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Madrid Goes Global

Madrid City Hall flies the LGBT rainbow with Pride.

Madrid City Hall flies the LGBT rainbow with Pride.

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Madrid is so well established as a beacon of pride that it comes as no surprise that it has been chosen to host World Pride 2017, following in the footsteps of Rome, Jerusalem, London, and Toronto in hosting the globe’s biggest celebration of the LGBT community.

Diversity on parade: the whole of Madrid joins in with the city’s annual LGBT Pride celebrations

Diversity on parade: the whole of Madrid joins in with the city’s annual LGBT Pride celebrations.

The bid from Spain’s capital was approved unanimously by the Interpride worldwide association of LGBT Pride organizers, paving the way for what promises to be a gigantic party from June 23rd to July 2nd, a time of year which guarantees sunshine and warm temperatures in Madrid. More than three million participants are expected in a city whose annual Pride parade is already one of the biggest and most vibrant in the world.

In 2016, Madrid Pride attracted 1.5 million people as the local and international LGBT communities mingled in a city that has taken the festival to its heart. Madrid epitomizes tolerant Spain, which has emerged as arguably the world’s leading country when it comes to acceptance of sexual identity. Last summer’s Pride Parade passed triumphantly in front of City Hall draped with the LGBT rainbow flag.

“Whoever you love, Madrid loves you,” is the World Pride 2017 slogan, rooted in the city’s open and tolerant outlook.

World Pride 2017 organizers emphasize that Madrid’s importance as an LGBT capital goes beyond Spain, with Latin American and other communities from around the world also having found their freedom in the city. In recent decades, Madrid has flung open its gates and is now a major meeting point for global cultures from Africa, the Americas, and Asia.

The Madrid Tennis Open 2016, held in late July by the GLTA Gay & Lesbian Tennis Association, was the first sporting event linked to World Pride 2017.

The Madrid Tennis Open 2016, held in late July by the GLTA Gay & Lesbian Tennis Association, was the first sporting event linked to World Pride 2017.

“Our aim for World Pride 2017 in Madrid is to use these bridges as tools to help spread the values of equality, respect, tolerance, freedom, and equal rights that we enjoy in Spain throughout the world. Madrid is an open door through which diversity can enter.”

Indeed, 2017 sees all roads leading to Madrid after the EPOA association of European Pride organizers decided that any city in the continent hosting World Pride will automatically be the designated EuroPride destination for that year. The upshot is that the Spanish capital will be hosting simultaneously the two biggest LGBT events in the world.

Madrid Pride always draws a massive crowd in sunny summer weather.

Madrid Pride always draws a massive crowd in sunny summer weather.

World Pride 2017 week starts with the Opening Ceremony on June 22nd, kicking off a week of activities ranging from sheer fun to the deadly serious question of LGBT rights. Key among the events being programmed is a three-day International Human Rights Conference (June 26th-28th), where LGBT activists and international experts will come together to work on concrete proposals to boost equality and tolerance around the globe.

The innovative Pride Park, a cultural and exhibition space, will provide a forum for LGBT associations and gay-friendly companies to engage with the public. The International Culture Festival also running parallel to Madrid 2017 will deliver a wealth of artistic experiences directly to revelers in the open air. Music, dance, theater, painting, and other plastic arts, poetry, and drama will invade the streets and squares of Chueca, Madrid’s downtown gay village, and beyond.

Spain is also a center of sporting prowess, of course, and there will be a distinctly athletic side to World Pride 2017. From badminton to martial arts, and swimming to tennis, tournaments and friendly competition will take place in the city’s excellent facilities. Finally, Madrid Pride never forgets its young or old participants: a program of activities for children and local residents will ensure that nobody feels left out.

In 2017 Madrid wants to share its values of diversity, tolerance, freedom, and equal rights with the rest of the world.

In 2017 Madrid wants to share its values of diversity, tolerance, freedom, and equal rights with the rest of the world.

After an exhilarating week of myriad activities in the elegant and safe environs of Madrid, three million people will throng together for the Pride Parade march to demand equal rights and enjoy a memorable celebration of diversity on Saturday July 1st. Every year multitudes snake a colorful path through Madrid along the city’s broad central boulevard past the Prado museum toward the statue of Columbus, but 2017 promises to be a record-breaking parade that participants can toast late into the night as central Madrid becomes one giant street party.

For those still standing, the Closing Ceremony on Sunday July 2nd will offer a final opportunity to revel before the World Pride baton is passed on to New York for 2019, a year which marks the 50th anniversary of the city’s Stonewall riots that sparked the first LBGT movements around the globe.

For more information visit www.esmadrid.com/lgbt.

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