4 major Pride celebrations in Spain

June is the month of the LGBT+ Pride, and in most parts of the world, people go out to the streets to protest, as well as taking part in more festive events. The reason behind it is clear: to keep fighting for the rights of a marginalised community whose oppression has yet to be put an end to, and celebrate the rights which have already been conquered. The Stonewall riots, regarded as one of the first acts of insurrection in the movement for LGBT+ rights, are commemorated every 28th of June. The riots originated in the Stonewall Inn, an LGBT+ bar in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood in New York, when a violent police raid was deliberately conducted against members of the community. In response, they rose up and began to stage a series of protests and demonstrations, which spread throughout the world in the following years. These are the roots of the Pride Month we know today, which has a history in Spain too.

Madrid, a leading city

A fountain lit up with rainbow colours

Madrid gets dressed in colours during Pride. | Shutterstock

The WorldPride held in Madrid in 2017 turned out to be Spain’s most popular Pride celebration, and it was largely acclaimed all over the world. Held between late June and early July, the 28th June being the central day, Spain’s capital city gets dressed in music, colours, events and vindications of rights. Two million people from all over the globe have already joined Madrid’s massive Pride. The neighbourhood of Chueca is the heart of the celebration, which still preserves the sense of the protest, but is enjoyed by many in a festive way. The main event in Madrid is the state demonstration, a two-and-a-half-kilometre march starting in Atocha and ending in Colón. We also have exhibitions, dramatic readings, roundtable events… It’s obvious that people in Madrid are thoroughly committed to celebrate Pride.

Barcelona, the very first one

A view of colourful rainbow umbrellas and balloons

Barcelona during Pride. | Shutterstock

Barcelona was the first Spanish city to imitate the protests happening in the United States. In June 1977, about 4000 people gathered there to march for the rights of the LGBT+ community. The authorities forcibly dispersed the demonstration, but it planted a key seed for the movement. Nowadays, Barcelona’s parade is among the most massive Pride celebrations in Europe, and the activities held during this week are of great social value.

Just like in Madrid’s Pride, in Barcelona we can attend several speeches, seminars and roundtable events discussing relevant matters related to the LGBT+ community. For instance, in 2021 the central theme was “fighting the stigma of HIV”. All in all, Barcelona’s Pride is considered the main event in the land by the Mediterranean Sea.

Bilbao, the most peculiar parade

A rainbow flag in a typical Basque street

Bilbao’s streets during Pride. | Shutterstock

In Bilbao, the traditional float parades are substituted by boats sailing down the river Nervión. The Gay Pride Bilbao is defined as a sociocultural festival promoting diversity and LGBT+ visibility. Apart from the typical events, it offers a wide range of activities taking place in cultural and sports facilities, along with official seminars. As it can seen in the association’s webpage, celebrating diversity through Basque culture is an essential part of the event, and one can even take a guided tour of the LGBT+ community’s history in Bilbao. Hence, the parade might be the most eye-catching activity of this Pride, but it’s definitely not the only one.

Maspalomas, a different Pride

A colourful parade, and someone with wings and the rainbow flag in the middle

2018 Pride in Maspalomas. | Ybridex AngeloDemon, Flickr

Pride in Maspalomas is quite different, mainly because it’s held in May. This way, they attract foreign people who might prefer to spend June in the Iberian Peninsula. The streets of this city in the Canary Islands get crowded with entertainment, shows and all kinds of performances. One of the aims of this Pride event is to raise money for different causes that affect people in the LGBT+ community, like the fight against the stigmatisation of HIV. Pride in Spain has, in some aspects, become a celebration, but there are still many rights to fight for, during Pride and every other month of the year. 

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