Villanueva de la Serena

Villanueva de la Serena is a city of around 26,000 people in the comarca of Vegas Altas. The site has been occupied since the Tartessian period. In Roman times, it was called Portículus. The Moors built a castle on the site in the tenth century, when the town was called Mojáfar. It became one of the most important towns in the province during the nineteenth century, when its population increased from 5,000 to 12,000. The town was a Republican stronghold during the Civil War, and faced brutal repression as a result. The city voted to merge with Don Benito in November 2021.

History

The town hall supported Orgullo activities in 2010, with a concert of disco music from the 60s, 70s and 80s, a DJ session, a month-long exhibition titled “New signals for new times” and the rainbow flag flying at the town hall for the month of June.  The town’s Diversity Coordinator José Luis Chaves said this of the festivities, “although the legislation already supports the group, we must continue to raise awareness among citizens so that there is no discrimination.”

In 2010, the town hall decided to name a street after LGTB people to celebrate fifteen years of LGTB activism in Extremadura.  The decision was highly controversial, with PSOE supporting the measure and Partido Popular opposing it.  In late June 2010, the Asociación de Vecinos La Serena, believing that the street would be named Calle de los gays y lesbianas, also announced their opposition to such a renaming. Their letter to Mayor Francisco Luque said in part, “there are many other groups and people in Villanueva with a lot of merit to put their names on the streets.” and “gays and lesbians have done nothing to receive the recognition of having a street named after them.”  They also added that they have respect for the LGTB collective. Municipal government spokesperson Ana Fernández stepped in to clarify that the name would not be that. Extremadura Diversa, an umbrella association for Fundación Triángulo Extremadura, T-Entiendo and Extremadura Entiende, had proposed the rename, with suggestions like Calle de las libertades, Calle de los Derechos Individuales or Calle de la Diversidad. The eventual name chosen for a street was Plaza de la Igualdad de Derechos during a plenary session on 2 September 2010.  That was a compromise, with Partido Popular having proposed Plaza de la Igualdad Constitucional.  PSOE rejected this, citing the fact that they already had Parque de la Constitución and a public space in honor of the Magna Carta.

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.

Podemos Villanueva de la Serena issued a statement in August 2015 condemning the extreme violence which lesbian women in Peru were being subjected to.  Unlike Partido Popular and PSOE, Podemos does not appear to have an office in the town.

In July 2017, a homophobic attack against a young man and a young woman took place at the local fairgrounds in the town on a Sunday afternoon, with a group of fifteen young people allegedly hurling insults and threats including “maricón”, “ojalá tengas sida” and “lesbiana de mierda” at the two before chasing them and throwing stones at them.  The whole incident lasted about twenty minutes, and the victims were afraid to report the group to the police for fear of suffering additional harassment on social media and that the police would not take their complaint seriously, claiming that it was typical social behavior for young people.  The attack was denounced by Despierta Villanueva and Extremaduran politician Víctor Casco.

By 2018, Vox had established a local branch in the town.  The party has traditionally been viewed as homophobic based on statements leadership and other members have made.

FanCineGay organized the showing of the lesbian themed movie, Carmen y Lola, in a number of towns in late 2018 and early 2019, including in Almendralejo, Miajadas, Jaraíz de la Vera, Cabeza del Buey, Herrera del Duque and Villanueva de la Serena.

There were three women from the city listed on the website Pink Cupid in March 2022.  Their ages were 27m 29 and 53.

See

Casa de la Cultura, located at Calle Carrera, 34, is an event space in the town.  Among its many uses include being used as practice space for Banda Municipal and for hosting exhibitions. Los versos de Safo, a documentary about lesbians in Extremadura, was screened at the Casa de la Cultura as part of the 2016 edition of FanCineGay.

Ayuntamiento de Villanueva de La Serena, located at Plaza de España, 1, is the local town hall and government offices. For many years, including in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the town hall hung a rainbow flag on the building.  In 2017, the town hall celebrated Orgullo with official celebrations, which included hanging a rainbow flag from the building.

Plaza de España is where the Orgullo 2017 manifesto was read.  The bollards protecting the square were covered in the colors of the rainbow in honor of the event.

Calle Margarita Xirgu is a street in the town named after the early 20th century actress Margarita Xirgu. She was born on 18 June 1888 in Molins de Rei, Catalonia, went on to play an important role in the Círculo Sáfico de Madrid and served as a muse for Federico García Lorca before being forced into exile because of the events of the Civil War.

Calle Carmen Laforet is a street located in the town. It is named after the writer Carmen Laforet, an important writer contributing to the body of lesbian literary canon during and after the Franco era. While her sexuality is unknown, she had a deep and personal relationship with tennis player Lilí Álvarez and maintained a social circle that included many known and suspected lesbians. Her 1945 Nadal prize winning novel Nada is considered a piece of class Spanish writing.

Palacio Consistorial La Jabonera, located at Calle Hernán Cortés, 2, is an exhibition center and historic landmark.  The Jornada Mujeres, identidad y diversidad organized by Extremadura Entiende took place there in October 2018, with a goal of making locals more aware of the struggles of lesbians, bisexual women and transwomen in Spain. Danielle Nicole Mboume, founder of Asociación Día-Día África Libertad, gave her own personal testimony as a black, feminist lesbian activist who came to Spain as a refugee.  Kif-Kif Association psychosocial coordinator Khadija Afkir El Majrissi also took part.

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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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