From 23 June to 2 July 2017 Madrid will host the next edition of World Pride, themed 'Viva la Vida', and welcome an estimated 3 million visitors from all over the world. It will be even more massive because exceptionally Euro Pride and World Pride will be rolled into one single event.
It will be a great way to celebrate an important year for Spain: the 40th anniversary of the first LGBT rights demonstration in Barcelona, when a few thousands of people, mostly trans people and transvestites, marched along the Ramblas. The participants got heckled and verbally attacked by the passers-by. In fact homosexuality was still a crime in those times and Spain had been under a ferocious fascist dictatorship until the death of Franco in 1975.
This highlights the massive change in the attitudes towards the LGBT community in Spain over the last forty years: today the country has one of the most advanced legislations - same sex marriage has been on the books for over a decade now, It has also one of the highest level of approval for LGBT people in the world: in a survey a few years ago a massive 88% of the Spaniards believed that homosexuality should be accepted by society. That's pretty impressive!
A bit of History
Madrid organised its first Pride in 1978 - in fact it was a very low key affair, just a short march between Plaza Santo Domingo and Sol, hardly 200 metres, but even that short distance must have proven truly arduous for the 4,000 courageous people who took part.
However since that year and with the exception of 1980, every late June has seen an increasingly popular Pride in the Spanish capital. In 1996 the first float was entered, organised by the Shangay magazine, still an indispensable source of LGBT information about Madrid and its community. Progressively the march became not just an occasion to protest for equal rights but an opportunity to party and celebrate diversity.
The big change happened in 2007 when Madrid organised Europride. With the city gleaming after having being the third country in the world to legalise same sex marriage after the Netherlands and Belgium in 2005, the city welcomed a massive crowd of over 2 million people.
Since them Madrid Pride has become a massive meeting point for the LGBT community not just in Europe but worldwide. In fact it is said to be the biggest after the San Francisco Pride parade!
What to expect for World Pride 2017?
Estimates are for a huge 3 million participants to the Pride weekend. The details are now stariing to come through and it is expected to be an amazing event and anyone planning to attend would be wise to start thinking about securing accommodation and flights as soon as they become available, to avoid inflated prices and possible disappointment. Apart from the unmissable parade, shows and parties on pride week there will be a Human Rights Conference, focusing especially on those countries repressing homosexuality, a large sports event and many cultural events in the weeks leading to the big finale.
It has been confirmed that many events will take place in the Chueca neighbourhood and in other squares in the centre of Madrid, after initial reports that put this in doubt due to safety reasons. Other main stages around town will be at Puerta de Sol, Plaza de España and Plaza de Colon. In fact, there will be an awful lot going on in town in the ten days before the finale - art exhibitions, LGBT cultural shows, film & theatre. There will be a massive stage/performance space at the Puerta de Alcalá, which is where the parade generally ends. It has also been confirmed that there will be a Pride Village, hosting vendors, LGBTIQ and human rights worldwide associations. There will also be many sporting and cultural events throughout the two weeks period to keep everyone entertained. We will update this post as more details become available throughout the winter 2016-17.
Something to look forward to. We can't wait!
For information & programme of events: World Pride Site
Check our Madrid Gay Guide