Pride BCN 2013
The memory of the first Pride festival I ever attended contains flashes of chains and black leather, and an image of diva Martha Wash joined by a writhing legion of go-go dancers. It was the Nineties and I was a mere lad of 19, interning in San Francisco. Being from a devout Judeo-Christian, Mexican-American family, all I could do was stare at the spectacle, somewhat dumbfounded. What surprised me most was the open display of unabashed freedom. While on the one hand, the sight of the hedonism that danced about me both enticed and perturbed the libidinous younger me, the empathetic, sociologist side of me was mesmerised by the way so many LGBTQI people had congregated together in celebration of something universal: civil liberties.
There is no way to disconnect Pride from the history of civil rights. One can trace the progress of where we’ve come since the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in 1969, while the demise of Franco gave rise to the ‘Movida’ movement and gay rights here in Spain. As a historian and a member of the community, I can’t ignore the fact that Spain has been one of the most open countries in granting complete and utter equality to gay men and women, an equality that now includes adoption. When I look at the hoops my fellow countrymen in the US have jumped through to gain a mere foothold in the government—and still only 10 states recognise the legality of gay marriage—I find that the word ‘Pride’ becomes ever more meaningful.
One of the main things the gay community desires is connection and acknowledgement from society. Inherently, everyone has the same desire: to feel and be connected to others, to love and be loved, and be allowed the freedom to express that love and who we are without fear of ridicule, insult or abuse. The past is rife with historical references to gay persecution and an unfortunate lack of gay rights. And the persecution and lack of rights continue to this day, explaining why Gay Pride celebrations are so important and necessary the world over.
So, this brings us to Pride 2013. Starting in Madrid in 1979, there have been yearly Pride events held in Spain, and our Mediterranean extravaganza is simply one of the best. Since its 2009 inception, Pride BCN has gotten bigger and better every year and, despite these troubled times, this year is sure to be no exception.
You will find Pride events around the city from June 19th to 30th with the festivities kicking off with cultural activities. On the evening of the 19th, the Antic Teatre hosts a Seventies-style cabaret called El Desplume (reservations essential), while other happenings during the fortnight include gallery exhibits, literary events and conferences.
The central focus of the festival will be the Village, located on Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina just off Plaça Espanya. It opens on June 28th, at 10am, with non-stop games, sports activities (including a six kilometre run through Montjuïc), kids’ activities and much more. Highlights include the Friday competitions, such as the High Heel Race and the Drag Queen contest, both of which have cash prizes. On Friday evening, there is a Foam Party on Avinguda Maria Cristina—dress accordingly!
The Pride Parade is on Saturday, June 29th starting at Plaça de les Tres Xemeneies, near Paral·lel metro. Preparations kick off at 4pm, while the actual parade gets going at 6pm; it will wind through local streets and end up at the Village. Saturday’s main post-parade event is the Pride Party, starting at 8pm with all manner of entertainment, including the Pride DJs, well into the early morning hours. All of this culminates on the final day, Sunday 30th, with Pride Street Market, held on Diputació between Villarroel and Casanova. Sunday is also Tibidabo Pride Day (midday to 9pm), so from the heart of the city to the mountains, love and pride will be all around.
This year’s Pride BCN theme is Besoterapia, so pucker up. Get out there and celebrate yourself, and then turn around and show that love to someone else, especially family, friends and pets. Don’t forget to keep that revolution of love going and be assured that it’s going to come right back to your gorgeous self. Peace!
Pride BCN is from June 19th to 30th. Click here for more information about Pride Barcelona.