LGBT+ issues

Tech brands jump on board for World Pride Madrid parade

Vodafone, Spotify, Paypal, eBay and Facebook will have their own floats at Saturday’s event

Increased corporate awareness of LGBT+ issues is reflected at this year’s World Pride celebrations in Madrid, where high-profile brands have been increasing their presence considerably compared with other years.

Madrid's Chueca neighborhood is the hub of World Pride Madrid 2017.
Madrid's Chueca neighborhood is the hub of World Pride Madrid 2017.EFE

Vodafone, Spotify, PayPal, eBay and Facebook will all have their own floats at the World Pride Madrid 2017 parade scheduled for Saturday, July 1. For most of these companies, this will be the first time that they have taken part in the event, which is expected to draw up to two million people to the center of the Spanish capital.

Other well-known brands such as Tinder, Uber, Larios, Fox, El Corte Inglés, NH Hoteles, Iberia, AXA, Tuenti and Philips will host a range of events, from competitions to discussion panels.

Besides operating a float, the auction site eBay has also launched limited-edition glasses especially for World Pride; part of the proceeds will go to the non-profit group It Gets Better, which fights school bullying.

Uber, the car ride service whose presence in the Spanish capital has sparked plenty of controversy in recent years, is an official mobility sponsor for the event, and is offering a special service for groups of six to eight people throughout the 11 days of World Pride Madrid, which ends on Sunday. The initiative, which offers special rates, has sparked renewed anger by the city’s regular taxi drivers, who were on the verge of striking again.

Symbolic weddings

Television network Fox has rolled out the Wedding Bus, which is celebrating symbolic weddings of LGTB+ couples “with the couple’s firm commitment to legalize them as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, makers of alcoholic beverages have also found a way to tap into the vast audience that is converging in Madrid these days. Absolut, the Swedish vodka, has launched Absolut Rainbow, a limited-edition bottle that comes in six colors. And Spanish gin maker Larios has also wrapped its bottles in the colors of the rainbow flag.

The ‘pregón’

Although events have been scheduled since June 23, World Pride really kicked off on Wednesday with the pregón, the official opening ceremony, which took place at Pedro Zerolo square in the central neighborhood of Chueca, ground zero for Madrid’s LGBT+ community.

Events in Barcelona

Barcelona is working to promote itself as an open city that welcomes the LGBT+ community, said municipal sources. As part of the World Pride celebrations, the landmark Glòries Tower, formerly known as Agbar Tower, was draped in the colors of the rainbow flag. The city is holding its own Pride Barcelona 2017, which is into its 10th edition this year.

Revelers filled the large square – formerly known as Vázquez de Mella and renamed after well-known gay rights activist Pedro Zerolo, who died in June 2015 – amid tight security measures.

On the stage were celebrities including movie director Alejandro Amenábar, creator of The Others, The Sea Inside and Open Your Eyes.

“It is very exciting to see this full square, to see Madrid filled with rainbow flags. You are making all this possible,” said actor Javier Calvo from the stage.

The crowd responded enthusiastically. Some had come a long way to be there. “I came all the way here just for the pregón”, said a young woman in her twenties named Emili who drove to Madrid from the northern Spanish city of León, more than 300 kilometers away.

“We’re from Ceuta [a Spanish city along the northern coast of Africa] and we’re spending a few days in Madrid. We found out that this was going on and we came,” said Cristina, who was there with her husband and two children.

English version by Susana Urra.

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