Home Madrid education Hundreds of thousands march in European Pride parades to stand up for LGBTIQ+ rights

Hundreds of thousands march in European Pride parades to stand up for LGBTIQ+ rights

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Thousands of people marched in Bucharest, the Romanian capital, on Saturday to demand equal rights for sexual and gender minorities as fears grow over a bill to ban discussion of homosexuality and gender transition in schools.
Among the crowd, Catalin Enescu, 37, came with his wife and two young daughters, both dressed in rainbow-colored dresses.

“It’s the first time I’ve taken part in a march like this, but it’s important to be there because the rights of LGBTQ people are no longer respected,” he said.

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Romania decriminalized homosexuality in 2001, but same-sex couples are still not allowed to marry or enter into civil partnerships.
Activists are concerned about a bill, introduced by lawmakers from Romania’s Hungarian minority, to ban teaching materials dealing with homosexuality and gender transition in schools.
Earlier this year, the Senate passed the bill, although it still has to be voted on by the lower house.

The proposal is similar to legislation that came into effect last year in neighboring Hungary.

A woman holding a bunch of colorful balloons walks between Romanian riot police after the gay pride parade in Bucharest, Romania

There was a heavy police presence at the Pride Parade in Bucharest, Romania. Source: AAP / Vadim Ghirda/AP

Organizers said 15,000 people turned out to demand equality at Bucharest Pride, under heavy police surveillance.

It came after around 200 people, including several waving Orthodox Christian icons, responded earlier in the day to a call by the far-right Noua Dreapta party for a counter-protest.
“The fact that Pride celebrations are getting bigger while right-wing groups are getting smaller is a positive sign,” said Tor-Hugne Olsen of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
“But it’s hard to see many proposals in parliament that curtail LGBT rights and other sexual health issues.”
Protester and University of Bucharest professor Oana Baluta said she feared what would happen if the bill were passed in the European country.

“If passed, this bill – which is contrary to European Union standards – would be a serious blow to freedom of expression and the rights of LGBTQ people,” Prof Baluta said.

A girl shoots bubbles during the gay pride parade in Bucharest, Romania, Saturday, July 9, 2022.

Thousands of people attended the gay pride march in the Romanian capital calling for equal rights for the LGBTIQ+ community. Source: AAP / Andreea Alexandru/AP

“It would set a dangerous precedent because we would then risk being banned from the right to discuss abortion and sex education as well,” she said.

Romania has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Europe. Abortions are legal, but access to them has become increasingly difficult.

‘Visibility, pride and resilience’: Hundreds of thousands march through Madrid

Hundreds of thousands of people waved rainbow flags and danced to techno music during Madrid‘s Pride march on Saturday as the event returned after two years of Covid restrictions.
Protesters in the Spanish capital gathered in the late afternoon behind a large banner with the slogan “visibility, pride and resilience”.

Some attendees carried water guns and sprayed themselves to cool off in the scorching heat. Others went shirtless and danced to Brazilian and techno music.

General view of the Madrid Pride Parade 2022, in Madrid, Spain, 09 July 2022.

The protest marched through the streets of Madrid on Saturday under the slogan “Facing Hate: Visibility, Pride and Resilience”. Source: AAP / EMILIO NARANJO/EPA

Spain, 09 July 2022.”/>

Several ministers from Spain’s leftist coalition government, including Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, joined them.

“I missed it a lot, the vibe is great. You can see people really wanted to party after so long without ‘normal’ Pride,” said 38-year-old teacher Victor Romero Fernandez.
City authorities said more than 600,000 people attended the event, which Spanish state broadcaster Televisión Española covered live for the first time.
Civil servant Miguel Angel Alfonso, 44, enjoyed seeing crowded streets but said the event should focus more on demanding rights.

“It’s become a big party, with floats turned into clubs and multinationals…it’s big business,” he said.

People take part in the Madrid Pride Parade 2022, in Madrid, Spain, July 09, 2022.

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out for the Pride parade in Madrid, the first time large-scale celebrations have returned since the pandemic. Source: AAP / LUCA PIERGIOVANNI/EPA

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Spain in 1978, three years after the death of dictator Francisco Franco. The country has since legalized marriage and adoption for same-sex couples.

But the national LGBTIQ+ federation, FELGTBI+, said it was important to give “visibility” to the community, decrying growing “hate speech” in a statement ahead of the march.
FELGTBI+ added that such discourse “undermines the foundations of social harmony, jeopardizing the gains made so far”.
The federation has also backed a bill, which will be debated in parliament this summer, which would allow someone to change their name and gender on identity documents at their request from the age of 16.

If passed, the legislation would make Spain one of the few countries to allow gender self-determination.