Monday, August 15

Pride takes back the street to stand up to the threat to LGTBI rights: “We are not going back to the closet”

More than ever this year, the LGTBI collective is calling to take to the streets to try to stop attempts to set back LGTBI rights. It is a reactionary wave with echoes globally, with its sights set on people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, but also women, feminist conquests or migrant lives. Two years after the outbreak of the pandemic that changed the world, one of the most massive Prides in the world, that of Madrid, returns this Saturday to take to the streets to face threats, now without a mask and without distances, and under the motto “ Facing Hate: Visibility, Pride and Resilience”.

Empar Pineda, lesbian because yes

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It is hate speech that they have on target. The stigmatization, the pointing, the stereotype that sounds like past and dark times and that has resonated again in some political and social sectors. Spain, where same-sex marriage has been legal for 17 years, is one of the countries with the greatest acceptance of the LGTBI community, but it has been falling for two years in the annual ranking published by the European organization ILGA. The turning point came with the murder of Samuel Luiz just a year ago, which lit the fuse of the mobilization against LGBTIphobic violence.

Shortly before the demonstration began, the organizing groups wanted to launch a strong message against “those who do not love us and reject us, against those who want to eliminate the rights achieved”, said Uge Sangil, president of the State Federation of Lesbians, Gais, Trans and Bisexuals (FELGTB). Among them, he has appointed the mayor of Madrid José Luis Martínez Almeida, who has ruled out hanging the rainbow flag this year at the Cibeles headquarters and whom the opposition accuses of boycotting Pride: “Until he makes public policies for the LGTBI collective , this will not be the town hall of all, all and all”, added Sangil, who has also named the president Isabel Díaz Ayuso and her “alliance” with the extreme right in the community.

Along the same lines, Carmen García de Merlo, president of COGAM, has expressed herself, who has recalled that the Pride demonstration has been taking to the streets in Madrid since 1979. “We continue, here, we continue forward. We are not going to allow anyone, not even the institutions, to defeat us. If they don’t hang the flag, we already carry it. Without visibility we are nothing. No one is going to put us back in the closet.” They have been joined this year by the European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, who is also participating in a demonstration with which “to celebrate the achievements of the LGTBI community, but also to protest to ensure that no one is left behind”, she asserted minutes before .

Neither in Castilla y León this year has the Parliament building been illuminated with the colors of the rainbow due to the refusal of its president, Carlos Pollán (VOX). Precisely from there, specifically from a town in Salamanca, come José Antonio and Aritz, a married couple of gay men who come year after year “to continue fighting for equality and defending rights that we don’t want to lose,” says the first of them. Both dressed in rainbow-colored T-shirts, patiently wait for the march to begin. The only editions that have failed were the previous two, those of the pandemic. “There is a lot of desire,” says Aritz, who regrets having a party in the government of his community like Vox, which “ensures that relationships should only be maintained to procreate” or “that Pride does not represent everyone.”

Speeding up the process of the so-called ‘Trans Law’ is another of the demands of the afternoon. The Government sent the regulation to Congress on June 27, at the gates of Pride, but the groups demand rights “for all, everyone and all” and they ask that the gender self-determination contemplated in the text be extended to all minors, that the identity of non-binary people be recognized and “the rights of migrant people be guaranteed”. They also bet on a union of struggles against the “division” advocated by the extreme right: “Our enemies will never be migrants or feminists, together we will defeat hatred,” they warn.