Fourth successive year
For the fourth year in a row, Gay Pride Torremolinos takes centre stage in the coastal Andalusian town from the end of May to the start of June. The LGBTI celebration, which last year attracted between 30,000 and 45,000 visitors, gets underway tomorrow (25th May) and the party doesn’t stop until Sunday 2nd June!
Gay Pride Torremolinos
Perhaps the jewel in the crown of the nine-day festival is its colourful main parade, which takes place tomorrow at 6:30pm; setting off from City Hall and winding its way through the streets before ending in Plaza de la Nogalera.
Besides this extravaganza, there is a comprehensive programme of events and all-round entertainment planned for the week. Guest DJ sessions, live music concerts, appearances from domestic and international celebrities, drag acts and beach/pool parties make the festival an unmissable week of hedonism on the Costa del Sol’s sunny shores.
The hope is that this year’s Gay Pride Torremolinos is going to be bigger than ever before. Organisers expect the total number of visitors to the beach destination, hotel occupancy and overall tourist spend by members of the LGBTI community to increase on last summer, when an estimated 15 million euros was pumped into local businesses.
Chueca on the beach
The coastal resort of Torremolinos is referred to in the gay community as “Chueca on the beach”. Chueca is the Madrid neighbourhood widely known as the Spanish capital’s gay district, which gained its liberal, extravagant, yet inclusive, reputation back in the 1980s and 1990s with the Movida madrileña.
The Movida madrileña was the name given to the period of time after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco where a liberal counter-cultural movement sprang up in Spain’s capital, giving life to a new expression of freedom and the creation of a Spanish identity that had been suppressed under the dictatorship.
For the first time in over half a decade, gay Spaniards were not persecuted and did not live in fear of their sexuality. Instead, difference began to be not just tolerated and accepted, but celebrated.
And it was in the Madrid barrio of Chueca that this celebration was most concentrated. Openly gay business owners and LGBT-friendly bars and clubs became commonplace for the first time in the neighbourhood, and this movement has only gone from strength to strength in the decades since.
Why am I taking you down this trip through memory lane? Well, for one thing, it’s important to know the history and roots of every celebration. You might say even more so when that story involves battling oppression and being able to come out the other side and establish an identity and equal place in society for what is a gay-friendly Spain.
On the other hand, and more specifically to do with this week’s festivities, the claim that Torremolinos is the “coastal Chueca” is a marker of just how important Gay Pride Torremolinos has become for the LGBTI community and is the source of great, well, pride!
Will you be going to Gay Pride? Contrary to what you might have heard, you don't have to be LGBTI to enjoy the celebrations, so I'd recommend heading down there for the sights and sounds of the fiesta, whatever your age, gender or orientation... and let me know in the comments if you want any further info!