Madrid will be the world’s proudest city in 2017. For the first time, the Spanish capital will serve as the host for the international LGBTQ World Pride event, as well as for Euro Pride. “It’s very important, because it’s never been done before – it’s the first time these two events are being celebrated in the same city,” says Juan Carlos Alonso, president of World Pride Madrid 2017’s planning committee. Last Sunday, Alonso and Javier Garrigues, Spanish consul in Amsterdam, received the baton of Euro Pride from the Netherlands on August 7. In July, Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena officially took over the responsibility of World Pride 2017.
While the capital is making its debut as World Pride host, it’s the second time that Madrid has hosted its European cousin. “Normally when the world event is celebrated in a European city, the Euro Pride festivities are pushed to the side,” says Alonso. “We knew from the beginning that we wanted to involve the European collectives, and now we’re changing the discourse in order to be the headquarters of both.”
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In 2007, Euro Pride gathered on the streets of Madrid for the first time – something that was possible largely because of the egalitarian policies put into practice by Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who championed the legalization of same-sex marriage. It was the most successful year Euro Pride had ever seen, with other 2.5 million people demanding equality, according to the organization. “It marked a turning point,” Alonso says. Since then, Madrid emerged as a leader for LGBTQ tourism, and its Pride events are some of the most well-attended in the world.
“The preparations start now, and there will be activities throughout the year until the festivities commence on June 23, 2017,” Alonso adds. He mentions a couple of LGBTQ sporting events (swimming, tennis and golf) without revealing the bulk of the program, which will be officially released in September.
In Amsterdam, seat of Euro Pride 2016, the World Pride Madrid 2017 planning committee tried to generate excitement and inform the world about next year’s Madrid event, where over three million people are expected to gather. In addition to advertising in the streets and participating in the parade that wound through Amsterdam’s canals and alleyway, representatives of World Pride Madrid presented a video before performances by Conchita Wurst, Tara McDonald and Barei, Spain’s representative at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, who was accompanying the Madrid delegation.
English version by Allison Light.