Recoletos

See

Salamanca is a district in Madrid. According to the writings of Victorina Durán, the barrio was an important one for lesbians in the 1920s as it was a place where they could feel relaxed and more liberated. The barrio itself was created on the outskirts of Madrid in 1860 by the Marquis de Salamanca, starting with Calle Serrano. The project bankrupted him. The barrio up until the 1930s was one which had a mixture of different classes.

Café Granja El Henar, located at calle Alcalá, 40, was a meeting for Spanish intellectuals, politicians, journalists, writers, artists and teachers and hosted many tertulias during its prime. It opened in 1910 as a dairy that sold butter and cheeses, before converting to a specialist dairy in 1912. In 1924, keeping the same name, it changed its interior layout and decoration and relaunched as a modern cafe, that included a separate entrance for women to a tea salon. For lesbians, the cafe played an important role as it was one of only two major places outside private homes where they could participate in tertulias. The cafe also was home to a number of meetings of the Círculo Sáfico. The cafe survived the Civil War for a few years, but finally folded in 1948. The building it once was in is now occupied by the Ministerio de Educación.

Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Madrid is the bar association for lawyers in Madrid. It is located at Calle de Serrano, 9 y 11. Its history dates back to 1596 when it was founded by a group of thirty-seven lawyers who were part of the Court of Rey Felipe II. In 1924, Victoria Kent became its first woman in Spain to join the organization and the second female lawyer ever in the country. She would go on to be involved with important cases, including being the first female lawyer in the world to represent someone before a military tribunal.

Calle de Villanueva is where Elena Fortún lived starting in September 1900, when Fortún was a 14-year-old. The family’s move meant her father lived much further away from his mistress. Fortún was also no longer enrolled in school by the time she moved there as it was typical for girls to stop education by that point in order to prepare themselves for marriage. In 1904, Fortún’s father died and the family could no longer afford the high rent on their building. They moved to another place, down the street at Calle de Villanueva, 17.

Palacio de Biblioteca y Museos Nacionales is a neo-classical building located at Paseo de Recoletos, 20-22. It houses the Biblioteca Nacional de España and the Museo Arqueológico Nacional. The building construction began in 1866 and ended in 1892. The Biblioteca Nacional opened there on 16 March 1896. Prior to the building being put on the site, the site was a farm from which the nearby Calle del Prado draws its name. Among the works in the collection of the National Library are those of painter Marisa Roesset Velasco.

Sección Femenina, founded by Pilar Primo de Rivera before the start of the Civil War, ran an escuela de costuras on Calle del Villalar.  In addition to teaching dewing, the school instilled traditional values that women were expected to use in the home in service of their husbands, even if the teachers themselves were not necessarily married but working professionally as teachers. Contemporary researchers believe that conservative lesbians, who remained heavily closeted or open while ignored by the regime, were very involved politically gravitated towards Sección Feminina with several high-ranking members suspected of being lesbians.  How true some of that is  subject to some conjecture as rumors of homosexuality on the part of women were used to slur them and undermine their position.  Nonetheless, it was one of the few politically active pathways for gender non-conforming single women, a group that included lesbians, in the late 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

The 1996 Madrid pride march, called 1996 Día del Orgullo de Gays, Lesbianas y Transexuales, had a route from Puerta de Alcalá to Puerta del Sol. More than 2,000 people participated. The march included the first float. Several lesbian organizations participated including LSD, Feminista de Lesbianas, and Coletivos de Gays y Lesbianas.

Plaza de Colón is located at the intersection of three districts in Madrid, Chamberi, Centro and Salamanca. It was originally known as Plaza de Santiago, with the name changed in 1893 to honor Christopher Colombus. The plaza features a column with Columbus on top. On one edge of the plaza is where the world’s largest Spanish flag is flown. The 2018 Pride March followed the same route as previous years, starting at the Glorieta de Carlos V and ending at Plaza de Colón. Despite many prohibitions on marching put up by the city because of the pandemic, a much smaller scaled down Orgullo march took place on 3 July 2021 starting at the Glorieta de Carlos V and ending at Plaza de Colón. The focus of the march was on trans rights, vindicating LGBT organization efforts to get self-ID efforts put into law. It was organized by Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gais, Trans y Bisexuales (FELGTB), COGAM, Colectivo LGTB+ de Madrid and AEGAL among others. Organizers asked all attendees to practice social distancing and to wear masks.

Fernán Gómez Centro Cultural de la Villa, located at Plaza de Colón, 4, is a public cultural complex that includes contemporary art exhibition space, a theater, a dance space, and a music space. The space was inaugurated on 15 May 1977. Originally called Centro Cultural de la Villa de Madrid, the name was changed in 2007 to honor actor and author Fernando Fernán Gómez who died that year. On 14 May 2017, an exhibit of Gloria Fuentes work was opened to celebrate it in honor of the 100th anniversary of her birth.

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