A lot happened on the first day of parliament in Spain when newly elected lawmakers arrived in Spain’s lower chamber to take their seats and be sworn in.
Not least, five Catalan separatist leaders, currently in jail and on trial for their role in Catalonia’s failed bid for independence, swore to respect the Spanish constitution – the same constitution they are accused of having violated with their independence push — even as they vowed to remain faithful to the separatist cause.
But it was an icon of a little laughing rainbow ghost that stole the show.
The story behind the icon that was emblazoned on the T-shirts of two Socialist deputies as they strolled into Congress to take their seats on Tuesday is a modern fable, an epic example of how a bigoted attempt to stem gay activism actually fuelled it – and all thanks to twitter.
The symbol of a laughing ghost in the rainbow colours first appeared in a now infamous tweet by far right political party VOX on the morning of election day with the slogan: Let the battle commence.
— VOX ?? (@vox_es) April 28, 2019
The tweet pictured Aragorn – from Lord of The Rings – preparing to do battle with those issues that, in the philosophy of VOX, threaten Spain; immigration, feminists, abortion, Islam, Catalan nationalism, communists, left-wing media, and of course, the LGBT community.
And it chose to depict that community with a grinning, smiley-eyed ghost shape sporting rainbow colours.
Several things happened after that tweet. Firstly Viggo Mortenssen, the actor who played Aragorn in the film version of the J.R.R. Tolkien and who is based in Madrid, slammed the party over its use of his most famous role to promote their far-right ideas.
And instantly a new star was born: Gaypser.
The icon quickly took on a life of its own, with the LGTB community taking it to their hearts and making it their own – dubbing it Gaysper after Casper the Friendly Ghost.
Gayser even made the difficult leap from the twittersphere into high politics when the icon appeared emblazoned on the chests of two Socialists MPs as they strolled in to take their seats on Tuesday.
Photographers snapped the moment the icon came face to face with its creator – or at least the leader of the party that made it famous – Santiago Abascal of Vox, the party which enters Spain’s parliament for the first time after winning 24 seats.
It was a gift for twitter jokers.
— María Rodríguez (@maria_daphnia) May 21, 2019