June 29, 2017 at 6:38 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Madrid mayor: WorldPride is ‘more than a party’

WorldPride, gay news, Washington Blade

A rainbow banners surrounds an information kiosk in Madrid’s Plaza de Callao on June 25, 2017. Up to three million people are expected to attend WorldPride in the Spanish capital this week. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

MADRID — Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena on Wednesday reaffirmed her administration’s support of LGBT and intersex rights.

“It is necessary that we reaffirm happiness, love, sexuality,” she said during her remarks at a WorldPride reception that took place at Cibeles Palace.

WorldPride is expected to draw up to three million people to the Spanish capital this week. It will culminate in a parade on Saturday that will stretch from Atocha to Plaza de Colón.

“It is a celebration that is always more than a party,” said Carmena at the reception that more than 1,000 people from around the world attended. “This is a party of freedom.”

The reception took place two days before German lawmakers are expected to vote on whether to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Carmena in her remarks did not mention Germany. She did, however, acknowledge LGBT and intersex people in many countries around the world continue to face discrimination and persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Turkish police on Sunday used tear gas and plastic bullets to disperse LGBT rights advocates in Istanbul who defied the city’s decision to ban a Pride event. This year’s WorldPride is also taking place against the backdrop of the ongoing persecution of gays and lesbians in Chechnya and growing international concern over the Trump administration’s foreign policy.

“We know that there are many countries in the world that have not succeeded,” said Carmena, referring to their records on LGBT and intersex rights and activists who are working in them. “We want to help you from here, share our experiences, our advice, our encouragement, our joy with you.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael //

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