Barcelona’s Pride Parade countdown begins among a divided LGBT population.
Unlike the rest of Spanish cities, Barcelona has two Gay Pride marches. The first LGBT demonstration in the Catalan capital was held in 1977, being one of its kind in the country.
The event took place in the very middle of transition to democracy after dictator Francisco Franco’s death in 1975, still being an illegal and clandestine event, as laws banning homosexuality were not overturned until 1979.
It was the first demonstration of what is known today as “Manifestació per l’Alliberament” (LGBT Liberation March), which has kept its traditional rebellious essence ever since, taking place annually on the closest Saturday to June 28, known as Comissió Unitària 28 de Juny.
This year’s edition, to be held on June 28, will focus on fighting against HIV/AIDS stigma and the discrimination against HIV positive individuals within the Public Health System.
However, a new PrideFest was introduced in Barcelona in 2009 called Pride Barcelona. Organized by Acegal-Catalan association of LGBT focused companies — it’s a more festive and leisurely event. Besides a parade, it also includes a street fair and other activities.
When the event was founded it divided the city’s LGBT community, splitting over which type of festival was more appropriate and representative regarding the actual day-to-day reality and needs of the community.
The situation worsened in 2013, when both marches took place on the same day at the same time, making people decide which one to attend. Some LGBT organizations criticized Barcelona Pride due to its lack of political agenda. The same will happen this year, as the start times for both marches are 30 minutes a part.
More than 250,000 people are expected to attend this year’s Barcelona Pride, which will be celebrating its sixth year, to be held at Av. Reina Maria Cristina. It will run from June 19 to June 29, with the main dates being June 28-30. Thirty LGBT associations will take part. The event is seeking to become the most relevant Pride celebration throughout the Mediterranean.
The LGBT Liberation March, will take place on June 28 starting at 6 p.m. running along Av. Paral-lel. A manifesto will be read at 8 p.m. Besides the Pride Parade itself, other highlights include cultural expositions, such as cinema and art, competitions like a heel and a Drag Queen race and workshops addressing both kids and adults, as well as music performances. Participation is free.
Barcelona Pride expects an economic impact of approximately 16 million euros. Each year the pride festival attracts numerous foreign visitors including Americans, Germans and British. Many of them might come back for the Circuit Festival, another consolidated and famous LGBT event in Barcelona running August 6-17. That event is meant to be entirely for leisure and entertainment. More than 70,000 visitors are expected, most of them (more than 80 percent) being foreigners.
The LGBT Liberation March will also feature a manifesto and a party in pl. Universitat.
Despite attempts to not overlap both parades, Barcelona’s LGBT community will be divided once more regarding which march to attend.
Visit PrideBarcelona.org/en/ for more information.