History of Pride in Madrid: Socialist government of José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (2004 – 2011)

The 14 March 2004 general elections which saw PSOE¡s José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero come to power in part on the promise of same-sex marriage becoming law appeared to have little immediate impact on Pride that year, with some 500,000 people turned out to march in Pride 2004 on a route that went from Puerta de Sol to Plaza de Callao. The 11 March 2004 terrorist attack on Madrid had a bigger impact, encouraging people to take to the streets to reclaim them in response to the violence. [1]

            Institutions, political parties, unions and other groups were beginning to put out their own statements in relation to Pride by 2004. One such group publishing an institutional declaration was PSOE, who despite the passing same-sex marriage the following year made only three LGTB class specific mentions and all were about trans; PSOE also did not include any mentions to either sex specific class.

            Between 97,000 and 250,000 people and twenty-four floats participated in 2005 Pride march on 2 July 2005. It was a celebration of the legalization of same-sex marriage that had come into force only the day of the event. The route for the march went was between Plaza de la Lealtad and Plaza de Colón, going along Paseo del Prado, Recoletos, Serrano and Calle de Alcalá. The atmosphere was festive.

            Politicians, many of them from the Government, and unions such as Carmen Calvo, Leire Pajín, the general coordinator of Izquierda Unida Gaspar Llamazares, PSOE Secretary General José Blanco, PSOE Madrid Secretary General Rafael Simancas, and the secretaries of Social Movements of the PSOE and IU, Pedro Zerolo and David Chica all participated in the march.

            “Today is a day of celebration that coincides with the recognition of a right that makes the men and women of our country more equal. It is a day of great satisfaction for the whole of our country and for the PSOE,” Blanco told people at the beginning of the march. “Spain has not arrived late this time to history,” said Minister of Culture, Carmen Calvo.

            The 2005 march ended by observing a minute of silence in memory of the victims of AIDS and then a song by Freddy Mercury was played “as an act of reparation for the use of one of this singer’s songs, ‘We are the champions’, played by the Foro Español de la Familia” in its demonstration against same-sex marriage on June 18.

            A third wave of activists emerged in 2005 which opened up Pride more to trans people and bisexuals. This was seen in march’s motto and many of the banners carried by participants. The main slogan for the 2005 Pride march was “¡Avanzamos! Ahora los/las transexuales”[2], and there were multiple banners demanding transsexual rights at the march. The banner for GTQ at Pride read “La familia nuclear es radiactiva”[3].[4]

            Pride in Madrid on 1 July 2006 repeated the same route as 2004, starting in Puerta del Sol and ending in Plaza de Callao, with the route traversing part of Gran Vía. Local organizers asked the Guinness World Records to attend to potentially certify their event as the largest ever homosexual demonstration in history, which they were granted with an attendance of 1.2 million people. In addition, there were around twenty floats taking part. The motto for the event was “Por la diversidad: todas las familias importa”. Programming at events around the march was relatively diverse, with three events specific to individual members of the collective, with one featuring gay men, one featuring lesbians and one featuring trans. [5]

            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.  It was the first year that an organized alternative Pride took place in Madrid. They had the motto “Pride is protest”[6] and included gays, transsexuals, bisexuals and lesbians, along with LGBT collectives such as Liberacción, RQTR, Eskalera Karakola and Grupo de Trabajo Queer (GTQ).   The feminist collective L.I.L.A.S. participated in the Bloque Alternativo de Liberación Sexual in 2006 and 2007.

            Bloque Alternativo saw themselves as the natural heirs of the 1990s activist groups LSD and Radical Gay, both of whom were critical of Pride.  Their initial demands were similar to those of the traditional demands of the LGTB organizations, including the fight against AIDS and attempts to make members of the LGTB more visible in society.  They adopted queer identities and took political positions on issues including being opposed to militarization and supporting the okupa movement.  Activists involved with Bloque Alternativo wanted to make themselves a common reference point for activists in the city beyond those just focused on sexual dissidence because they saw sexual liberation as intrinsically tied to other transformative struggles.

            The radicals inside Bloque Alternativo became stronger and as the 2010s advanced, they would begin organizing a more comprehensive slate of counter programming centered around anti-capitalist, anti-racist, transfeminist and anti-speciesist struggles. From their onset though, Critical Pride’s inclusion of lesbians appeared minimal and much of their struggles often focused on issues specific to transpeople. Many of the slogans also explicitly mentioned transpeople.

            By the late 2000s, there were some cracks in the LGBT community inside Spain that resulted in a number of people leaving Pride permanently as it no longer served a political or social purpose for them as gay men or lesbians. The overly commercial Madrid event had lost its authenticity as a place for making political demands and building gay and lesbian identities, and had instead become about queer consumerism, where identities were obtained through buying clothing, food and drink, through listening to music, and through travel. The queer identity had become aspirational phrases, mounted on keychains and other knickknacks. The consumerism meant for some gays and lesbians, their only perceived value inside this ecosystem was as a class of consumers. These cracks would not disappear, and would re-emerge in the late 2010s and early 2020s as an LGB separatist movement, or in more simply in lesbians and homosexuals more broadly failing to politically engage in relevant issues to their communities. The commercialization of Pride in Madrid would give rise to Alternative Pride and Critical Pride events in the city, organized by a variety of groups included Indignado, Toma el Orgullo and Orgullo Crítico in the period between 2008 and 2017.

            These internal divisions about the nature of Pride could also cause issues for people looking at Madrid Pride from the outside. The dual nature of protest and party found in Madrid created a tension between that is often difficult for outsiders to understand, especially as the media focus tended to more on the party aspect over the protest aspect. This confusion would continue into the 2020s.

            Lesbian visibility or the lack of it had become an issue that Pride organizers in Madrid and elsewhere in Spain still had not quite figured out how to address by the late 2000s. The 2008 Madrid Pride 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”. For both transpeople and lesbians, the slogans 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 acts have to be read into it as participating, having a slogan, or marching with a politically affiliated group maybe behind or 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.

            cyclobollos was a Madrid based blog created in July 2007. The blog focused on the intersection between bolleras and bikers. The blog later became an organization of the same name, and then transformed again as part of the State Coordinator Con Bici. The group would go on to participate in Orgullo Critico. These sorts of intersections were one of the important ways that lesbians continued to organize in the late 2000.

            Since 2007, LGTB organizations in the Comunidad de Madrid have published manifestos that are publicly available on the Internet.  References to lesbians topped out in 2007, 2011 and 2012 when the percentage was between twenty-two and twenty-five percent of all class specific references.  These manifestos were written by a variety of groups including one each from Bloque Alternativo, Indignado Madrid and RQTR, and two from FELGTB.

            Among thirty-eight manifestos by LGTB organizations based in the Comunidad de Madrid between 2007 and 2022, seven percent of the class specific mentions were to lesbians.  This was less the references to bisexuals at sixteen percent but slightly more than gay men at five percent, queers at four percent, intersexed people at three percent and asexuals at one percent.  LGTB organizations in the region used their Pride manifestos to talk about transpeople, transfeminism and the political demands of transgender people a lot. This group has, since 2007, accounted for sixty-four percent of all class specific mentions.  In years where manifestos have been available, only two years have had the total trans class count at less than fifty percent.  One time occurred in 2012 at twenty-five percent, when each of the four major classes had the same number of references.  The second time was in 2016, with forty percent of the references, with the remaining being forty percent for bisexuals, five percent for intersexed, five percent for asexuals and ten percent for cis. The percentage of references to trans people in LGTB organization Pride manifestos topped out at seventy-six percent in 2021.

            Madrid’s Pride celebration and march gained massive international recognition when it hosted Europride in 2007. Madrid was chosen as the host by EPOA (European Pride Organizers Association) in September 2005 by a unanimous vote. Alfonso Llopart, a board member of Asociación de Empresas y Profesionales para gays y lesbianas de Madrid y su Comunidad (AEGAL) did the proposal that earned Madrid hosting rights for European Pride 2007. Previous editions had been held in London, Berlin, Amsterdam or Rome but not Southern Europe. The other potential candidate city was Stockholm. At the time of the bid in September 2005, the Madrid City Council had not supported it. They assumed they would get it. Organizers already had a letter from the Minister of Culture Carmen Calvo saying the national government supported their efforts. Organizers were hoping to attract 2.5 million people to the city for EuroPride.

            Spanish LGTB groups met at hotel Carlton de Logroño in La Rioja from 13 to 15 April 2007 to coordinate plans related to Orgullo festivities around the country, including writing a manifesto for the day. The meeting was organized by the Logroño based LGTB rights group GYLDA and the national federation FELGTB. This particular meeting was viewed as especially important as Madrid was hosting European Pride Day that year. It was the nineteenth time such a meeting had been held, with previous cities hosting it including Madrid, Valencia, San Sebastián, Bilbao, Zaragoza, Málaga, Seville, Oviedo, Santander, Toledo, Salamanca and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Between 43 and 47 associations participated, sending around116 delegates, with most associations sending a gay, a lesbian, a bisexual and a transgender person. If they did not have all the representative members, they send who they did represent. Twenty-three topics were addressed at the La Rioja meeting including education, rural life for members of the LGTB community, homosexuality and the elderly. FELGTB Board member Boti García Rodrigo complimented the local organizers for their work, saying, “They have done a very powerful and very important job. They have achieved meetings of a very high level both in organization and in infrastructure, which has been backed by the high participation.” The Logroño meeting was also important for national organization as Madrid was hosting EuroPride that year. The motto for the event was chosen by participants as “Now Europe: Equality is possible”. The motto chosen nationally was “Decepción”, as a criticism of local governments for being deceptive in their support of the collective. [7]

            Based on hotel reservation data, in June 2007, the expected participation rate for Orgullo was 1.6 to 1.8 million people. Councilor Miguel Ángel Villanueva allocated €100,000 from the city government to help pay for costs of hosting Pride in 2007. Hazteoír protested the funding of Pride by the local government. Zero magazine provided free Wi-Fi across Chueca during Pride.

            Pride officially got underway with the reading of a proclamation by singer Marta Sánchez on 27 June 2007 at Plaza de Chueca. After that, there was a tribute video to the first homosexuals and transsexuals who participated in the first march in Barcelona in 1977. The rest of the officially organized socio-cultural activities getting underway a week later.

            Pride 2007 had a route that started in Puerta del Sol or Puerta de Alcalá[8] and ended in Plaza de España, chosen because it was longer and could accommodate more participants. There were more than a million participants in Madrid’s 2007 Pride celebration.

            More than forty floats had been signed up to participate in the march by 11 June 2007. Eventually, one hundred organizations took part in the march, along with those forty floats, twice as many floats as the previous year. One of the floats was by a condom company who gave out free condoms from their float. 270 police officers were mobilized for the march route, and 250 buses from all over Spain came to Madrid, bringing people to participate in Pride that year.

            Minister of Culture Carmen Calvo was at the head of the march. No one from Partido Popular participated. Among others who marched were the general secretaries of the UGT and CCOO, Cándido Méndez and José María Fidalgo, the general coordinator of the IU, Gaspar Llamazares, and the spokesperson for the IU in the Madrid Assembly, Inés Sabanés .

            The carroza100 lesbianas visibles organized at Orgullo for the first time to give visibility to lesbians at Pride. They were the first group to have a float without a sponsor in Madrid. One of their organizers was screenwriter Olga Iglesias. They had to pay around €400 for the float[9], while sponsored floats cost around €3000. Despite being about lesbian visibility, they allowed gays and straights on their float because it was about having a good time.[10]

            More than 250,000 people arrived in Chueca specifically to attend the adjacent activities in the period immediately before and after the parade. The aftereffects of EuroPride would change the neighborhood again, making it a gay tourism Mecca and pushing up local rents as even more single and coupled gay men moved in.[11]

            Free HIV testing was carried out at Pride 2007 in the Plaza del Mercado on Calle de Fuencarral. Most of the language and discussion around this event involved the importance of condom usage. Women, either bisexual or lesbian, were not included as part of the discussion. The Miss Transexual International competition took place at Florida Park on 26 June as part of EuroPride festivities.

            Chica busca chica was a Spanish internet web series that was released on 29 June 2007. The comedy show focused on the lives of a group of lesbians living in Madrid. There are unofficial English language subbed versions on YouTube. The show was released to coincide with EuroPride 2007.

            The 10th Interdisciplinary World Congress of Women was held in Madrid in July 2007, with organizers considering it and the prelude events of the photo exhibition “PHotole” and “Creative Women in the World of Comics” important in raising lesbian visibility during EuroPride.

            A large number of events took place around Pride in 2007. Some of these were new. Some of these were recurring. The first edition of the race, “10 kilómetros de Orgullo” took place with a route running from Plaza de España and ending at the Casa de Campo. There was a traveling exhibition called ‘The road to equality: 30 years of struggle for LGBT rights in Spain’. It showed the struggle of gay and lesbian groups since the 1970s, when they began to group together to fight for their rights. A cultural program called Muestra T was launched, which included cultural programming at various closed establishments like bars, shops and hairdressers around Chueca.

            The fifth edition of Infinita 07 took place on 30 June at Casa de Campo with the motto of “Tod@s hablamos infinita”. festival Infinitamentegay was in it its fourth year. Taking place at Palacio de los Deportes de la CAM, 15,000 people attended. The III Festival Visible took place around EuroPride with more than sixty activities on the program. It ran from 30 May to 30 July. It included twenty-five exhibitions, twenty-six theatrical performances and a cinema cycle at the Instituto Goethe in honor of the 25th anniversary of the death of German director R. W. Fassbinder.

            Bloque Alternativo took place in 2007, formed by LTGBQ groups in the city. It was the second time the group had presented an alternative Pride event, having done so in 2006. 150 people were present at the start of march in Plaza de Lavapiés and went in the direction of calle Argumosa. Heading down calle de Santa Isabel, participants then shouted “Orgullo es protesta: ¿a quién le molesta?”[12] as the route continued along Paseo del Prado in the direction of Cibeles, with the major chants being shouted being “Manos arriba, Chueca es un atraco”, “Palacio Real para orgía homosexual”, “Placer anal contra el capital”, “Placer clitorial contra el capital” and “Vamos a quemar la Conferencia Episcopal”. By the time the march reached Calle de Alfonso XII and the formal Orgullo march run by FELGT, there were round 300 people. The group then went to their float already prepared at Puerta de Alcalá and decorated in colors of the communist struggle, Republican flags, rainbow flags and black flags with yellow triangles. Among the slogans chanted were, “Audiencia Nacional para orgía homosexual”[13]. After the parade officially gets underway, people on the float chant things like, “Pride is protest: who bothers?” Some of that is hard to hear because of all the other sound. Around an hour into the parade, the group is now around 500 people chanting things like, “Against capitalism, social war.” An hour and forty-five minutes into the parade, organizers approach the leader of their float asking that chants like, “La virgen María también entendía”[14] and “Vamos a quemar la Conferencia Episcopal”[15] not be repeated. By the time the group got to the end at Plaza de España, they then tried to head towards the stage chanting things like, “Ni libre mercado, ni contrato patriarcal”[16] and “¿Dónde están? No se ven, las bolleras del PP”[17] but they are not heard over the other noise associated with the festivities. The group reformed at the corner of Plaza de España and Cuesta de San Vicente and around 400 people headed up Calle de Leganitos, then towards Plaza de Santo Domingo where they stopped for around an hour before heading along Calle de Jacometrezo in the direction of Callao through Caballero de Gracia, after crossing Gran Vía. They reached the Fangoria bus, and unfurled a banner saying, “Our rights are not business.” They then impeded the progress of Fangoria by sitting in front of their bus for fifteen minutes before finally dispersing.[18]

            There were three models for Orgullo in Spain in the period between 2008 and 2017. One was those run by activist groups like FELGTB and COGAM that took place in Madrid. The second was demonstrations like Critical Pride or Bloque Alternativo, which took place in Madrid and in other cities. The third was ones like Pride Barcelona, which were run where organized by public institutions like the local town hall. The model used in Madrid allowed for some of the most commercialization, which impacted how different groups inside the collective were often treated.

            During the annual meeting of FELGT and other local LGTB organizations, a national motto was chosen, “Por la visibilidad lésbica” meaning, “For lesbian visibility”. This was implemented across different Pride celebrations in very different ways. Barcelona’s Pride allowed for the co-existence of lesbian symbols and flag, the lesbian flag f,lags with pink triangles with participants wearing pink shirts alongside more traditional LGTB symbols like the rainbow flag.

            Pride and its relation to “Por la visibilidad lésbica” in Madrid stood in stark contrast to that. COGAM and FELGTB did not appear to dedicate any specific efforts to increase lesbian participation in the march or in surrounding events. The float section of the parade, the part that often has the greatest value for both spectators and participations, was heavily dominated by men. Members of COGAM wore shirts with the slogan, “Yo también soy lesbiana”. They did not wear them in the same color, but in all the colors of the rainbow in order to give people a visual reminder that lesbians were part of the broader LGBT community and to prevent a unified face for the movement which did not put any particular group in the collective above others.

            LGBT activists who organized Pride in Madrid continued to have problems with how to address lesbian visibility. Visibility had already been lacking at Pride for over a decade in addition to lesbians in Spanish society always having less visibility because of patriarchy, which automatically made gay men and transsexuals more visible. Issues around visibility had become worse because of the AIDS crisis, and the AIDS crisis, and neither COGAM nor FELGTB felt the need to address this. The 2008 Festival Visible de Cultura Gay y Lésbica de Madrid, organized by COGAM and FELGTB, included an exhibition called La VIH en rose. Vivir con VIH at the Círculo de Bellas Artes. It looked at the impact of HIV in Chueca and other barrios in Madrid. Artists featured included Abajo Izquierdo, Arturo Bibang, Dani Duart, Rinaldo Hopf, Guillermo Martínez, Alex Mene, Esperanza Moreno, Ángel Pantoja, César Rojas, Silvia & Neus y David Trullo. It did not appear to reference lesbians. The organizers said they wanted to draw attention to, but the organizers also wanted to draw attention to HIV / AIDS. The exhibition on HIV / AIDS focused mostly on gay men. The experiences and contributions of lesbians during the worst of the 1990s was obscured, despite the critically important role that Lesbianas Sin Dudas played in drawing attention to this issue, including during Pride. This issue was repeated with VIHdeo+, a video art session, also part of El Festival Visible. It took place at Espacio Menosuno on Calle de La Palma, 28. The only artists involved were gay or bisexual men.

            The proclamation for 2008 Pride was once again presented at Plaza de Chueca, read by presenter Eva Hache and the actor Hugo Silva. Neither of them have come out publicly as homosexuals, lesbian or gay respectively, or as bisexual during a celebration of lesbian visibility. Both people have left their sexual orientation be ambiguous in the media.

            IU’s Gaspar Llamazares, PNV’s José Ramón Beloki (PNV) and PSOE’s Carmen Montón met with members FELGTB in early July as part of lesbian visibility by organizers in connection to that year’s motto. Most members of FELGTB who attended the event in order to bring attention to lesbian visibility, or its lack of, where the motto was lesbian visibility, were actually men.

            The Pride march was again convened by COGAM and FELGTB. Called Orgullo Gay de 2008 by the media, Pride in Madrid had an Olympic atmosphere in Plaza de Cibeles. Organizers estimated that more than a million people participated. [19]

            Spain’s newly appointed Minister for Equality, Bibiana Aído led the march in 2008. The banner at the head of the march read “Por la visibilidad lésbica”. She was joined by FLGTB president Antonio Poveda and COGAM president Miguel Ángel González. In case that wasn’t clear, in honor of lesbian visibility, the march was led by a woman who was not a lesbian and two gay men. They were joined by UGT leader Cándido Méndez, Política institucional CCOO coordinator Salvador Bangueses, IU President Gaspar Llamazares, Movimientos sociales del PSOE secretary Pedro Zerolo, and Organización socialista secretary José Blanco. None were lesbians. None were women. They did not carry a lesbian flag to increase lesbian visibility but instead carried a rainbow flag in support of young GLTB people.

            The route for Pride 2008 started on Plaza de la Independencia, continue along Calle de Alcalá, crossing Plaza de Cibeles, continuing along Gran Vía and ending in Plaza de España. Ahead of the parade, traffic was cut at 5:00 PM at calle de Alcalá, starting at plaza de la Independencia and Cibeles. Fifteen minutes later, traffic was cut at paseo de la Castellana, paseo de Recoletos, Glorieta de Atocha, paseo del Prado, Calle Serrano at Goya and calle Alfonso XII. At 5:30 PM, traffic was cut at Gran Vía, Calle Princesa and plaza de España. COGAM marched behind a banner in 2008 that said, “Soy lesbiana, soy visible”.  The banner had no lesbian symbols, and the women behind it wore coordinated shirts in the color of a rainbow instead of the lesbian flag.

            CRECUL organized their own march for Pride, Marchas por la Visibilidad Lésbica, something which they repeated the following year. The route went from Puerta del Sol to Plaza de Callao along Calle Preciados. These marches, attended by only around fifty people, had limited success in terms of gaining media attention to issues that mattered to lesbians. Bloque Alternativo de Liberación Sexual and ESAP joined CRECUL. [20]

            There were other lesbian themed activities that took place during Pride in 2008. There was an official party for women called, “LesMadrid por la Visibilidad Lesbica”. It took place from midnight to 6am on 5 July 2008 at Florida Park, with DJs Lara DJ, Mini-K, Silvia Sanchéz and AKA Vega. It had a €20 entrance fee.[21]

            El Festival Visible, in its fourth year, took place from 10 June to 20 July. With lesbian visibility as the motto for Pride and COGAM an organizer of this festival, around thirteen exhibits were about or featured gay male artists compared to only four for lesbians. Pablo Peinado was the festival director. Cruzadas cotidianas, directed by Bruno Ciordia, had a lesbian theme. It was performed on 20 and 21 July at Sala Triángulo on Calle de Zurita, 20. Paquitadora was a second. The play was written and directed by Nicolás Pacheco. It was performed at Teatro de las Aguas on Calle de las Aguas, 8 from 25 to 28 June. Monólogos de bollería fina, written and directed by Mariel Maciá and performed by Beatriz Webe, Deis Loren and Isabel Sánchez, was another lesbian piece at the festival. It was performed at Teatro Liberarte located on Francisca Conde, 7 on 27, 28 and 29 June and on 2, 3 and 4 of July. A lesbian themed exhibition titled Evasinadanes en el paraíso de la visibilidad took place at Librería Berkana from 12 June to 20 July.

            Most other activities did not heavily feature lesbians, despite the slogan for that year. The major centers for activity for official celebrations at Pride 2008 were Calle Pelayo, Plaza de Chueca, Calle de San Bartolomé, Calle de las Infantas, Costanilla de Capuchinos, Plaza del Rey and Plaza Vázquez de Mella.

            Pride included a Caravan for Visibility that visited Getafe, Fuenlabrada and Alcorcón. The organizer of the activity said it was important to increase visibility in places where visibility was lacking.[22] festival Infinitamentegay was in it its fifth year. Taking place at Palacio de los Deportes de la CAM on 5 July, they were hoping for 20,000 people to attend. One of the officially supported Pride events was Fiesta into the Tank, which required participants to wear male sexual fetish gear to attend.

            Muestra-T festival was held in Plaza del Rey. The first night had a theme of Flamenco pride, with the second night featuring creative women, and the third night titled “Noche RE-movida”. The last night was, “Noche brasileña”.

            Bloque Alternativo and ESAP (Encuentro Social Alternativo al Petróleo) organized for the first time in 2008 their own march for Critical Pride. It took place on 28 June with the name Orgullo transmaribollero anticapitalista and a motto of, “Liberación Sexual sin consumismo, no más sangre por petróleo”. They openly defined themselves as trans gays and lesbians, and invited straight people to participate in their demonstration.

            The Madrid and Valencia model for Pride of largely being run by activist groups like FELGTB and COGAM with little government support and participation continued in 2009, standing in contrast to cities like Sevilla, where the local government was much more supportive in 2009 and 2010. There, the local and regional government did support Pride and local politicians participated in the march.

            Pride in Madrid continued to get more global recognition. Following 2007 EuroPride, MADO was awarded the ‘Best Gay Event in the World’ award by MTV in 2009 and 2010. It also continued to be and become more commercial. Nationally, Madrid had the most companies sponsoring floats during Pride 2009, with almost all the commercially sponsored ones happening in Madrid and only a few others mostly in Valencia and Sevilla. The local government did cap some of the commercial floats, refusing to authorize more than thirty-five floats in the parade, fewer than the peak in the low forties. Ultimately, there were thirty-one floats participating.

            Madrid Pride 2009 festivities continued to feature lots of pictures of scantily dressed gay men, who were often featured in media representations of the event. When women were featured in the same way, it was often on floats that appeared to be moving discotecas and they appeared alongside other scantily dressed men. The motto for Pride was “Escuela sin armarios” or “School without closets”, with the goal Pride being to help with normalizing homosexuality in schools. The route went from Calle de Alcalá to Gran Vía.

            The proclamation for Pride was read by singer Soraya Arnelas[23]. A number of different LGTB groups participated in Pride in 2009. GALEHI, the Madrid association for parents of gays and lesbians, participated in Orgullo celebrations for the first time in 2009. They had a bus as a float, with the motto, “Nuestros hijos crecen, nuestro orgullo, también.”[24] on the side.[25] Crismhom, a Christian homosexual group, also participated in Pride in 2009. [26]

            Mayka Contreras, a lesbian, was the president of AEGAL from at least 2009 to 2013. By this point, AEGAL, an LGTB business networking organization in Chueca, was playing a major role in actually organizing all the activities around Pride with the exception of the actual march itself under the name MADO. MADO had organized six centers for entertainment during Pride in 2009. They were located at Calles Pelayo and Calle de Libertad, Plaza de Chueca, Plaza de Vázquez de Mella, Plaza del Rey and Plaza de Soledad Torres Acosta. [27]

            The 2009 COGAM Premio Triángulo Rosa was won by El Intermedio, with the Premio Ladrillo Rosa won by Jaime Mayor Oreja. Premio a la Visibilidad Lésbica was won by Luisa Notario and Desiré Chacón. The Bandera a la Militancia was won by Antonio Carrascosa, María Luisa García and Martín Berenguer. The Premio a las Artes was won by María Luisa Merlo. The Premio de Periodismo was won by Ruth Toledano.

            LesMadrid 2009 took place in in collaboration with MUESTRA-T. It included a 7-a-side football tournament sponsored Filanita de Tal, with 21 teams and 400 female footballers taking place. The semi-final matches were 27 and 28 June at Green Canal with the final played on 4 July. There was padel championship also run by Fulanita de Tal. BOLLOLOGOS x FULANITA, monologues with a lesbian theme, took place from 1 to 5 July at Plaza del Rey. The Social Pride Project took place, on display at Círculo de Bellas Artes. Artistic coordination was done by Veronica del Hoyo Colino. Femme Fatale took place at Los Placeres de Lola. A party was held at Circulo de Bellas Artes with djs Moni-k and DJ Lara.

            El Festival Internacional de cine Gay y Lesbico, LESGAICINEMAD, organized by Muestra T included the film Gyna, which was lesbian themed. The movie told the story of a Czech refugee who comes into the lives of a poverty-weary lesbian couple in Scotland on the brink of collapse. Films were shown at Sala Manuel de Falla edificio SGAE located on Calle de Fernando VI, 4.

            CRECUL once again organized Marchas por la Visibilidad Lésbica 2009 in Madrid, using the same historical route that lesbians used in Pride marches during the Franco period. The route went from Puerta del Sol de Madrid to Plaza de Callao via Calle Preciados.

            Asamblea Orgullo Migrante LGTBQ organized their own Critical Pride event in 2009, with events taking place on 27 and 28 June, including a history of LGTBQ migrant session at Patio Maravillas, Calle Acuerdo, 8, a manifestación with the motto, “Con fronteras no hay Orgullo”[28] at Plaza de Jacinto Benavente a workshop on resistance strategies and several partying and social events. There were no lesbian specific activities, though events took on the 28th place at Kasa Publica de mujeres La Eskalera Karakola. Lesbians and the threat they faced of conversion therapy were mentioned in the event’s manifesto.

            Orgullo Ciudadano also hosted an event during Madrid Pride, taking on 3 July 2009 at the Congreso de Diputados as part of Año de la Diversidad Afectivo-sexual en la Educación; the group saw it as education as important to their goals of an inclusive society.

            Asturian Ángeles Flórez Peón participated in Orgullo celebrations by riding on a float in Madrid in the 2010s when she was in her 90s despite being a heterosexual woman because she saw supporting the LGTB community as part of the broader struggle against fascism.[29]

            Lesbian children’s writer Olga de Dios was another person participating in Pride in support of lesbian and gay rights in Madrid in the early 2010s. Some of her activism was in lesbian feminist circles.

            LesMad became less important in this decade, becoming transwomen lesbian inclusive in the early 2010s before finally disappearing and no longer providing large scale lesbian programming at Pride in Madrid by 2016.

            Around 2010, the Ayuntamiento de Madrid and local organizers began a dispute over the route for the pride march as a result of neighborhood complaints. Some neighbors did not like the week of loud partying, and litter strewn streets that had accompanied the 2009 edition. Images of Orgullo in the media by this point were fixated on gay men dressed in sexual costumes and partying, with no political element involved in the march. Lesbians were absent from the reporting. Despite this, organization in 2010 was better than previous years, especially for people charged with tasks like driving floats. [30] Still, Bloque Orgullo Crítico had denounced the event for being “a mere space of consumerism, where only white men count, with papers and a stupendous liberal profession”.[31]

            Consejera de medioambiental de Madrid Ana Botella eventually sanctioned MADO, the Orgullo organizers, in January 2011 “for alarmingly exceeding noise levels, with serious deterioration of the environment” that took place during Pride 2010 celebrations. The organizers were originally fined €35000 by the municipal government for noise violations, which was eventually reduced to €600 because the owner of the bar pointed out that the noise was actually a result of FIFA Men’s World Cup celebrations.[32]

            The lesbians of carroza100 lesbianas visibles participated in the Pride 2010 march. The group met at 11:00 AM on 4 July 2010 at Calle Alfonso XII. The 100 lesbian float installed a television so that people riding on it could watch the Spanish national football team play in the World Cup without missing the party. That year, they were still the only non-sponsored float. [33]

            GALEHI, the Madrid association for parents of gays and lesbians, participated in the Pride March in 2010 for another time with a banner with the slogan, “Trans/formando familias.” [34]

            The MADO program in 2010 included nine events on the program specific to a class in the LGTB collective. One was about lesbians, one for or about gay men, six were about or for trans and one about or for queers.

            Critical Pride had their first Open Assembly in 2010, with a large number of organizations participating.  The transfeminist nature of the group became even stronger, especially following a transfeminist meeting earlier in the year in Barcelona which a number of Madrid based activists participated in. The 2010 Critical Pride manifesto had a line that said, “Transfeminism offers concrete political strategies against violence, repression and exclusion of dissident, ambiguous, mixed bodies… from a feminist perspective”. Their march took place in Vallecas, aiming to decentralize Pride away from MADO’s events in Centro in order to better connect with Madrid’s large immigrant population and people living in more working class areas. People affiliated with Critical Pride also interupted the MADO Pride inauguration in 2010 by Plaza de Chueca that read “Our rights are not a business” and releasing pamphlets critical of Pride from a balcony.

            Groups related to Critical Pride put on their own programming. Orgullo Trans Migrante Precario Queer was held in Madrid in 2010 in Vallecas. Drag kings participated in this edition. Orgullo Trans Migrante Precario Queer 2010, including polyamorous people under the queer umbrella with Polyamor Madrid marching in their protest.

            Conflict with the local government ahead of Pride happened again in 2011. Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon decided to prohibit some of the musical events that had been planned for Pride 2011 in Chueca because of noise and potential security issues. Concerts were prohibited from 29 June to 3 July and events could have a noise limit of 90 decibels only after 11 PM. [35] On 14 June 2011, some neighbors in Chueca organized a cacerolada at Plaza de Chueca using Facebook to protest the decision to limit those musical activities. It was attended by 200 people, who said they disagreed with neighbors who had made the complaint about noise and security to the town hall. They said the decision to place those limits was purely homophobic.[36] Later that year, the organizers of Pride Madrid were fined €60,000 but since the fine was dated 31 June, it was dismissed as having formal defects.[37]

            The FELGTB convened 2011 Pride march took place on 2 July, with 45 floats taking part and 270 police mobilized for the march. The group calling themselves “100 lesbianas visibles” were back again, as the only non-commercial float in the parade. The float drew a lot of attention because the majority of the floats that year featured male participants displaying male sexuality publicly, while the lesbian float contained less open female sexuality and carried vindictive text messages.[38] Some other lesbians participated in the march, including some under the banner “Salud e igualdad por derecho”.[39] Some of the media photos of lesbians from Pride that year featured women wearing shirts that said, “Kiss me! I’m Swedish!” The route was from Puerta de Alcalá to Plaza de España.

            MADO once again organized a series of events and exhibitions 2011. There were eight events on the program specific to a class in the LGTB collective. One was about lesbians, three about gay men, three about or for trans and one about or for bisexuals. A different program put out for Pride 2011 had eleven events on the program specific to a class in the LGTB collective. One was about lesbians, three about gay men and seven about or for trans. During Pride 2011, an average of 125 people a day were given free AIDS / HIV testing by Madrid Positivo.

            Critical Pride in 2011 and 2012 was known as Orgullo Indignado and influenced by the movimiento 15-M. The 2011 motto was “Transmaribolleras en lucha” wand “¡No somos mercancías en manos de políticos banqueros!” Their more aggressive inclusion of transfeminism was in part a result of the influence of 15-M. Their Revolución serás transfeminista action in 2011 took place at Feria de Productos LGTB which took place at Círculo de Bellas Artes. Orgullo Indignado organized their own Pride march in 2011, taking place on 25 June with a route from Plaza de Lavapíes to Puerta del Sol. Their program included three events on the program specific to a class in the LGTB collective. One was about lesbians, zero about gay men and two about or for trans.


[1] (Enguix Grau, “Nos defilamos, nos manifestamos”: Activismis y manifestaciones LGTB en España, 2017; García Dauder, 2019)

[2] English: We move forward! Now the transsexuals!

[3] English: The nuclear family is radioactive.

[4] (García Dauder, 2019; Villena Espinosa, 2020)

[5] (Enguix Grau, “Nos defilamos, nos manifestamos”: Activismis y manifestaciones LGTB en España, 2017)

[6] Spanish: Orgullo es protesta.

[7] (Caro, Gays y lesbianas dicen que «no caben rastros homófobos en Europa», 2007; Caro, La Rioja. Logroño, sede del diálogo plural, 2007; Pablo, 2007)

[8] There is once again a conflict with sources as to what route was actually used.

[9] Other sources say that having a float that year cost around €100.

[10] (GALEHI, 2010)

[11] (A.S., 2019)

[12] English: Pride is protest: who does this annoy?

[13] English: National Court for homosexual orgy.

[14] English: The Virgin Mary also understood.

[15] English: We are going to burn the Episcopal Conference.

[16] English: Neither free market nor patriarchal contract.

[17] English: Where are they? They are not seen, the dykes of the PP.

[18] (Bloque Alternativo, 2007)

[19] (Extremadura Entiende, 2008)

[20] (Bloque Alternativo de Liberación Sexual, 2008)

[21] (Extremadura Entiende, 2008)

[22] (Agencias, 2008)

[23] Soraya Arnelas appears to be either heterosexual or bisexual, having a male partner with whom she has had two children.

[24] English: Our children grow, our pride, too.

[25] (GALEHI, 2009)

[26] (rioja2, 2011)

[27] (Santaeulalia, 2011)

[28] English: With borders, there is no Pride.

[29] (Gorriti, 2022)

[30] (GALEHI, 2010)

[31] (rioja2, 2011)

[32] (Europa Press, 2012; rioja2, 2011)

[33] (GALEHI, 2010)

[34] (GALEHI, 2010)

[35] (rioja2, 2011)

[36] (rioja2, 2011)

[37] (Europa Press, 2012)

[38] (Enguix Grau, Cuerpos, camisetas e identidades como estrategias, 2012)

[39] English: Health and equality by right.

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