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HOMOPHOBIA

Sculpture of two boys kissing destroyed ahead of Spain’s Fallas festival

Preparations for Valencia’s emblematic Las Fallas festival have been marred by an act of vandalism with an apparent homophobic motive.

Sculpture of two boys kissing destroyed ahead of Spain's Fallas festival
The sculpture’s premature destruction illustrates, somewhat ironically, the problem it was looking to portray. Photo: Twitter

Preparations for Valencia’s emblematic Las Fallas festival have been tarnished by an act of vandalism with an apparent homophobic motive.

A sculpture of two boys, one black and the other white, depicted exchanging a kiss on the cheek, was found destroyed in the depot holding the so-called ninots, the name given to these traditionally satirical papier-mâché sculptures.

It had been sculpted like many others to be paraded and then set ablaze during Valencia’s famous Las Fallas festival, a week-long celebration held every year to honor Saint Joseph, the patron saint of the carpenter’s guild.

Juan Rabadán, president of the Las Fallas commission, told Spanish radio broadcaster Cadena Ser that the vandals ripped the head off one of the boys and part of the body of the other.

Rabadán has called it a premeditated “homophobic” act of vandalism, stressing that the trespassers came prepared to jump the security fence.

Tweet by local LGBT group calling for Las Fallas to be “more respectful when it comes to diversity”. 

The sculpture had actually been selected by the association that built it as the one they wished to keep for posterity, as is traditional with the favourite ninots of the festival.

It was also a candidate to the Premio Arco Iris (The Rainbow Prize), given to the sculptures that best depict sexual diversity in Las Fallas.

IN PICTURES: Las Fallas – Valencia's spectacular festival of fire

Valencia’s most emblematic fiesta has a distinctly political tone, especially when it comes to the hundreds of giant wooden, cardboard, or papier-mâché sculptures built to illustrate Spanish society and its issues.

Even though the event is characterized by the burning of the majority of these ornate and very telling ninots, the sculpture’s premature destruction illustrates, somewhat ironically, the problem it was looking to portray.

Spain remains one of the world’s most gay friendly countries according to studies and it is a pioneer in gay marriage.

READ ALSO: Spain to open first gay old people's home

 

HOMOPHOBIA

Youth admits vicious gay attack story that shocked Spain was a lie

A young man who claimed eight masked assailants carved a homophobic slur on his buttocks in Madrid in broad daylight, sparking an outcry, has admitted he lied, Spain's Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

Youth admits vicious gay attack story that shocked Spain was a lie
Photo: Curto de la Torre/AFP

The 20-year-old told police he was attacked on Sunday at the entrance to his apartment building in the trendy Malasana district near the Spanish capital’s lively gay heighbourhood.

He claimed the assailants cut his lower lip with a knife then scored the word “maricón”, meaning “faggot” into his buttocks, while spewing homophobic attacks.

But on Wednesday he “decided to rectify his initial statement and said the injuries allegedly inflicted had been consensual,” an interior ministry source told AFP.

The alleged attack came just two months after a young gay man was beaten to death in northern Spain in another suspected homophobic attack and it drew a sharp rebuke from Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

The premier said there was “no place for hatred” and he called an urgent meeting for Friday of Spain’s commission against hate crimes.

Leftist parties and rights groups also accused far-right party Vox of encouraging homophobic attacks with its vocal opposition to gay rights.

News that the young man, who has not been identified, had changed his story sparked a flurry of reaction.

Equality Minister Irene Montero tweeted that “hate crimes against LGBTI people rose 43 percent during the first half of 2021” over the same period last year.

She urged people not to focus on the “tree which hides the forest”.

Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said it was “anecdotal” that the man had changed his story “because hate crimes have risen”.

“And obviously there is public conduct, online behaviour which encourage hate crimes, lets not trivialise,” he told private television La Sexta.

But Javier Giner, a film director and gay activist, lashed out at the youth, saying he had done “unnecessary and gratuitous harm to all victims of homophobic attacks and to everyone who fights to end them.”

Two months ago Samuel Luiz, 24, was beaten to death near a nightclub in the northern city of Coruna in an attack denounced by Sanchez as “savage and merciless”. It brought huge crowds onto the streets in protest.

A protest called for Wednesday night in central Madrid in response to the supposed attack would still take place, organisers said. 

READ MORE: Is Spain really a tolerant country when it comes to LGBTQ+ people?

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