• International Lesbian and Gay Association
  • Press Release
  • Madrid, 22 February 1997

Demonstrating against homophobia and in favour of a partnership law which includes homosexual partners, almost ten thousand gays and lesbians from all over Spain marched last Saturday from Madrid's Puerta de Alcala to Puerta del Sol. It was the largest demonstration of lesbians, gays and transexuals since the seventies and was organized by more than forty organizations throughout the

Marchers carried flags, posters and banners reading: "Equal rights for all couples", "Partnership law, now", "Yes to the partnership law", while the journalist Maruja Torres and the writer Eduardo Medicutti shared the reading to the crowd of a manifesto of support.

"We demand the end of the defamation and the silence that are the fate within the academic area and in educational institutions of the reality of transexuals, lesbians and gays. We also demand non-homophobic courses concerning sexuality that reflect the reality of sexual plurality", read Mendicutti.

"We denounce the misrepresentation of the plural image of transexuals, gays and lesbians that some media propagate, as well as campaigns that present homosexuality as a source of offense and stereotypical conduct", said Maruja Torres.

The manifesto's reading was accompanied by a translation in sign language by an individual atop a truck that was leading the demonstration.

International Lesbian and Gay Assocation (ILGA) Co-Secretary General Jordi Petit expressed that group's insistence on the decriminalization of homosexuality in Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Romania, and stated that this demand forms part of the manifesto of the Spanish demonstration. Jordi Petit, together with members of Coordinadora Gai-Lesbiana, one of the most powerful gay and lesbian organizations in Spain, located in Barcelona, carried a large ILGA banner which denounced the illegality of homosexuality in those countries and executions in Middle East countries based on homosexual acts.

Pedro J. Macho, the spokesman of the EHGAM, an organization of the Basque country, was carrying a large banner with the inscription "We must stop homophobia". He stated that two buses had arrived to Madrid from Bilbao to request equal rights.

The demonstration coincides with the discussion of the partnership law in the Congress of Deputies after the presentation by the PSOE (socialists) and the IU (communists) of two different propositions of law regulating unmarried couples, including homosexual ones.