the documented neglect in earlier periods. At the same time, lesbian groups in mixed spaces were being renamed women’s groups and were given the job of supporting women’s sexual health from within without much institutional support. As these groups were always minority groups inside the mixed spaces and attracted women who were traditionally less activist oriented, that rarely occurred. Adding to this complicated situation, lesbian groups that continued to exist in feminist spaces who had never really engaged on the HIV / AIDS issue, continued to be inactive on the issue of lesbian sexual health.

LesBiCat is a group of women, including transwomen, who are lesbians, bisexuals or pansexuals in Catalonia who work from a feminist perspective towards social transformation and increased visibility. Most of their activity is based in Barcelona. The group, created around 2011, branched off from Coordinadora LGTB de Catalunya, an organization that dissolved in 2013. They have organized events for the International Lesbian Visibility day in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. They have also organized events for International Bisexual Day in 2015.

Barcelona hosted Orgullo festivities in 2011. There were seven events on the program specific to a class in the LGTB collective. One was about lesbians, five about gay men, one about or for trans and zero about or for queers.

Sevilla hosted Orgullo festivities in 2011, with five events specific to a member of the rainbow.  Three were about gay men and two were about transpeople. None were about lesbians.

Sitges hosted Orgullo festivities in 2011. There were five events on the program specific to a class in the LGTB collective. Zero were about lesbians, three about gay men, two about or for trans and zero about or for queers.

A UNAIDS Under Global AIDS Response Progress Reporting Guidelines, 2011–2013 found a prevalence rate of 12.9% among women who used illicit drugs intravenously and contracting AIDS. This data is some of the only available data about HIV and AIDS among Spanish women from that period. While transgender women were mentioned in the study, mentioning that as many as 30% of transgender women in Spain may use illicit drugs intravenously, no specific mention was made regarding lesbian drug use.


Barcelona hosted Orgullo festivities in 2012. There were seventeen events on the program specific to a class in the LGTB collective. Three were about lesbians, thirteen about or for gay men, one about or for trans and zero about or for queers.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria hosted Orgullo events in 2012. One event was specific to a member of the rainbow, and that event was about trans people.


Barcelona hosted Orgullo festivities in 2013. There were eighteen events on the program specific to a class in the LGTB collective. Three were about lesbians, eleven about or for gay men, four about or for trans and zero about or for queers.

Malaga hosted Orgullo festivities in 2013, with seven events specific to a member of the rainbow.  Four of them were about gay men, one about lesbians, one about transpeople and one was about intersexed people.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria hosted Orgullo events in 2013. Three events were specific to a member of the rainbow, one about lesbians and two about transpeople.


La Mala Mujer is a women’s cafe and bar, focused on the interests of women, lesbians and transpeople in Madrid that has been around since at least 2014 and has a library of activities that women can use to learn more about each other, make friends and better share feminist ideals. The project also hosts workshops and training sessions about the need for feminism, especially the needs of women, lesbians and transpeople. Workshops that have hosted include Women in Art History, Queer Tango, Biodanza for Women, Political Theater, Reflections on Power and Feminism, Let’s Question Romantic and Monogamous Love, Communication Skills, Post-porn for Women, Bolleras and Trans, Compose Your Own Songs feminists, Introduction to feminism, Lesbian sexuality, Feminist self-defense, and Transfeminism.

The first Orgullo march took place in Alcala de Hernanes in 2014, starting at Cuatro Caños and ending at Santos Niños.  The march was organized by DiverSAH. The 2014 Orgullo manifesto by DiverSAH in Alcala de Hernanes only mentioned lesbians when they were grouped with gay men, using the word homosexual.  Transpeople and bisexuals were mentioned as specific classes without such groups twice each. Intersexed individuals were never mentioned as a class.

Starting in 2014, a Trans specific Orgullo march has taken place in Sevilla.

There were no class specific events as part of Alcala de Hernanes 2015 Orgullo.  The theme was no more violence against LGTBI people, with a manifestation starting at Cuatro Caños.  A mini Pride fiesta took place later that evening at Plaza Rodríguez Marín. The 2015 Orgullo manifesto by DiverSAH in Alcala de Hernanes only mentioned lesbians when they were grouped with gay men, using the word homosexual.  Transpeople were mentioned as specific class without such groups three times while bisexuals were mentioned twice. Intersexed individuals were never mentioned as a class. Neither men nor women were mentioned either to suggest sex or gender-based needs within the rainbow.

Barcelona hosted Orgullo festivities in 2014. There were twenty events on the program specific to a class in the LGTB collective. Two were about lesbians, fifteen were about or for gay men, two about or for trans and one about or for queers.

Orgullo Serrano was organized in Arcos de la Frontera in June 2014 and June 2015.  The conferences and workshops were supposed by the Delegación de Igualdad.  The 2015 version included two presentations about homosexuality, followed by the reading of a manifesto.  The second part included a concert with several bars supporting LGTB diversity.  This was followed by a conference called ‘Gender diversity and transsexuality’ supported by members of Aleas Cádiz.

In 2014, there were 1,285 denouncements to the Ministerio del Interior of delitos de odio and discrimination. 513 were for homophobia or transphobia and 297 occurred in Andalucia.


Partido Popular did a reform of Spain’s abortion laws in July 2015, requiring girls under the age of 18 to get parental or guardian consent before having an abortion. Feminists, including lesbian feminists and transpeople, took to the streets of Barcelona to protest this change as a backwards step for women’s sexual and reproductive freedom.

Ley de Igualdad Social y contra la Discriminación de Lesbianas, Gais, Bisexuales, Transgéneros, Transexuales e Intersexuales was registered in the Asembla de Extremadura in January 2015.  The law guaranteed public financing both for lesbians wanting reproductive assistance through public health in the region and for sex changes in public health.  The local LGBT community had been fighting for both goals for 20 years.  It was expected to pass and become law in May 2015. The law also provided financing in public health for medical gender changes.  Further, the same law also created a system of sanctions and infractions for actions viewed as homophobic or transphobic by educators, civil servants and other public employees with a potential maximum fine of €45000.

From 2015 to 2016, the total volume of donations given by corporate donors to LGBT organizations in Spain declined from €61.68 million to €53.88 million. At the same time, the total volume of donations that corporate donors gave to transgender specific organizations increased from €13.25 million in 2015 to €16.98 million in 2016. The LGBT community, which lesbians have always been on the fringe of, declined by 12.5% in a single year while donations to trans organizations in Spain increased by 20%.

Media references to lesbians and bisexuals in connection to Pride had all but erased lesbians and bisexuals by 2015 in Spanish newspapers, and this erasure continued in 2020. The only major shift in language by the media was the term homosexual surpassed that of gay men. Otherwise, the only time the words lesbian and bisexual would appear in the media were in the context of using the full name of an LGBT association. Intersex was also absent from usage in the media. Gay men still received the most media coverage. They were followed by transgendered people, with the term transexuals, popular in 2015, having been replaced by the term transgender.

Parc de la Ciutadella, located at Passeig de Picasso, 21, is a park that opened in the late 1800s. It contains a zoo, museums, a lake to go boating on and walking trails. On 27 October 2018, it hosted the open meeting of LesBiCat. glorieta de la Transsexual Sònia inside the park hosted a number of other events run by LesBitCat including an annual concurs de truites run in conjunction with the Consell de la Joventut de Barcelona in honor of International Lesbian Visibility Day. Members from many other LGBT organizations attended the 2015 and 2016 editions, including those from Te n’adones, Enrenou, Generem, OCH, FAGC and AECS.


Alcala de Hernanes 2016 Orgullo had four events as part of the 28 June celebrations. The first was a march ending at Plaza Guatro Canños.  The second was Pregon taking place at Capilla del Oidor.  The third was a concert.  Festivities concluded with a party. Nothing was specific to lesbians or any other group. Alcala de Hernanes 2016 Orgullo manifesto by DiverSAH was focused on bisexuals in honor of the theme of Pride that year.  Bisexuals were mentioned as a class five times in the manifesto, with transpeople mentioned once, and gays, lesbians and intersexed people mentioned zero times as a class.

Coverage of World Pride 2017 in Madrid by Castilla La Mancha Media on their online platform made specific mention of transpeople and gays, but failed to mention lesbians, bisexuals or intersexed people.

Madrid 2016 Orgullo took place on 2 July 2016. The motto for the event was “Leyes por la igualdad real ya. Año de la visibilidad bisexual en la diversidad”. The route was along Paseo del Prado. The focus was on reclaiming real equality between people, regardless of their gender identity. Many of the media depictions of the event featured sexualized depictions of men and transwomen. Most depictions of women were without the sexualized imagery.

The 2016 Radical-mente feministas in Barcelona had two camps, a lesbian feminist camp and a trans feminist camp. It caused endless debates as to who was a woman, wo should be included and how feminism could be included to encompass other realities of real problems for women using a more broadly defined term. Lesbian feminism was criticized for being to white European.

CooperAcció, located at d’Avinyó, España, Carrer d’Avinyó, 44, is a lesbian and transwomen feminist association dedicated to empowering women. They mentioned Lesbian Visibility Day on their Twitter account on 26 April 2016, using the Catalan language hashtag #DiaVisibilitatLèsbica.

The regional Parliament in La Rioja approved a declaration in 2016 that expressed “its firm rejection of any type of discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity”. It also said the Parliament “assumes the homosexual and transsexual fact as part of its political work in defense of public rights and freedoms, while anti-discriminatory policies are built on it that advance substantially on the path of real and effective equality that our community proclaims.” [2]

According to a Observatorio Madrileño contra la homofobia, transfobia y bifobia report, there were 240 LGBT hate crimes with 316 victims in the Comunidad de Madrid in 2016. 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%. 185 of the incidents occurred in Madrid capital, with incidents taking place elsewhere as well.


Toxic Lesbian was a project supported by the Ayuntamiento de Madrid in 2017. It was one of 106 public art, education and social mediation projects supported with the goal of preventing homophobia and transphobia.

The 2017 Orgullo celebrations in Logroño mostly took place in Plaza del Mercado.  They had some general LGBT programming, no lesbian specific programming and two programs featuring transpeople and one about gay men.  This programming represented a third of all their official programming.

According to 2017 Observatorio Madrileño contra la homofobia, transfobia y bifobia report, there were 240 LGBT hate crimes with 316 victims in the Comunidad de Madrid in 2016. 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%. 185 of the incidents occurred in Madrid capital, with incidents taking place elsewhere as well. When trying to correct for the under reporting, the likely total of LGTB hate crimes was likely 307 against gay men, 57 against lesbians and 53 against trans.

In honor of Lesbian Visibility Day on 26 April 2017, DiverSAH published a statement that said in part, “Let’s banish transphobia from our spaces, let’s stop using the common discourse “I’m a lesbian because I like pussies” and let’s include all lesbian women in this claim, regardless of our genitality”.


2018 had no improvement on COGAM’s website when it came to information about and services offered to lesbians and bisexual women on their sexual health.

The Universidad de Granada hosted Orgullo festivities in 2018, with five events specific to a member of the rainbow.  One was about gay men, two were about transpeople, one was about intersexed people and one was about queers. None were about lesbians.

Socialist government of Pedro Sánchez (2018 – present)

Challenges of the past would remain in this period, including continued discrimination in the workplace, healthcare and education and the ever-present risk of violence by people on the right.  One major change would be hugely evident by the end of this period and that was lesbians having to worry in their social and cultural life about being accused of transphobia for not being willing to date or have sex with people with penises.  The latter would play a role in furthering the abandonment of the use of lesbian as an identity, avoiding mixed LGTB spaces and avoiding dating apps that allowed for woman/woman matches. It also meant accepting that women’s LGTB spaces worked best when bisexual and transwomen were included because it was better to organize around the term women to avoid accusations of discriminatory behavior; despite this, those spaces would often still fail socially because they did not work for participants.

In the late 2010s in Valencia, some lesbians were accused of being transphobic for declaring that they were lesbians.  This surprised some of them because lesbians were being killed for their sexuality in places around the world, and being unable to name their orientation because of potential accusations of transphobia meant they could not do activism work to aid those women being persecuted on the basis of their sexual orientation.

In the late 2010s, there were a few same-sex attracted women in La Rioja that transitioned and identified as transmen.[3]

Around a 88% of lesbians in the late 2010s in La Rioja, the Basque Country, Navarra, Aragon, Madrid and Catalonia considered themselves feminists.  Their feminism covered a number of varietiesand had different levels of intensities.  Of this 87.8%, 25% explicitly viewed themselves as not being radical feminists and 8.3% viewed themselves as being transfeminists. Younger lesbians were much more likely to eschew all labels around how they described themselves as feminists. [4]

In the late 2010s, Chueca had become a space that was not very welcome to racialized lesbians, working class whites and lesbians who were on the margins of society. It was also not a space that was friendly for transwomen.

In more recent times, Catalina de Erauso has had her lesbianism denied, and instead claimed by transactivists, even though her own biography details her claims of relationships with other women.


Gijon hosted the XVI Rosario de Acuña Feminist School in early July 2019, with the title “Feminist Politics, Liberties and Identities”. The school found itself under attack from organizations such as the International Foundation for Human Rights as a result of hosting speeches with titles such as “The trivialization of feminism and patriarchal trap”, “The erasure of women and the appropriation of lesbianism”, “Post-gender feminism and sexual transidentity” and “Feminism and Diversity”. While lesbianism played only a small role in a broader attack against the conference for alleged transphobia, it demonstrated that lesbian interests were more clearly aligning with feminists goals instead of broad homosexual and transgender right organizations in mid-2019, especially with Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gais. Trans y Bisexuales (FELGTB) siding with trans activists instead of lesbians who participated and supported the school.

Granada hosted Orgullo festivities in 2019.  Of the four events specific to any member of the rainbow, one was about gay men, two were about transpeople and one was queer related.

In 2019, the World Health Organization said that transgenderism was not a mental health condition, and that transgender health issues would not be classified as mental and behavioral disorders going forward. WHO reproductive health expert Dr. Lale Say said of the decision, “It was taken out from mental health disorders because we had a better understanding that this was not actually a mental health condition, and leaving it there was causing stigma”.

Ley 122/000191 del 2 de marzo de 2018 was still in the proposal stage in mid-2019. It said, “1. 3. The self-determination of sexual identity may not be put under questioning so that at no time, process or procedure will be required the provision of evidence. At all times it will be considered and interpreted according to the manifestation of personal will.”[5] This proposed law would allow any man to declare himself a woman under Spanish law, be required to be legally be treated as female and able to denounce anyone who questions this identity as transphobic. It was criticized by lesbians and feminists as erasing homosexuality as was already occurring in Anglo-Saxon countries, where lesbians were banned from International Women’s Labor Day marches if they carried signs saying “lesbian = female homosexual” or “We like pussy”. Some prominent feminist organizations and publications supported these actions, with Pikara Magazine saying, “A Euroblanca cis woman will hardly experience the fear of clitoral ablation, a cis woman from Egypt will never live with the institutional and social asphyxiating pressure of mutilating the penis that trans women suffer.”[6] The feminist magazine prioritized the desire of Spanish males to undergo voluntary sex re-assignment surgery over the eight in ten Egyptian women who had their clitorises mutilated because of patriarchy.

Conferencias “El amor y deseo lésbico en las artes visuales” took place during the 2019 Madrid Orgullo celebrations. It took place on 25 June 2019. It was the only official activity around Orgullo that year that focused on lesbians. Lesbians were mentioned in six other activies but only as part of a collective that included bisexual and transwomen or gay men.

A 2019 study of the police and armed forces in Melilla by C. Sánchez-Herrera found there were 8 lesbians in the armed forces in the city and 0 in the civilian personnel. The latter was despite the fact that there were 22 men compared 79 women. 7 identified as bisexual and 2 as gay. The armed forces comparatively had 17 gay men and 8 bisexuals. Members of the armed forces generally had a positive view of the LGBT community. Lesbians and gays had the lowest approval rate, with transgender people having the highest perception. In 2020 and 2021, there were no lesbian bars in Melilla or Ceuta. There are no historical references to lesbian bars ever existing in those cities.

There were 44 registered incidents of LGBTIphobia recorded in the first seven months of 2019 in the city of Barcelona. Of these, only seven were reported to the police and only eight reached the Fiscalia de Delictes d’Odi i Discriminació. Most of the victims were gay or bisexual men, accounting for 66% of all victims, while lesbians acounted for 12% and transexuals accounted for 3%. The remaining 19% were against all members of the collective. 39% of the incidents occurred in leisure spaces and 15% occurred on public transport.

The Orgullo 2019 Alcala de Hernanes celebrations included a ball that included drag and inviting makeup artists to beautify people who wanted to participate in it. This included mostly men, transwomen with a few women participating. It was held as a way of celebrating LGTB history that emerged in the 1970s in the African American trans community. There were no callbacks to historical lesbian practices in Spain or the United States. As part of those Orgullo celebrations, the townhall also developed some bathroom signs for men and women that were intended to show greater gender diversity, though organizers made clear they would like genderless bathrooms that allowed both sexes to use the same facilities. The signs they mocked up showed four types of men and four types of women. The men included a man with long hair using a urinal. The women included a a women in a dress standing up while peeing. All eight gender diverse representatives were white and all lacked visible disabilities.


Public participation allowing commenting on the proposed Ley de Diversidad Sexual y Derechos LGTBI en Castilla-La Mancha was open from 5 November 2020 to 30 November 2020.  Lesbians were mentioned seven times by the organizations and members of the public in response to the proposed law.  Comment by AlianzaCBM – Alianza Contra el Borrado de las Mujeres, Podemos Castilla – La Mancha and Maurizio Montipo Spagnoli all grouped lesbians with homosexuals, bisexuals, intersexuals and transpeople in the mention. Yaiza Moreno-Garcia accounted for rest of the seven mentions saying that equating sex with gender identity allows coercive acts against homosexuals and especially against lesbian women who already deal with such coercion regularly on social media and where they are told to deconstruct their sexuality, called TERFs and transphobes, and threatened with rape.  They said such a law would stimy freedom of speech and result in increased lesbian erasure, an event already seen at 8 March 2020 protests in Barcelona and Madrid where feminists were verbally and physically abused by proponents of self-ID.

Podemos Parla particípated in a virtual Orgullo 2020 manifestación convened 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, they 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.

Telediaro ran a short piece about Orgullo being cancelled in Madrid and other big cities because of the pandemic in 2020. They interviewed hoteliers in the city as part of the piece, and talked about how 2020 Orgullo was dedicated to lesbians, transgender women and bisexuals. The accompanying imagery though featured no visible lesbians, and only rainbow themed materials. There were no lesbian flags or symbols, nor bisexual ones despite the shout out to these two groups.

Huelva hosted Orgullo festivities in 2020, with four events specific to a member of the rainbow.  Two of them were about lesbians and two were about transpeople.

The Comunidad de Madrid’s Consejería de Familia produced a report in 2020 called “Estudio sobre las causas de la invisibilidad y la doble discriminación que sufre el colectivo de lesbianas en la Comunidad de Madrid. Resumen ejecutivo” for institutional distribution. The study included transwomen as lesbians, and the trans community made a particular effort to reach out to transwomen who identified as lesbians to be included in the survey. It was also supported by Transexualia, LesWorking, Asociación Fulanita de Tal and Asociación Innicia. Feminist groups, a traditional home to lesbians in Madrid, were not specifically reached out to. The researchers surveyed 204 lesbians living in the region. Homosexuality was mentioned three times in the document. Issues of reproductive healthcare, and particularly fertility treatments and the issues of lesbian mothers, were not mentioned at all. Biological sex is not referred to either, despite a history of repression for lesbians in Madrid being sex based. There was no data table, nor any indication of how many of the 204 lesbians were transwomen, transmen or non-binary.

Mujeres LTB – Feminismo y Sororidad was an event organized In December 2020 by Extremadura Entiende and FELGTB with support from the Junta de Extremadura. While women were the focus, much of the conversation focused on how feminism could include transwomen. Lesbians were never addressed as a separate class inside the rainbow, and all presenters were lesbians who included transwomen in their definitions of lesbians. Introductory material did specifically reference transwomen as a class, and their specific persecution as women.

The pandemic period brought little change to the status quo when it came to lesbians and HIV / AIDS. Almost all activism around the issue had died a number of years back. Lesbians, bisexual women and women who had sex with women were largely ignored by general efforts to reduce HIV / AIDS. LGBT organizations were more miss in a hit or miss situation of if they provided information for women’s sexual health, instead extending almost all their resources on sexual health to gay men, transwomen and male sex workers.


In honor of Lesbian Visibility day on 26 April 2021, UGT Madrid published a press release denouncing Spanish society for its patriarchal studies that erase lesbian women.  Among other things, they said that even naming themselves as lesbians can lead to women suffering prejudice, social exclusion, physical and verbal attacks, and people telling women that they just haven’t met the right man.  Unlike FELGTB who expressly included transwomen as lesbians, UGT denounced the inclusion transwomen as lesbians and highlighted how lesbians were being abused and being called transphobic for their interest. They specifically said, “name of diversity. This liberal discourse does not differ from the previously exposed prejudice, “they have not known the right man”, both attacks are only intended for lesbian women to question themselves for loving only women.”  This discourse from a Spanish union was one of the only left wing critiques of that nature.

In 2021, FELGTB had a section on their website dedicated to sexual health, with a section related to the sexual health needs of transwomen and male sex workers. There was no section dedicated to cis women, and their sexual health needs.

Libres y combativas, located at Calle Hermanos del Moral, 33, are a revolutionary and anti capitalist feminist organization. They very occasionally mentioned lesbians their activism, mostly to highlight that lesbians were a class like black women or immigrant women who faced discrimination in society because of that class membership. Their feminist activism was transinclusive, giving as much weight or more weight to the needs of transwomen as they did to lesbian women. They were involved with Orgullo Critico events in Madrid. In 2021, Asociación de mujeres libres y combativas received a direct subsidy from the national government for €43,211.33.

The Ayuntamiento de La Puebla de Cazalla celebrated Orgullo in 2021, releasing an institutional statement in honor of the event. The statement mentioned mujeres LBT once, transpeople once and intersexed people once.  Lesbians as a separate class were never mentioned outside their belonging to a class that included transwomen.

In late 2021, Asociación de Transexuales de Andalucía-Sylvia Rivera and the Asociación Española contra las Terapias de Conversión formally denounced a psychologist from Seville for engaging in conversation therapy in violation of Ley 8/2017, article 62e, which banned the  “promotion, dissemination or execution by any means any type of therapy to modify sexual orientation and gender identity in order to adjust it to a heterosexual and/or cissexual pattern.”  In February 2022, the regional government indicated that they would be seeking to sanction the psychologist, a first since the law was implemented four years prior. The psychologist argued she did not treat dysphoric patients, and that in her feminist practice she worked with female victims to understand that the consequences of patriarchal systems are part of the reasons they have been oppressed as women.


Casa de la Juventud de Parla, located at Calle del Planeta Venus, 5, is a government run space that allows young people from the age of twelve to thirty to meet and engage in different activities. These include workshops, courses and exhibitions. In honor of 8 March 2022 International Women’s Labor Day, they 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 woman as including transwomen.

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.

In late January and February 2022, Lush on Calle Tetuan, 6 in Sevilla ran an event in solidarity with the local transwomen population.  This event was publicized the same week that the news came out that a gender critical psychologist in Sevilla was being investigated for a potential fine for conversion therapy despite treating no dysphoric patients.  The Sevilla Lush location had never run an event in support of lesbians at that location, nor an event in support of same-sex attracted people.  The Lush event included a big stand inside the store with a trans flag.  It was supported by ATA-Sylvia Rivera, the organization that filed the complaint against the psychologist.

Partial bibliography


Álvarez Terán, R., Goicoechea Gaona, M. Á., & Clavo Sebastián, M. J. (2019). Conciencia Social y política de las mujeres que aman a mujeres en la transición al siglo XXI en La Rioja. Berceo, 176, 35-58.

Goicoechea Gaona, M. Á., Clavo Sebastián, M. J., & Álvarez Terán, R. (2019, June). Feminismo y derechos para las mujeres homosexuales. Feminismo, 297-322. doi:: 10.14198/fem.2019.33.12

Muga, L. (2020, March 8). «El feminismo no nació ayer»: historia del movimiento en La Rioja. nuevecuatrouno. Retrieved from https://nuevecuatrouno.com/2020/03/08/rioja-logrono-feminismo-historia-derechos-reivindicaciones-calles/

Muga, L. (2020, December 13). Los primeros pasos hacia el cambio: «Hola, soy trans». nuevecuatrouno. Retrieved from https://nuevecuatrouno.com/2020/12/13/relato-personas-trans-primeros-pasos-cambio/

[1] (Álvarez Terán, Goicoechea Gaona, & Clavo Sebastián, 2019)

[2] (Álvarez Terán, Goicoechea Gaona, & Clavo Sebastián, 2019)

[3] (Muga, 2020)

[4] (Goicoechea Gaona, Clavo Sebastián, & Álvarez Terán, 2019)

[5] Spanish; “1. 3. La autodeterminación de la identidad sexual no podrá ser puesta bajo cuestionamiento de manera que en ningún momento, proceso o trámite se exigirá la aportación de medios probatorios de aquella. En todo momento será considerada e interpretada de acuerdo a la manifestación de voluntad personal.”

[6] Spanish: “Una mujer cis euroblanca difícilmente experimentará el miedo a la ablación de clítoris, una mujer cis de Egipto nunca vivirá con la presión asfixiante institucional y social por mutilarse el pene que sufrimos las mujeres trans”.

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