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Pensioners at Pride reflect on Spain's huge progress in 40 years
09 July 2019 @ 17:22

PENSIONERS who headed up the weekend's Gay Pride march in Madrid recall how far Spain has come in protecting their rights – and many say they attended the first-ever Pride festival in the capital 41 years ago when not being heterosexual was frowned upon and even illegal.

They could barely have imagined in 1978, when they had to hide their feelings or face prison, that within just 27 years they would be able to walk down the aisle with the love of their life.

Antonio, 63, says this weekend is only the second time he has marched in a Pride event, the first being in 1978 when he was among 7,000 people brought together by the Castilla Homosexual Liberation Front to protest against the Law of Social Danger, still in force even three years after dictator General Franco's death.

This law, which also made 'blasphemy' a criminal offence, led to hundreds of Spanish lesbians and gay men being jailed for their romantic preferences.

Ramón Linaza, who headed up the pensioners' march on Saturday, was at the first Madrid Pride in 1978 along with modern-day activists including Boti García, Jesús Generelo, Carla Antonelli and the current chairwoman of the State lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) federation, FELGTB, Uge Sangil.

Marcher Pilar, 75, said she had only admitted to her friends and family that she was a lesbian six years ago, but that now, 'everyone knows what I think and what I do' and that 'people are now more aware that it's completely normal', but recalls how, at the time of the first Madrid Pride, it was a dangerous situation to be in.



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