Don Benito

Don Benito is a city of around 37,275 inhabitants. The town was first founded around the fifteenth century and obtained the title of city in 1856. It was near the front lines during the Civil War. In 2021, the city and Villanueva de la Serena voted to merge, a process that will not be completed before 2027.

History

37-year-old Silvia Tostado Calvo and 30-year-old Noelia Velarde Calle from Don Benito gave birth to a daughter named Julia in June 2013 as a result of Extremadura giving lesbian couples access to reproductive assistance in public health. If the couple had been living in other regions with the exception of Andalucía and Asturias, it would not have been possible. Fundación Triángulo said in 2015 that the cut made no sense using a financial rational because less than 4% of the LGBT community were likely to utilize the service.

Pride events and recognition of Pride has happened for a number of years dating back to at least 2015. Most of these activities have been LGTB generic, without any specific recognition of the individual classes that compose the rainbow and their unique needs and concerns.

Local town halls in Villanueva de la Serena, Don Benito, Vivares, Plasencia and Villanueva del Fresno made the gesture of creating rainbow pedestrian crossings in honor of Orgullo in June 2015.  This was a year where such gestures by municipal governments faced large amounts of scrutiny after the Partido Popular national led government said town halls should not fly the rainbow flag for Orgullo as it does not apply to everyone.

As part of Orgullo 2019 events, there was a forum organized Don Benito Orgullosa in which by Fundación Triángulo Extremadura participated on transsexuality.

Most of the Orgullo 2020 Don Benito celebrations were online as a result of the pandemic. There were six items on the program, with only one about a specific class and that was the sharing of a pair of biographies about gay men. There was no lesbian specific programming.

In early March 2022, there were no LGTB friendly rooms for rent in shared accommodation on Idealista. There were three women from the town listed on the website Pink Cupid in March 2022.  Their ages were 37, 39 and 50.

Women

Estela Sevillano Esquivel is a lesbian from Extremadura who represents the experiences of other lesbians born in the 1990s and 2000s.

Sevillano Esquivel was born in 1996 in Azuaga. When she was a 4-year-old, she moved to Don Benito. Growing up, she never learned about homosexuality and that it was possible to like girls; she only knew about heterosexuality. She came out of the closet when she was 15-year-old by telling her gay brother. She then told her parents, who accepted her unconditionally though they were surprised as she did not conform to the stereotypes they had about lesbians. Her peers called her a fake lesbian for similar reasons, including that her taste in clothing meant she could not be a lesbian. She moved to Badajoz when she was an 18-year-old to do a double degree in LADE and Economics at the Universidad de Extremadura in Badajoz. Her lesbianism meant she was rejected by some of her peers, so she went back into the closet. A few years later, she came out again and started volunteering for Fundación Triángulo.

See

Calle Carolina Coronado is a street in the town named after Carolina Coronado, one a handful of Spanish Sapphic writers from the 19th Century. She was part of the hermandad lírica. Coronado was widely read at the time but later written out of history because she challenged patriarchal norms of the era.

Ayuntamiento de Don Benito, located at Plaza de España, 1, is the local townhall and government offices. The rainbow flag has flown outside the townhall for a number of years during June in celebration of Pride, including in 2016 and 2017.

Don Benito Orgullosa organized a discussion session and workshop on 4 March 2022 at Espacio Para la Creación Joven de Don Benito Gobierno de Extremadura, located at Avenida de las Olimpiadas, to try to continue to build in person relationships between transwomen, lesbians, bisexual women and asexual women.

Plaza Santo Angel hosted a Don Benito Orgullosa organized in honor of 17 May 2019’s International Day Against LGBTIphobia. There were information stands, a concentration, an actuation and a lecture. There was no specific programming about any member of the rainbow.

There was a cafe on Calle Villanueva called El Swan owned by a musician named Carlos. It was next to the church where La Encina and then Meson los Barros once were that was gay and lesbian friendly, attracting a very diverse clientele. It had tables similar to the ones used for sewing machines, where people could read, chat, play cards. The cafe served tea and coffee and had music like that of Enya playing in the background. Later, the owned opened a bar El De Swan nearby, with the beverage area being inside an antique wardrobe and featuring live music. The cafe was around for about twenty-five years, closing sometime in the 2000s because the owner moved.

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Aceuchal, Alange, Alburquerque, Almendralejo, Arroya de San Sérvan, Azuaga, Badajoz, Barcarrota, Bótoa, Cabeza del Buey, Campanario, Don Benito, Fuente de Cantos, Gévora, Guareña, Helechosa de los Montes, Herrera del Duque, Hornachos, Jerez de los Caballeros, Llera, Llerena, Medellín, Medina de las Torres, Mérida, Mirandilla, Monesterio, Nogales, Olivenza, Oliva de la Frontera, Puebla de Sancho Pérez, Quintana de la Sierra, Ribera del Fresno, La Roca de la Sierra, Salvatierra de los Barros, Los Santos de Maimona, Valencia de las Torres, Valencia del Ventoso, Valverde de Leganés, Villafranca de los Barros, Villanueva de la Serena, Villanueva del Fresno, Vivares, Zafra, Zalamea de la Serena, La Zarza

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