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Millions Hit Streets of Madrid for LGBT Pride, Including Conchita Wurst: VIDEO

Madrid

More than a million people took to the streets of Madrid, Spain yesterday for one of Europe's largest LGBT Pride celebrations, Expatica reports:

ConchitaTens of thousands crammed one of the Spanish capital's broad central avenues, the Paseo del Prado, in the early evening to the din of drums and whistles in a parade scheduled to last seven hours.

Organisers expected more than a million people at the evening parade, the main event in five days of festivities by defenders of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

The festival kicked off on Wednesday night with an open air appearance by Conchita Wurst, the bearded Austrian transvestite who won the Eurovision song contest in May. That was followed on Thursday by an annual highlight of the festival: men in high heels and dresses raced on foot through Madrid's gay district, Chueca, cheered on by crowds.

Wurst sang on Friday evening alongside various Spanish stars at a concert in the Vicente Calderon stadium, home to Atletico Madrid football club.

Watch highights from Madrid's Pride parade and part of Conchita's appearance in which she sings "And I'm Telling You", AFTER THE JUMP...

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Spain’s LGBT Leaders Receive First-Ever Reception from Newly Enthroned King and Queen

On Tuesday, Spain’s LGBT community leaders were welcomed at the royal El Pardo palace – marking the first time the country's monarchy has ever granted LGBT leaders such a reception.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.28.46 AMSpain’s newly enthroned King Felipe and Queen Letizia (right) met with Boti Garcia, president of Spain’s State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals, and José María Núñez-Blanco, president of LGBT rights group the Triangle Foundation - along with representatives of 350 other organizations, The Local reports.

García admitted that she had been surprised to receive the invitation, noting: "We have asked more than once for meetings with the vice president of the government and he's never even answered."

The queen was more attentive to the leaders than the king, according to local media. The Local adds:

"We felt that our message had been listened to and understood, " said García.

She said that she had asked the queen to defend the human rights of people who may be persecuted for their sexual orientation in countries that the royal couple visit while performing official duties.

García added her hope that the meeting would "go beyond mere protocol" and lead the royal couple to adopt a "proactive defence" of human rights.

Spain's gays get first ever royal reception [the local]


Spaniards Hold Kiss-In to Protest Cardinal's Remarks That Homosexuality is a 'Defect': VIDEO

Malaga

Earlier this week, Spain's new Cardinal Fernando Sebastian Aguilar made international headlines when he told a newspaper in Malaga that homosexuality is a "defect" which can be corrected.

AguilarSaid Aguilar:

"A lot of people complain and don't tolerate it but with all respect I say that homosexuality is a defective way of manifesting sexuality, because that has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation...We have a lot of defects in our bodies. I have high blood pressure. Am I going to get angry because they tell me that? It is a defect I have that I have to correct as far as I can...Pointing out a defect to a homosexual is not an offence, it is a help because many cases of homosexuality can be recovered and normalised with adequate treatment. It is not an offence, it is esteem. When someone has a defect, the good friend is the one who tells him."

On Thursday, approximately 30 people gathered at the gates of Malaga Cathedral to protest the newly-chosen Cardinal's remarks with a same-sex kiss-in.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Spaniards Hold Kiss-In to Protest Cardinal's Remarks That Homosexuality is a 'Defect': VIDEO" »


Spain's New Cardinal: Homosexuality is a 'Defect' Like High Blood Pressure and Can Be Corrected

Spain's new Cardinal Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, chosen by Pope Francis a week ago, has quickly made it known how he feels about homosexuality, calling it a "defect" which can be corrected, AFP reports:

Aguilar"A lot of people complain and don't tolerate it but with all respect I say that homosexuality is a defective way of manifesting sexuality, because that has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation," Sebastian told Malaga newspaper Sur...

"We have a lot of defects in our bodies. I have high blood pressure. Am I going to get angry because they tell me that? It is a defect I have that I have to correct as far as I can," said Sebastian, who is the archbishop emeritus of the northern city of Pamplona.

"Pointing out a defect to a homosexual is not an offence, it is a help because many cases of homosexuality can be recovered and normalised with adequate treatment. It is not an offence, it is esteem. When someone has a defect, the good friend is the one who tells him."

Aguilar also said that Pope Francis wasn't accepting homosexuality when he said "who am I to judge?"

Said Aguilar: "It is one thing to show welcome and affection to a homosexual person and another to morally justify the exercise of homosexuality."


Spain Colludes With Russia To Ban Same-Sex Adoptions Of Russian Children

6a00d8341c730253ef017c332b68e0970b-800wiEarlier this year one of the steps that the Russian government took to further demonize homosexuals was to ban adoptions of Russian children by gay couples and even going so far as to ban all adoptions from any country that has legalized gay marriage, such as France, regardless of the orientation of the adopting couple.

Most countries have condemned these actions, but Spain has chosen instead to bow to Russia's whims. In January, Spanish officials will be signing an accord with Russia that will allow the country to continue adopting Russian children so long as Spain prevents any of them from being adopted by same-sex couples. The accord even extends to adopted children who wind up abandoned or in some other way lose their Spanish parents; Spain will be required to report to Russia where the children have been relocated to and will not be allowed to be adopted by same-sex couples.

Sweden is also considering a similar accord, and the Putin mouthpiece Voice of Russia claimed that similar accords with the U.S. and Israel had also been in the works.


Organizers: City Trying to Kill Gay Pride in Madrid

Madrid

Organizers of Madrid's Gay Pride festivalsay the city is trying to financially "strangle" the event by imposing excessive fines that will shut it down if they continue, the Guardian reports:

"You can't levy such barbaric fines on an event that's so important to the city," said Boti Rodrigo, president of the Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gays, Transexuales y Bisexuales. "These fines put the survival of Madrid Pride in serious jeopardy."

This is the fourth successive year the festival has been fined for noise violations. Past fines ranged from €35,000-€50,000, against which organisers successfully appealed and had reduced or waived. The courts have so far reduced one of the fines to €600, but have yet to rule on the other two. This year's edition of Madrid Pride, held in July, earned 15 fines totalling €159,809. Organisers have appealed against the fines, but said it could take more than a year before they find out if their appeal is successful.

"We've never seen city hall so short-sighted, with such little political will towards us," said Rodrigo. The celebration of gay pride, started in 1979, attracts an estimated 1.5 million people each year and offers the city a chance to "show that Madrid is an open, multicultural and tolerant city".

The root of the problem appears to be in Madrid's mayor Ana Botella:

"She's putting up permanent barriers to our success," said Rodrigo. "What's clear is that the ideology of a person, when that person is the mayor of Madrid, shouldn't interfere at all in her political responsibilities."

In 2011, when Botella was Madrid's councillor for the environment, she introduced stringent noise limits in residential areas. The restrictions forced Madrid Pride to resort to silent concerts, where participants danced to music streaming through their headphones.


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