Wednesday, May 18

Almeida stops subsidizing LGTBI Pride

The Government of José Luis Martínez-Almeida stops financially supporting the celebration of LGTBI Pride. MADO Madrid Orgullo has not received for the first time the subsidies that the municipal administration gave it, through Tourism (portfolio managed by the PP). In 2019 it was 500,000 euros.

This year, they only had 15,000 euros, taken ‘in extremis’ from the Vice Mayor’s Office (directed by Ciudadanos), to display a giant flag in Gran Vía that will not finally come out. AEGAL, organizer of the international event, regrets the lack of involvement of the Madrid City Council as a whole institution, explicitly alluding to the PP.

“Madrid Destino does not have any management or entrustment for Pride, it will be managed by some other area,” respond sources from the municipal company with competencies in Tourism from whose funds the aid to MADO came from until now. No one explains why they have withdrawn. The confirmation that this subsidy was not going to be given this year also came at the last minute, according to sources familiar with the organization. “We are not with the ideal City Council. The mayor has not addressed us and the PP seems to have no interest. We would have appreciated a greater involvement of the institution,” says the president of the Association of Companies and Professionals for Gays and Lesbians ( AEGAL), Alfonso Llopart.

AEGAL also denounces that the Community of Madrid has also left the subsidy it granted to MADO to zero, 150,000 euros in 2019 from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, according to the association. The Government led by Isabel Díaz Ayuso has not confirmed this point to Sources from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, headed by Marta Rivera de la Cruz, justify that AEGAL “made the request for sponsorship” on June 21, without sufficient margin to “attend to it administratively”, reports Fátima Caballero.

The collective that brings together LGTBI entrepreneurs in Madrid and organizes MADO every July was already in the crosshairs of Vox, an essential support for the municipal government. The far-right party demanded that PP and Ciudadanos withdraw the subsidy to AEGAL “as an opportunity to attract economic activity and shopping tourism to the city” before the pandemic broke out, but then the mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, did not relented. Councilor Aránzazu Cabello argued that “it was not an NGO.” The candidate in 2019 and current spokesperson for the Vox group, Javier Ortega Smith, assured in 2019, in the middle of the race to win the Mayor’s Office, that Vox would transfer Pride to the Casa de Campo.

The subsidies that were given until now are linked to the Tourism portfolios since Pride has become an international and commercial event that leaves a lot of money in the city. This commercialization of a rights-claiming party is criticized in some sectors, which organize the Critical Pride every year. From the City Council, historical organizations such as Cogam or the FELGTB annually receive a nominative grant -which this year was eliminated to be given by competition- which is also used in Pride week. It depends on the area of ​​Equality.

2021 was the first year that the Almeida government had the institutional management of Pride in its hands. In 2019, the new PP y Ciudadanos team arrived at the Palacio de Cibeles with everything organized. There were 15 days left for the date. Ciudadanos was not well received at that demonstration, which was attended by the vice mayor and Inés Arrimadas, for having accepted the support of the extreme right to form a government. Last year, not even a demonstration was held due to the complicated contagion situation in the city and the impossibility of receiving visitors. Although everything is still conditioned by the coronavirus, in this call there was more scope to organize outdoor events by controlling the capacity.

The initiatives of private promoters, organized in a stage attached to the Casa de Campo (Mad Beach Club) and in Ifema, have been canceled due to the health requirements of keeping the attendees seated, explains AEGAL. Still can’t dance on tracks. Yes, the proclamation in the Plaza de Pedro Zerolo and a demonstration without floats of three hours perimeter has been saved. To attend you must register. The more social side of this claim for the rights of the LGTBI collective has a more extensive agenda through round tables and talks organized by COGAM or the FELGTB and they do have municipal funding.

There will also be no flag on the façade of the Palacio de Cibeles, headquarters of the Madrid City Council. It is the second year that it has not been hung since the Government of Manuela Carmena began the tradition in 2015. The PP was never willing to show it. Almeida’s team justifies that the Supreme Court ruling that prevents placing unofficial flags in institutional buildings does not allow it. Ciudadanos, who accepted this argument last year in the face of criticism from LGTBI groups, has changed his position and tried in various ways to make the teaching visible.

So far it has not succeeded. The 700-meter rainbow flag that the Pride organization prepared for this Saturday in Gran Vía, financed with 15,000 euros from the City Council, will not finally go out on the street. The organization justifies that it requested the permits late because it had not confirmed the aid due to the lack of involvement of the entire corporation but in the Government Delegation they assure that no one had communicated the act.