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The first Pride March without Covid restrictions gives hope to LGBT+ tourism

Two men celebrate in the streets of the Spanish town of Maspalomas the return of the Pride parade (Credit: EFE/ Laura Bautista)
Two men celebrate in the streets of the Spanish town of Maspalomas the return of the Pride parade (Credit: EFE/ Laura Bautista)

The Spanish town of Playa del Inglés, in the south of the tourist Gran Canaria, gathered this Saturday more than 80,000 people to celebrate the first Pride March without restrictions in Europe, after two years of pandemic where the parades were canceled or were held in person but with reduced capacity or following guidelines to avoid the spread of the coronvirus.

Local authorities calculate that the Maspalomas Pride celebrations, which last for a week, they will attract 200,000 tourists from all over the world, reviving an important global tourism market such as LGBT+, which was paralyzed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid.

According to figures collected by the firm Out Now, in 2019, spending on travel and tourism by members of the LGBT+ community worldwide exceeded 218 billion dollarswith people from the United States and Brazil spending the most money.

To re-attract tourists on this return, the organizers spared no resources. A total of 19 floats paraded on Saturday night through the streets of the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, with music, flags, glitter and, above all, a lot of color. Maspalomas and the area of ​​Playa del Inglés once again opened their streets to their emblematic festival, a benchmark in Europe, to which hundreds of thousands of tourists have traveled from all over the continent but also from Latin America.

“I was really looking forward to it and I am very happy to be here”, assured José Lucio, who traveled from Brazil to relive the strength of Maspalomas Pride, as he confesses that “this is more than a party for us, it is very important”, because coexist tolerance, respect and identity without prejudice.

Adam Koziel shares the same opinion, after five years without missing this appointment. He and his partner have traveled from Poland for the party, and will spend seven days on a vacation that is never lost. “We really enjoyed this party,” he explains, smiling and dressed in leather and chains for the occasion.

Gabe, from the United Kingdom, has also not skimped on clothing for his annual date, which he has attended with several friends. They never fail and they were looking forward to returning, and this has been confirmed by Lee, John, Martin and Rob, who have taken advantage of this party to return to the island, also on vacation.

The Maspalomas Pride celebrations, which last for a week, are expected to attract 200 thousand tourists from all over the world (REUTERS / Darrin Zammit Lupi)
The Maspalomas Pride celebrations, which last for a week, are expected to attract 200 thousand tourists from all over the world (REUTERS / Darrin Zammit Lupi)

“If the party is twenty years old, we have come twenty”recalls this group of Britons, “we love it and we will keep coming as long as we can”, they have pointed out.

Debora Cambi, in her case, has said that she has not had to travel, and it is that she has fallen in love with something more than the party. She of Italian origin, she came to the south of the island and stayed. Today she has dressed to take to the streets like many other groups of girls who have joined this party without gender or barriers.

Carmen González did not want to miss the party either, which she enjoys with a large group of friends from the Canary Islands and the peninsula. This Telde resident has assured that she has come “a thousand times”, and she will continue to do so. “She really wanted and had a lot of physical need to March and party”. For her this quote is important because of what it symbolizes, “It’s openness, it’s freedom, it’s celebrating the lack of prejudice” and of course, with “good weather and warmth, much better”.

The party started early, although the parade began at 4:30 p.m. (Canarian time) to go through the main arteries of the municipality to its headquarters, the Yumbo Shopping Center, where the participants gathered from the floats, the balconies of the apartments and on the street, all to the rhythm of batucada and dance.

Already in the previous days, Playa del Inglés received more than 50,000 people in its different events. This Sunday you will have to say goodbye to your most colorful and vindictive party.

The New York Pride also returns to face-to-face

A scene from the last Pride March "face-to-face" held in New York, in 2019. (Timothy Clary / AFP)
A scene from the last “face-to-face” Pride March held in New York, in 2019. (Timothy Clary / AFP)

This week, the organizers of the traditional New York Pride Parade announced that the celebration will return to the streets this year on June 26, after the interruption of the pandemic, which forced it to be canceled in 2020 and to celebrate virtually last year.

The motto of this 2022 edition is “Unapologetically Us” (We without regret) and among the personalities that will preside over the march are some of the most prominent and mediatic members of the LGBT+ community in the United States.

It is expected, as usual since Ed Koch’s management in the 70s and 80s, the presence of the new mayor Eric Adamswho in his campaign showed himself to be a defender of LGBT+ rights and who has recently launched an initiative for people from the diverse group of Florida to move to his city, in response to the so-called “Don’t say gay” law, approved by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

While New York is a progressive bastion, this new Pride celebration comes at a worrying time for the LGBT+ community in the United States, with several laws passed by congresses in states controlled by the Republican Party that limit the rights of LGBT+ people, including the prohibition of trans women from participating in women’s sports, the criminalization of sex change procedures for minors, and the prohibition of discussing issues related to sexual orientation and gender issues in schools.

(with information from EFE)

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