Julia Blumberg and Jonathan Valencia
Around 6 p.m. on June 25th, 2022, several members of the LGBTQ+ community prepared for the annual pride parade near the Exhibition Bridge in Valencia.
Two members of the LGBTQ+ community fill their large water jugs before distributing condoms and health information during the demonstrations. Nahuel Jamelosa, a member of the LGTBQ+ community, distributed flyers about health during the pride demonstration and parade.
“It is not just a party to be passively present and get drunk,” said Jamelosa. “We are here to fight for our rights. There are many that identify with LGBTQ+ individuals and this is not just for the gays of today or yesterday, but also for those who are coming, the kids, the trans kids. We are thinking of those who are still coming.” He explains that the parade is not just about partying, but is about maintaining the rights for future LGBTQ+ individuals.
“We are from the health group,” Jamelosa added. “We distribute condoms and are here talking with people about (sexual) health and any concerns or questions they may have. There are other groups here that do the same thing.”
Health organizations, like the one Jamelosa is a member of, help raise awareness and create a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals by giving out condoms. These organizations also make resources accessible to the community to use in accordance with their personal needs.
Lambda Valencia organized the pride demonstration with the slogan: “Davant l’odi: drets i Orgull” (”Against Hatred: Rights and Pride”). The annual parade where LGBTQ+ individuals and allies march to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in Valencia was the culmination of the celebrations and demonstrations. Spectators line the streets from the Exposition Bridge to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento to get a glimpse of the demonstrations.
“The United States is facing a human rights setback. Women’s right to abortion has been taken away. From Spain, we claim that gender, family, and feminist sexual diversity and we all hold our hands in unity. Regardless of the country you are from, regardless of the language you speak, we are in favor of all women and of the LGTB+ community.”
Fran Fernández, general coordinator of Lambda Valencia, reacting to the United States Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade that established the constitutional abortion rights for women.
Fernández is raising awareness of the rights being stripped from women in the United States while the rights of LGTBQ+ individuals in Spain are moving forward. This landmark decision occurred on June 24th, 2022, the day before the LGTBQ+ parade in Valencia, Spain.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community hold a sign that reads “If you are heterocurious as we are, congratulations. Today is also your day.” According to National Geographic, the acronym LGB, which stands for lesbian, gay and bisexual, has expanded to include additional gender identities and sexual expressions such as transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual. The plus sign represents the sexual orientations and gender identities not included in the acronym. Photo by Julia Blumberg.
“We’ve been organizing the demonstration in Valencia for 25 years,” Fernández said, “So it is routine now. We start planning the celebrations throughout the month, because we want to involve administrations, all citizens, labor unions, political parties, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).”
He added it’s an effort to bring awareness to all aspects in celebration of pride month, Lambda works with different organizations to help with the fight for more visibility and rights for LGBTQ+ individuals.
A map of Spain with different organizations geographically distributed. Many activists and allies are working hard to raise awareness to stop hate violence and backlash towards the LGBTQ+ community. They have made it possible to get to this point so that the LGBTQIA+ community can hold demonstrations and celebratory events to recognize the evolution and progression being made for their rights.
Source: Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gais, Trans, Bisexuales, Intersexuales y más.
Pride demonstrations and events have been occurring in Valencia for more than three decades. “We have held book presentations, movie screenings, and activities for families to show that our families also exist,” Fernández said. It took years to bring visibility to the LGTBQ+ community and the demonstrations continue through annual global celebrations throughout the month of June and beyond.
“It is what we call “PekeFesta,” which is the festival where the children can see their family models represented in stories and activities.” Fernández said. Same-sex couples are also parents, something that Lambda incorporates into their yearly programming through this PekeFesta.
Lambda and other organizations give updates about policy changes and upcoming events, such as the PekeFesta, through their social media accounts. The increase in social media usage allows the national and global community to come together in solidarity and participate on a larger scale.
The spectators standing near the streets surrounding Plaça de Colón and the Bullfighting ring were observing the demonstrators and listening to the chants as the marchers turned around the corner. “Where are trans people in the working world? Against violence, we fight for resistance!” Fernández, at the head of the parade, can be heard shouting these slogans in a call and response chant. These chants are a call to action for Valencia and the global community to raise their voices in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community now and forever.