Sunday, 5 July 2009

One Of The Deadly Sins (by Kate)

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins and although it's the main one being paraded around the world this weekend, the other six also turned out in force, especially lust. All in all, one hell of a party. Gay Pride Madrid (Orgullo Gay) was celebrated if not in style, then at least with overwhelming vim and enthusiasm. Looking up and down Calle Alcala and Gran Via, I think there must have been close on a million people shaking their collective thang in the name of diverse sexuality.
I joined the party with my pal Florrie, both of us with past (if not current) form as faghags and we were as proud of our status as anyone else trumpeting their sexual preferences. We arranged to meet by the large Gula Gula restaurant at the top of Gran Via and despite the milling crowds of well-honed torsos, tight-fitting T-shirts and perfect hairstyles, we somehow managed to arrive at the appointed place within ten minutes of the appointed time. The only flaw was that we chose different sides of the building for our rendez-vous.

"Where are you?" I yelled down my mobile phone, while being caught in the cross-fire of an energetic shoot-out between two groups of water-rifle-wielding militia.
"I'm standing by the gigantic trannie," shouted Florrie, "You can't miss me."

In fact, the transvestites were undoubtedly the stars of the show, many of them towering over the crowd in killer six-inch heels and wearing all manner of flourescent, sequinned and be-feathered finery. I've never seen so many pairs of false eyelashes in my life. They were lapping up the attention, as were any number of wonderfully preening and pouting boys in their tight bright speedos and designer dark glasses. It all made for some great entertainment, like an on-street cabaret.
Mind you, if I'm honest, as processions go, the parade itself left a fair bit to be desired. Apart from the trannies, poseurs and rainbow clubbers, most of it was made up of large swathes of pretty ordinary looking people who could just have easily been members of the crowd. The Madrid Carnival back in February beat it hands down for sheer spectacle and general effort made with co-ordinating costumes and decorated floats.
That said, the real point of the march was not to give the onlookers something to marvel at, but to demonstrate public solidarity for sexual tolerance - to display with relish the styles of loving that can still get people killed in some parts of the word.
After two and a half hours, the parade still showed no signs of ending, but Florrie and I (plus Jon, who'd also joined us) were all gayed out for a bit and desperately needed a drink. After we'd repaired to a jolly Spanish bar nearby (lively camareros, loads of tapas piled up on the counters, very brightly lit, rubbish all over the floor...) we headed back to our former vantage point near the Banco de Espana metro on route to our various casas. Having started at around six thirty, the end of the parade was only just snaking its way up towards its Plaza Espana finishing point as the small hand headed for eleven. Bringing up the rear was a batallion of municipal cleaning vehicles. Show's over for another year, folks.

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