Cáceres

Cáceres is a city of 95,500 people that serves as the provincial capital of the region of the same name. The oldest human remains in the area are over a million years old. The city itself was first settled in the first century BCE when the Romans set up a camp in the area. The site was razed by the Visigoths in the fifth century, and only reappeared in history again around the ninth century after the Moors built there as a result of its strategic location, and refounded again in 1147. The city was taken by Christians during the Reconquista in 1229 by Rey Alfonso IX de León. The town then suffered internal disputes, being on the wrong side of a war and internal decline that rendered it rather unimportant until the 1800s after Rey Carlos I established it at the seat of the Real Audiencia de Extremadura.

History

The early history of lesbians in Cáceres is less visible than other places in Extremadura, including Badajoz and Merida.  What is certain is that lesbians were there, from the Roman period through to the Inquisition and down into the Franco period and into the Democratic transition.  The stories of these lesbians were just not told because of the double invisibility faced by Spanish lesbians, first for being women and second for being homosexuals.  The events of these periods would have impacted these lesbians, as they impacted lesbians in nearby towns.

Lesbians were involved in the feminist movement in the city likely by the late 1970s, though these lesbians were likely heavily closeted, and avoided dual militancy that often homophobic feminist organizations at that time tended to ask of members.  Lesbianism as a topic, based on the experiences of lesbians elsewhere, likely would rarely have come up in meetings or in discussions among other members.  Their political goals during the transition would have in support of legal equality, making the Spanish Constitution feminist, repeal of certain laws, and making divorce, contraceptives and abortion legal.  While lesbian feminist groups were being created elsewhere in Spain as early as 1977, the broader Extremadura situation suggests that the first lesbian feminist group in Extremadura was not founded until the late 1980s in Cáceres. Beyond its existence, little other public information is easily accessible about the group. Lesbian history in the city then goes dark for around a decade.

The Cáceres based El Periódico Extremadura ran an article by Roberto González and José María Núñez Blanco in 1995 titled “Ser homosexual en Extremadura”. It was the first article by the publication to look at the lives of homosexuals in the region. Fundación Triángulo Extremadura was founded in 1997 in Cáceres. Its purpose was to advocate politically in defense of LGBT rights in the region. Orgullo was celebrated in Cáceres and Badajoz in 1997. Posters advertising the event featured hearts with the names of two women and two men.  It is unclear the extent of lesbian involvement in the event.  Membership of De Par en Par and Fundación Triángulo Extremadura, the only notable LGTB organizations at that time, included some lesbians; as a result, it was likely there were lesbians involved in organizing the local protest and that lesbians attended Pride.  After this, lesbian history again goes dark, this time for around eight years.

Lesbian history appears again in the city in 2005, and even that history is not so much a lesbian history but a homosexual rights history.  From this point forward, lesbian history in Cáceres, while at times limited, becomes more continual with events, activities, media attention or legal situations making lesbians visible, even if part of other groups.  That year, in 2005, the first year that same-sex marriage was legal in Spain, the Registro Civil de Cáceres performed three same-sex marriages.  How many were between men and how many were between women is unclear.  Later that year, At the Cáceres campus of the Universidad de Extremadura from 13 – 14 October, the I Congreso Universitario sobre Adopción Homoparental took place. It included presentations, workshops, round tables. Adoption rights had been included alongside marriage rights when same-sex marriage became legal in July.

The following year, Caceres hosted the 2006 edition of the Foro hispano luso sobre activismo LGBTI. Among those participating were Paulo Corte Real of Ilga Portugal, Beatriz Gimeno of FELGBT and Pedro Zerolo. Gimeno was an out lesbian from Madrid.  The following year was quiet, and while LGTB activities took place, it is unclear what activities were lesbian relevant.

Silvia Tostado and Ana Paredes helped organize the Orgullo 2008 celebration in Badajoz, coordinating efforts in Cáceres and Mérida along the theme of lesbian visibility. The women were coordinators in Foro Extremeño por la Diversidad Afectivo Sexua. In a press conference on 26 June 2008, they  talked about the gynecology protocols and need to address training for health professionals when dealing with lesbian women. They highlighted that there was a need to remove barriers to accessing assisted reproductive services in public health and advocated for legalizing the Ropa method in public health. They also advocated for improved abortion rights.

Junta Local del Partido Popular de Guadalupe, the name of the local branch in Cáceres, made a blog post in April 2009 that was criticized the Didactic Guide on sexual orientation which was written by by Fundación Triángulo and the Chilean group Movilh with the Junta de Extremadura finances the distribution of in Chile as part of their efforts in international cooperation. Their criticism included the word mariconada and talked about how others “fomentar la homosexualidad”.  The headline was “The Extremaduran socialist government spends the money to promote fagots in Chile”.  Partido Popular was widely criticized for their post by organizations like Fundación Triángulo Extremadura and FELGTB, and eventually deleted it on 27 April 2009.  The local branch of PP later said they just copied and pasted a popular local blog post and had not intended it to be a viewed as representing an official party line, but rather the sharing of diverse opinions from their membership.  The situation got national attention, requiring Parliamentary spokeswoman Soraya Saénz de Santamaría  to comment on it, which she did by saying she was unaware of the content and refused to say more.

El Foro por la Diversidad Afectivo Sexual de Extremadura celebrated Orgullo 2009 Cáceres. For the first time, the rainbow flag flew from the Ayuntamiento de Cáceres on 27 June 2009. Councilor for Social Affairs Marcelina Elviro attended as a representative of the mayor. David Holguín was there as a representative of El Foro por la Diversidad Afectivo Sexual de Extremadura. ALEAS IU Extremadura, De Par en Par Joven, El Arrabal Oriental, Extremadura Entiende, Fundación Triángulo Extremadura, Grupo LGBT PSOE Extremadura, Osos contra el Sida and T-Entiendo all participated in the city’s Orgullo celebration.

II Jornadas de Visibilidad Lésbica de Extremadura took place in 2010 with the motto “Lesbianas: pasado, presente y futuro” at the Casa de la mujer in Cáceres in 27 and 18 April. The event was organized by Asociación Extremadura Entiende and the Fundación Triángulo Extremadura. The conference looked at the repression of lesbians in the early Franco period. This was done through presentations, book presentations, and talks based on personal experiences. There was also an open space for discussion, debate and training about lesbian visibility. It was attended by lesbians from Portugal. Cáceres hosted Orgullo festivities in 2010. No events and activities were specific to any class in the LGTB collective.

Jornadas Estatales de Políticas Lésbicas por parte de la FELGTB took place from 1 – 3 April 2011 at the Casa de la Mujer de Cáceres. The event was organized by Extremadura Entiende with support from FELGTB, and was attended by Consejera de Igualdad y Empleo Pilar Lucio. The motto for the conference was “Not one step back”. Topics discussed at the conference included family, sexual health and issues faced by lesbians in rural areas. Transwomen were included in the conference as a type of lesbian.

Cáceres celebrated Orgullo in 2012 on 28 June at the Foro de los Balbos. The march was organized by Extremadura Entiende and Fundación Triángulo Extremadura. The motto for the march was “Matrimonio Igualitario. Igualdad sin recortes”, the same one in Madrid with Extremadura Entiende following the lead of FELGTB.

The theme of Orgullo 2013 in Cáceres and Badajoz was “Jóvenes sin armarios en Extremadura”. Both Orgullo events were organized by Extremadura Entiende together with Fundación Triángulo Extremadura. The concentration in Cáceres took place at Foro de los Balbos while the concentration in Badajoz took place at Plaza de España. Both concentrations featured tables with information sharing, followed by a reading of a manifesto and then were followed by afterparties. The afterparty in Cáceres took place at El Corral de las Cigüeñas on Calle Cuesla de Aldana, 6. Neither Pride event had specific mentions of lesbians.

The documentary about lesbians in Extremadura, Los versos de Safo, premiered at the 2013 edition of Festival de Cine Gay y Lésbico de Extremadura held in November, with the first showing taking place at the Casa de la Mujer in Cáceres on 9 November. The film was directed by Diego González, and was produced by FanCineGay, Fundación Triángulo Extremadura and Dosde Extremadura Media.  It then went on to be shown at other events in the region and in talks organized by Fundación Triángulo.  

Lesbian history in the city then disappears again, re-appearing with Orgullo in 2015. That year, Price celebrations consisted of a number of different programming activities.  Of these, only two events on the program specific to a class in the LGTB collective, and both were about or for trans. There were no specific lesbian events or activities at Pride, a recurring theme in the city’s Orgullo activities. 

Lesbian history then goes mostly dark again until the late 2010s.  At that point, people would still stare at lesbian couples walking arm-in-arm or holding hands as they walked down the streets of the city like they had in earlier periods. Some of this was in part because lesbians were just not that visible in the city, and people were not used to seeing them going about their daily lives in the same way they would see straight couples doing so.  This continued to be the norm in the late 2010s and into the 2020s.  At the same time, the city of Cáceres saw a resurgence of hate speech aimed at homosexuals in the city. One of the consequences of that is that it prevented high school girls from coming out of the closet out of fear of social marginalization.

The Instituto de la Mujer (IMEX) in Extremadura was involved with Orgulla 2018 Caceres, with the motive of trying to make the LGBT population in that region more visible like they are in cities like Mérida. None of their objectives related to Orgullo were specific to lesbians or bisexual women. They did have a project funded called Teatro lésbico “Arriba o Abajo” along with two other projects including “Victor XX” and “Call Me By Your Name”. The budgeted €6000 for the event. Pride that year was a concentration that took place on 22 June 2018 at Parque del Rodeo de Cáceres, and included a reading of the manifesto.

Lesbian Visibility Day, created in 2008, began to be acknowledged in the city in 2019. As part of 2019 Lesbian Visibility Day activities in the region, a Cáceres-Plasencia women’s football derby took place, with the goal of increasing the sexual diversity of women in sport, on 31 March.  The teams participating were Club de Fútbol Femenino Cáceres and C.P. San Miguel Femenino.  Extremadura Entiende had been tweeting about the day since at least 2017, though they had not been involved with any known programming in the city honoring the day before that.

 In 2019, Extremadura Entiende looked 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.

Cáceres, Trujillo and Plasencia all created concejalías de Diversidad LGBTI in 2019 in their local townhalls following local elections that year. Cácares hosted Orgullo festivities in 2019. There were only three events on the program specific to a class in the LGTB collective, and all were about or for trans.

Comisión 19 de Marzo, Extremadura Entiende, Euforia, Fundación Triángulo all condemned feminism that excluded transwomen from them in a series of questions appearing on Euforia’s website on 17 May 2020 in honor of International Day against LGTBIQphobia, accusing women who believed in the reality of biological sex of supporting transphobia, upholding patriarchal norms and reducing women to their biological functions. None of the organizations mentioned lesbians or homosexuals as part of the LGTBIQ+ despite being asked about in relation to TERFs, and none specifically supported lesbians rights to be exclusively same-sex attracted.

Despite saying lesbians need to accept penis earlier that year, Extremadura Entiende were a 2020 candidate for the Premios San Pedro de Alcántara awarded by the Diputación Provincial de Cáceres for their project Cáceres Visible.

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 Diputación Provincial de Cáceres published a Declaración Institucional in 2021 in connection to the celebration of Orgullo in the city. There was only one mentions to any specific class inside the LGTB group, and it was about trans. There were no mentions of either sex class in the statement.

Women

Sisi Cáceres Rojo is a feminist activist and was president of Extremadura Entiende.

Cáceres had difficulty coming out of the closet, and was unable to do so until she was a 41-year-old. She has a son. Cáceres became involved with Extremadura Entiende after that, and it allowed her to better understand feminism and feminist activism. Part of the reason she remained in the closet for so long was because her partner did not want to be visibly out. On 24 October 2015, she was first elected the president of Extremadura Entiende for a two-year term. She remained in the role until 2019, when she then became the organization’s technical coordinator.

Kathy Sánchez is a lesbian from El Salvador. Her story was told as part of the history of resistance exhibition organized by the Fundación Triángulo Extremadura in August 2021. Born around 1990 in San Martín in the capital district of El Salvador, she realized she was a lesbian when she was a 12-year-old. After confessing this to her father, she was mistreated and rejected by her family after conversion therapy failed to work. Her mental health deteriorated and she tried to commit suicide twice. When her sexual orientation became known in her barrio, Sánchez decided to flee to protect her life. She managed to save some money and bought an airplane ticket to Madrid-Barajas, and from there onwards to Talavera de la Reina where she had an acquaintance named Manoli who provided her with a new and accepting family. She also was supported locally by Fundación Triángulo in Caceres, attending their events and growing her support network.

Read

Poesías by Carolina Coronado is a Spanish language 1923 reprint of a collection of poems by a Sappho inspired writer. There are several other editions and compilations available in Spanish. There are a few English language translations, but these editions are difficult to purchase. Collections of her poems were first were printed in Madrid in 1843. There were published again in Madrid in 1848, 1848, 1852, 1900, 1953, 1979, 1983, 1991, 20001. They were also published in San Fernando in 1850, in Barcelona in 1946, in Mérida in 1986, 1993, 1999, Badajoz in 2001, 2003 and 2017, Dueñas in 2003, Córdoba in 2009, and Cáceres in 2010.

See

Calle Gloria Fuertes is a street in the municipality named in honor of Gloria Fuertes. Fuertes was a poet and member of the Generación del 50, the first post-war generation of Spanish writers. She was a lesbian and feminist, and an important one in Francoist Spain at a time when the regime demanded conformity to strict ideological gender roles.

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.

El Periódico Extremadura, located at Calle Doctor Marañón 2, is a newspaper publisher covering regional news. The newspaper was founded in 1923 in Cáceres, and has published uninterrupted since. In 1984, the newspaper opened offices in other cities around Extremadura. In 1999, they also started publishing digitally. El Periódico Extremadura ran an article by Roberto González and José María Núñez Blanco in 1995 titled “Ser homosexual en Extremadura”. It was the first article by the publication to look at the lives of homosexuals in the region. They have subsequently published a number of articles about lesbians, lesbian visibility day, Orgullo and other LGTB topics.

La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Extremadura is located at Avenida de las Letras, s/n.  It was founded in 1973 and is the inly university in Extremadura offering a degree in law. T-Entiendo y Triangulo Juventud organized the second edition of Forum LGBT at the faculty, with PP, PSOE, IU and UPyD participating in a debate about same-sex marriage, the gender identity law, and education and citizenship.

Facultad de Filosofía y letras de Cáceres, located at Avenida de las Letras, s/n, was founded in 1974 as part of the old Faculty of Philosphy.  It hosted the presentation “La homosexualidad en las artes literarias” by Mario Jiménez on 19 March 2009 as part of the T-Entiendo y Triangulo Juventud organized Forum LGBT 2009.

Fundación Triángulo Extremadura, originally located at Calle Obispo Segura Sáez, 15, Bajo B in Caceres, is the regional headquarters for the national organization. Fundación Triángulo Extremadura was founded in 1997. Its purpose was to advocate politically in defense of LGBT rights in the region.

In 1999, Fundación Triángulo Extremadura successfully lobbied to have the blood donation rules by Servicio Extremeño de Salud be changed to no longer exclude homosexual and bisexual men just because they are homosexual and bisexual. This did not impact lesbian and bisexual women as they were not viewed as being at elevated risk to donate blood to begin with.

Silvia Tostado became the president of Fundación Triángulo Extremadura in 2019. This was a significant moment because of the first time in the region’s history, the two main LGBT organizations in it are led by lesbian women.

Comisión 19 de Marzo, Extremadura Entiende, Euforia, Fundación Triángulo all condemned feminism that excluded transwomen from them in a series of questions appearing on Euforia’s website on 17 May 2020 in honor of International Day against LGTBIQphobia, accusing women who believed in the reality of biological sex of supporting transphobia, upholding patriarchal norms and reducing women to their biological functions. None of the organizations mentioned lesbians or homosexuals as part of the LGTBIQ+ despite being asked about in relation to TERFs, and none specifically supported lesbians rights to be exclusively same-sex attracted.

The foundation has hosted events that featured lesbians, including an August 2021 exhibition titled, “Stories of resistance.” Among the stories told was that of Kathy Sánchez, a lesbian who fled El Salvador for Spain because of persecution based on her sexual orientation. The I Jornadas de Visibilidad Lésbica de Extremadura were held in 2008. The event was organized by Fundación Triángulo and Extremadura Entiende.

Extremadura Entiende, located at Avenida de España, 9, was founded in 2008 in Mérida as an association for lesbians, transpeople and bisexual women in Extremadura to give LGBT women their own space. Some early members were very closeted and paid the membership fee in cash so there would not be a bank transaction showing membership. The organization included atheists and Christian women. The group had 32 members in 2017, most living in Badajoz or Cáceres. Sisi Cáceres Rojo was the association’s president in from 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.

Extremadura Entiende mentioned Lesbian Visibility Day on their Twitter account on 26 April 2017, using the hashtag #DiaVisibilidadLesbica.

Casa de la Mujer de Cáceres, located at Ronda de San Francisco, 9, is an open space for citizens to use, and is a reception space for the protection of women who have been victims of domestic violence. It was founded in May 1985 as Cáceres el Centro Regional de Atención a la Mujer (CRAM). In December 1991, Dirección General de la Mujer was created. Casa de la Mujer de Cáceres was restructured to the three large spaces it has today on 8 March 1997. Jornadas Estatales de Políticas Lésbicas por parte de la FELGTB took place from 1 – 3 April 2011 at the Casa de la Mujer de Cáceres. The event was organized by Extremadura Entiende with support from FELGTB, and was attended by consejera de Igualdad y Empleo Pilar Lucio. The motto for the conference was “Not one step back”. Topics discussed at the conference included family, sexual health and issues faced by lesbians in rural areas. Transwomen were included in the conference as a type of lesbian.

El calor del Té, located at Calle Roso de Luna, 23, was a coffee shop that opened around 2015 and closed in mid-2019. As part of the 2019 International Women’s Labor Day events, it hosted ‘Conversatorio Feminista’ on 1 March 2019. The event was organized by Red Feminista de Extremadura, Extremadura Entiende and Chrysallis, with Carmen Ibarlucea and Sisi Cáceres Rojo among the speakers.

Comité Ciudadano Anti-sida de la Comunidad Extremeña (CAEX), located at Calle Maluquer, 10, 1ª D, was the major AIDS / HIV association in Extremadura in the 2010s. For lesbians with AIDS or looking for information on AIDS prevention, it would have been one of the most important organizations in the region.

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Alcuéscar, Aliseda, Almoharín, Cabezuela del Valle, Cáceres, Casar de Cáceres, Escurial, Hervás, Jaraíz de la Vera, Jarandilla de la Vera, Logrosán, Malpartida de Cáceres, Miajadas, Navaconcejo, Navalmoral de la Mata, Pizarro, Plasencia, Torrejoncillo, Trujillo, Valencia de Alcántara

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