The ultimate guide to Madrid Gay Pride 2016

From a 2 million-strong parade to fiestas across the city, the Madrid Gay Pride Festival 2016 promises to be one of the best yet. The Local takes a look at the highlights.

The ultimate guide to Madrid Gay Pride 2016
Photo: Missiz Me/Flickr.

This week, Madrid's getting ready to celebrate one of the biggest LGBTQ pride festivals in the world. From June 29th – July 3rd, rainbow flags will be waving all around the Spanish capital as the city celebrates the eleventh anniversary of gay marriage in Spain with a parade, parties, and a whole lot of pride. 

Whether gay, straight, or bi, all locals and tourists are welcome to come together for one of the world's largest and most inclusive fiestas.

Music (Wednesday June 29th – Sunday July 3rd) 

madrid gay pride music
Photo: Juan Medina/Flickr.

Spanish and internationally famous artists will take the stage at various locations across the city this weekend: Plaza de España, Puerta de Alcalá, Plaza de Chueca, Plaza del Rey, and Puerta del Sol. This year's highlights include artists the likes of Regina do Santos, Amistades Peligrosas, and a swing machine orchestra.

Inauguration of Plaza Pedro Zerolo (Wednesday June 29th, 8:30 pm)

pedro zerolo
Pedro Zerolo in 2011. Photo: Juanjo Zanabria Masaveu/Flickr.

This festival will kick off by inaugurating Plaza Pedro Zerolo, a plaza near Cibeles recently named after one of the biggest advocates for LGBT rights in Spanish history who passed away last year.

Stiletto Race (Thursday June 30th, 6 p.m.)

Photo: AFP

The famous race, now a classic and one of the festival's highlights every year, will probably be your one and only opportunity to see drag queens racing each other in high heels down Calle de Pelayo in Chueca.

Mr Gay Pride 2016 (Friday July 3rd, 10 pm)


Candidates from across the country will compete for the coveted title, up for grabs at Puerta del Sol this Friday.

The Parade (Saturday July 2nd) 

madrid gay pride parade
Photo: Jose María Mateos/Flickr.

This Saturday, an estimated two million people from all over Madrid, Spain, and the rest of the world will take to the streets of the capital for the biggest pride parade in Europe, joining floats from dozens of different associations. Starting at Atocha station, the parade will march north through the centre of Madrid down to the Plaza de Colón.

The Grand Finale and Closing Party (Sunday July 3, 10:30 pm) 

madrid gay pride music
Photo: Barcex/Flickr.

Plaza del Rey will be packed with performances and contests until the early hours of Monday for one last fiesta as the festival draws to a close.


Six reasons why Spain should be proud of its LGBT record

With Madrid's pride celebrations in full swing, The Local takes a look at Spain's record with equal rights for members of the LGBT community.

Six reasons why Spain should be proud of its LGBT record
Pride celebrations in Barcelona, 2019. Photo: AFP.

1. A history of equal marriage rights

Between the legalization of gay marriage on June 30th 2005 and 2016, there were almost 40,000 gay marriages in Spain. In this respect, Spain was way ahead of other countries, legalizing same-sex marriage nine years before the UK and ten before the US. In the first full year after the legalization, 2006, 4,313 same-sex couples were married.

2. Starting a family

While other countries struggle with the issue of adoption by same-sex couples, it has been possible in Spain for years. On top of this, a children born by in vitro fertilization in Spain can be recognized as the child of the biological mother’s same-sex partner.

Photo: Depositphotos

3. Support and recognition for the trans community

It was as early as 2007 that a Law passed to allow people in Spain to change their name and gender without the need for judicial procedures or surgeries. The right to modify one’s gender on the Civil Registry also became possible with the Gender Identity law of 2007, although it has been pointed out that the process could be less restrictive.

As well as this, although Spanish is a gendered language, it is not uncommon for gender-neutral modifications of words, for example trading 'amigos' or 'amigas' for 'amigxs'. 

4. Amazing Pride Celebrations

Spain is home to some of the world’s biggest and most vibrant pride celebrations. As well as parades in Barcelona, Sevilla and Valencia, Madrid’s pride festival is the biggest is Europe, with the parade being expected to attract around 2 million people this weekend.

Photo: AFP

5. Protection against discrimination

Although there is sadly no law against sexual-orientation based discrimination, over 85 percent of the Spanish population lives in an autonomous communities or region that offers broad protection against this type of discrimination, including Andalusia (2014/2018), Aragón (2018), Islas Baleares (2007), Cataluña (2014), Canarias (2014), Madrid (2016), Navarra (2017), Valencia (2018), Extremadura (2015), Galicia (2016) ), Basque Country (2012) and Murcia (2016).

6. Taking pride in the little things

Whether it may be the opening of a public retirement home specifically for gay people, or the adaption of traffic lights to celebrate pride, there are all kinds of measures in Spain to help work toward inclusion for all. In fact, a Pew Research Centre poll from 2013 indicated that 88 percent of Spaniards believe that society should accept homosexuality, compared to only 60 percent of people from the US.


By Alice Huseyinoglu

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Madrid Pride 2019