History of Pride in Madrid: Socialist government of Pedro Sánchez (2018 – 2023)

A motion of no confidence by PSOE was registered with the Congreso de Diputados on 25 May 2018 after the Audiencia Nacional found Partido Popular profited from illegal kickbacks-for-contracts during the Gürtel case.  Spanish law only allows for such a motion to be put through if an alternative candidate for president is also nominated at the same time, with PSOE putting forth Pedro Sánchez as that candidate.  The debate was then scheduled for 31 May 2018, 38 years and a day since the last time such a motion had taken place.  The vote was held on 1 June 2018, with Albert Rivera’s Ciudadanos opposing it in the end, despite the motion succeeding in the end with votes from 180 deputies from PSOE, Unidos Podemos, Republican Left of Catalonia, Catalan European Democratic Party, Basque Nationalist Party, Compromís, EH Bildu and New Canaries. Ciudadanos decision to oppose the vote would take away their political momentum in the 2019 general elections on 28 April despite the party having led in the polls ahead of the no confidence vote. Those April elections saw PSOE claim 123 seats, which wasn’t enough for to form a government and Spain went back to the polls on 10 November 2019.  This time, PSOE won 120 votes and able to form a coalition government with Podemos. These changes in government did not appear to cause any immediate impact on Pride in Madrid.

            Over 3 million LGTB people visited the Comunidad de Madrid in 2018 as part of LGTB related tourism. Around 1.7  million people participated in Pride related events in 2018. The advertisement for Pride 2018 in Madrid featured a pair of lesbian grandmothers. It was produced by the Ayuntamiento de Madrid to celebrate 40 years of Pride. MiraLes team member Marta Márquez was featured in the advertisement.

            The 2018 Pride March followed the same route as previous years, starting at the Glorieta de Carlos V and ending at Plaza de Colón. There were a lot of signs at Plaza de Colón on 7 July as part of the final march that said “Despatologizacion Trans”, including one on the main stage.

            There were over 350 events dedicated to Pride related festivities in Madrid in 2018. These included ones run by Muestra T, L-Madrid, Lesgaicinemad and Juegos del Sol. Over five hundred business, hotels, restaurants, bars, galleries, bookstores and hair salons participated in Pride. There was only one event on the official Pride program specific to a class in the LGTB collective, and that was about or for transpeople.

            Malasaña, La Latina, Lavapiés and Madrid de Los Austrias were all hosting Pride festivities by 2018s in addition to those found in Chueca. Plumas y Patitas, a gay and lesbian themed event, was an event that took place in 2018 on 1 July. It was part of Orgullo de Barrio.

            Critical Pride was also still taking part.  The motto for the Plataforma Orgullo Crítico Madrid in 2018 was, “Orgullo es Transgresión” [1]. Chrysallis published a manifesto in honor of Pride in 2018.  It mentioned only one LGTB specific class, trans people who were mentioned four times.  They also made one reference to cis people.

            The 2019 Pride march, combined with its weeklong festivities with 1.6 million people attending, took place on 6 July along the now recurring 2.2-kilometer-long route starting near Atocha and ending at Plaza de Colón. It was estimated that for 2019, Pride cost the city government €55,000,000 but brought in revenue to the city of €125,000,000 which was an average of €500 per visitor. 330 volunteers from COGAM and FELGTB helped organize the event. Brands in Madrid that were involved in promoting Pride in 2019 included Scotch-Brite, Uber, Burger King, Wallapop, Just Eat and TelePizza. The national and Madrid slogan for Pride in 2019 was “Mayores Sin Armarios: ¡Historia, Lucha y Memoria!”,[2] chosen to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Among those participating in the march that year were women from Fundación Entredos.[3]

            Vox leadership tried to make it so the protest and celebration could not go ahead at all, or at the very least would be pushed to the margins of Madrid public life. The political party tried to get Pride moved for 2019 from Centro to Casa de Campo, as part of their efforts to try to decrease the visibility of the LGBT community in Madrid.

            Conferencias “El amor y deseo lésbico en las artes visuales”[4] took place during the 2019 Madrid Pride celebrations. It took place on 25 June 2019. It was the only official activity around Pride that year that focused on lesbians. Lesbians were mentioned in six other activities but only as part of a collective that included bisexual and transwomen or gay men.

            CRECUL and Elena de León issued a statement in June 2019 ahead of the Madrid Orgullo festivities saying that LGBT organizations have hidden lesbians and lesbian identity. CRECUL argued that the inability of LGBT organizations to make lesbians visible and lack of willingness to address the concerns of lesbians means lesbians should consider leaving the alphabet soup and returning to lesbian feminism. León and CRECUL also noted that 50 years after Stonewall, lesbian needs were still not being addressed inside Spain. Among these concerns were,

  • Guarantee of access to any assisted human reproduction technique (HRT) in public health, for single women and partners of unmarried women, in particular the ROPA technique for receiving oocytes from the couple,
  •  Gynecological and STD prevention protocols adapted to the reality of lesbian relationships.
  • Lesbian and bisexual senior residence centers, and education in sexual diversity for all which included lesbians,
  • Recognition of the non-pregnant mother and shared affiliation of the children of the female couple, without being married,
  •  Recognition of the custody of children in de facto relationships after the breakup of lesbian couples,
  • Parental and family leave for the care of minors and relatives,
  •  Leave for the purposes of pursuing adoption, seeking custody for the purposes of adoption or foster care,
  •  Aid for both working mothers of homomarental families, both married and in de facto relationships,
  •  The same rights including civil, social, labor and tax rights, for common-law couples that are granted to marriage,
  • The same measures for the prevention and attention to intra-gender violence inside lesbian couples afforded to opposite sex couples,
  • That lesbophobic crimes, including “reparative rape”, be treated as gender-based violence under the law, and
  • A receptive feminist movement that voices and echoes the demands of all feminists, including lesbian feminists.

            The Plataforma Orgullo Crítico Madrid had a motto in 2019 of “Orgullo es revuelta, no una celebración”[5] in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.[6]

            The global COVID pandemic hit Spain in early 2020, with the country going into hard lockdown shortly after 8 March and the International Women’s Day events, along with the Vox party conference. It created a political mess and a health crisis, which had an effect on Pride celebrations and marches nationwide and most activities moving online. The initial program for Pride 2020 was announced on 28 November 2019, and was scheduled to run from 26 June to 5 July and include the traditional Mr. Gay Pride Spain competition and the high heels race. The march route was scheduled to depart from Atocha and end in Plaza de Colón. It was officially cancelled on 24 March 2020 because of COVID. [7]

            Pride celebrations that took place virtually in Madrid and elsewhere in Spain had a motto and theme that specifically made special reference to the rights of transwomen. [8] Lesbian erasure in Spanish media continued into 2020 during the Pandemic. With a motto that mentioned lesbians, bisexual women and transwomen by name, print and television coverage might use the word lesbiana but then talk about Pride without mentioning anything related to lesbians and fail to include any imagery or symbols explicitly about or showing either lesbian or bisexual women.  One example of this was a piece by Telediario, who highlighted how Pride was dedicated to these women and then went on to talk about the economic impact without showing any lesbian related imagery.

            The rainbow flag was banned from flying on the town hall building as a result of a Supreme Court ruling, with a compromise being reached of the flag being hung on the side of the street. The Ayuntamiento compromised, agreeing to illuminate the building in the colors of the rainbow during pride.

            One of the results of the move for Pride activities in Madrid online was it was easier to create and make visible lesbian specific programming. LesWorking ran a virtual pride event on 27 June 2020. Among those participating were Librería Berkana, Federación Andaluza LGBT coordinators Isabel Rodriguez Guzmán and Sara Antler Ortiz, Colorful Families cofounder Marta Barrio, mis dos mamis Facebook group founder and moderator Daniela Más, IVI reproductive specialist Diana Santa Cruz, IMF reproductive specialist Laura Ciria, Eugin reproductive specialist Dr. Alicia Pérez Calvo, Rede Educativa de Apoio LGBTIQ+ de Galicia representative and professor Ana Ojea, and LesWorking founder and CEO Marta Fernández Herraiz.

            Despite the need to go online, Critical Pride was still celebrated virtually in the city in 2020. The Plataforma Orgullo Crítico Madrid had a motto in 2020 of, “Orgullo es protesta, disidencia es resistencia.”[9] [10]

            The COVID-19 situation had improved by June 2021 and most of the restrictions had been lifted that prevent any sort of protest from taking place. Nationwide, the national, regional and local governments approved events so long as organizers promised that social distancing could be maintained, and other health safety measures were put into place.

            The Mayor of Madrid Martínez Almeida, a member of Partido Popular, decided that the rainbow flag would not fly from the Ayuntamiento de Madrid during 2021 Pride  festivities. The TQI+ community, with support of traditional LGBT organizations, had been very active during 2021 in demanding the passage of a self-ID law on a national level, increasing their national visibility compared to past years. At the same time, they had met resistance from feminist groups and aligned lesbian groups who opposed the erosion of Spain’s constitutionally protested sex-based rights. Those activities were intensified, and polarizing, as the TQI+ lobby intensified efforts to have a win they could take into Pride festivities in Madrid. The Ayuntamiento did agree to illuminate the building in the colors of the rainbow during pride.  Messages on posters by the town hall for Orgullo 2021 included, “Orgullo como sentimiento”[11], “Orgullo por nuestros logros”[12], “Orgullo por celebrar”[13], “Orgullo día a diá”[14], “Orgullo por la Igualdad”,[15] “Orgullo es Libertad”[16], “Orgullo de amar”,[17] “Orgullo como forma de vida” and “Orgullo de ser quien eres”.[18]

            A scaled down march was held in 2021, with other face-to-face meetings and events taking place at smaller venues in order to try to practice safe health and avoid spreading COVID too much. This scaled down version took place on 3 July 2021 starting at the Glorieta de Carlos V and ending at Plaza de Colón, along the now familiar route. The focus of the march was on trans rights, and vindicating LGBT organization efforts to get self-ID efforts put into law. It was organized by FELGTB, COGAM and AEGAL among others. Organizers asked all attendees to practice social distancing and to wear masks.

            Critical Pride continued during the latter part of the COVID pandemic period. The Plataforma Orgullo Crítico Madrid dedicated its theme in 2021 to the defense of the proposed Ley Trans. Libres y combativas continued their involvement. Orgullo Vallekano LGTBIAQ+’s 2021 Pride manifesto is radical for Spain and is one of the only ones to accuse gays and lesbians of being privileged, and to use the word TERF to condemn gay, lesbians and feminists. [19]

            The LGB community in Madrid was still split in 2022, telling and highlighting different parts of the history of Stonewall in the United States, along with the history of Pride and LGTB rights in Spain more generally.  One group highlighted that Stormé DeLarverie was a lesbian, one of the first on the scene for the riots and that Malcolm Michaels Jr. was a transvestite who always identified as a gay man who showed up after the uprising started. The Spanish trans community told a different history, talking about about Stormé DeLarverie and Marsha P. Johnson as two hugely influential black trans activists who played outsized roles in starting the Stonewall uprising. These narratives were relatively new, dating back only three to five years, and were designed to serve the specific local and national goals of the local LGTB community.

            The 2022 motto was, “Frente al odio: Visibilidad, Orgullo y Resiliencia.”[20] The Pride march for 2022 took place on 7 July and followed a route that started from Glorieta de Carlos V, went down Paseo del Prado, past Fuente de Neptuno, down Paseo de Recoletos and ended at Plaza de Colón. There were five hundred police assigned to monitor the march and 180 members of Samur to support any health issues that occurred. 2,853 portable toilets were set up for Pride in 2022. An estimated two million participated in the march and related events, along with more than fifty floats.

            The floats for Pride 2022 left from Plaza de Carlos V at 20:30. There were thirty-nine in total listed on the official march order but news reports saying there were fifty-two. They were organized into four groups.  The first group included COGAM, FELGTB and RTVE. The second group was for political parties, including PSOE, Más Madrid and Podemos. The third group had LGTB themed businesses and events. It included Shangay Orgullo de Pueblo, Locamente Tanga Party, Locamente Hotel de las Reinas, Mr. Gay España, Gaylimpics, Tijeritas, 100 Lesbianas Visibles, Revista Mirales, Vivo en Libertad, Cuatro de Libertad (Fulanita Fútbol) and Fulanita de Tal. The fourth group was for businesses and international corporations, and included Last Minute, Movistar Plus, Idealista, Tik Tok, Amazon Prime Video, Google, Turisme Comunitat Valenciana, Ayuntamiento de Alcalá de Henares, Suma Content, Carol, Air Europa, HBO, Museo Thyssen, Grefusa – Black & White, Dell Computer, Santander’s Openbank and La Casa de las Carcasas.

            Among the items on the official 2022 Pride program published by organizers was a five-day festival at a sex fetish club called My Pleasure.  It was not the first time such programming appeared on the program, with such a partnership by a sex club with official Pride events and appearing in the official Pride program in 2018.

            During Pride celebrations in 2022 in Chueca, there was stickering that said, “Las lesbianas no temenos pene”. [21]

            The Critical Pride march took place on 28 June, with the route starting at Plaza Elíptica and ending in Parque de San Isidro.

[1] (Berzal de Miguel, 2020)

[2] English: Seniors without Closets: History, Struggle and Memory!”

[3] (Europa Press, 2019; Vázquez Fernández, 2020)

[4] English: Love and lesbian desire in the visual arts.

[5] English: Pride is a riot, not a celebration.

[6] (Berzal de Miguel, 2020)

[7] (Jana, 2020; Dosmanzanas, 2021)

[8] (Dosmanzanas, 2021)

[9] English: Pride is protest.  Dissidence is resistance.

[10] (Berzal de Miguel, 2020)

[11] English: Pride as a feeling

[12] English: Pride for our achievements   

[13] English: Pride to celebrate

[14] English: Pride is everyday

[15] English: Pride is Freedom

[16] English: Pride to love.

[17] English: Pride as a way of life.

[18] English: Pride to be who you are.

[19] (Berzal de Miguel, 2020)

[20] English: Facing Hate: Visibility, Pride and Resilience

[21] (LGB Madrid, 2022)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: