Spain is one of the world’s most gay-friendly countries and was only the third country worldwide to legalise gay marriage in 2005. It’s a great place to visit, whether you’re single, a couple, a group of friends looking for a good time or a family eager to explore everything the city has to offer. We count down some of the best LGBT events to look forward to in 2018.
From June 28 to July 8, 2018, Madrid will host its annual Madrid Pride celebrations, a four-day extravaganza of street parties, open-air concerts and competitions (Mr Gay Spain is a highlight). The atmosphere is infectious and everyone is welcome. The festivities kick off with the traditional ‘stiletto race’ through the streets of Chueca, Madrid’s LGBT neighbourhood, and peak with the Pride march through the city on Saturday, July 7.
In 2017, Madrid’s City Council installed traffic lights featuring same-sex couples to celebrate World Pride, which took place in the city.
In Autumn 2018, Madrid will host the 23rd edition of its International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. The aim of LesGaiCineMadrid is to showcase films made by and starring members of the LGBT community. Films include features, shorts and documentaries and there will be screenings, talks and debates throughout the festival. The festival, the most important LGBT film festival across Spanish-speaking countries, attracts over 14,000 spectators every year.
In December, bears and their admirers will descend on Madrid for the 18th edition of MadBear, a festival dedicated to the appreciation of all things bear. The fun centres around the Chueca neighbourhood with both daytime and nighttime events planned, including the crowning of Mr MadBear 2018. By day, you can check out the neighbourhoods cafés and saunas and by night, head out on specially-designed bear bar crawls before hitting some of the city’s best gay clubs.
WE Party New Year Festival
Madrid will bid farewell to 2018 by hosting one of Europe’s biggest winter LGBT festivals. The WE Party New Year Festival brings some of the world’s best DJs to Madrid – prepare for seven days of some of the best partying imaginable.
Octubre Trans works year-round to raise awareness for trans rights in Spain, but at the end of October, the group stages a big gathering to draw attention to trans issues and call for equality. In 2017 the protest took place on the Plaza de Chueca, the main square in Madrid’s LGBT neighbourhood of Chueca. Speakers, musicians and performers will take to the stage throughout the evening.
Billing itself as a ‘day of diversity’, Gay Day Madrid is a big day out for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and trans people – and their families – at Madrid’s Parque de Atracciones (Theme Park). The family-orientated day is a great day out for LGBT families and includes rides, live music and street food.
One television spectacular that is beloved by many in the LGBT community is the good old Eurovision Song Contest, which in 2018 will be held in neighbouring Portugal. Many bars and clubs around the city will hold special Eurovision viewing and singalong parties. Parties in the run up to the big event itself often welcome Spain’s entry to perform.