The Adjusted Normal, 14. Love is Love.

Today is Gay Pride Day. In a normal year, there would have been celebrations and concerts all this month in Madrid, and a big parade at the beginning of July. As it is, there is a march online on the evening of Saturday, 4 July. Not the same at all, but these are the times we are living.

Until this year, many town and city halls would hang the rainbow flag, but a Spanish Supreme Court judge ruled that unofficial flags cannot be hung on official buildings. Some hung it, anyway. In one town, neighbors got together and crocheted a very long rainbow flag, and then hung it covering a street, where it also acted as umbrella against the sun. In Madrid, Correos, the Spanish mail system, painted mailboxes and their small vans with the rainbow. They also issued a commemorative stamp.

Of course, the right wing was the first to complain. Why, in these times of need, would the semi-public mail company waste money on painting the rainbow flag? This was not a time of celebration; this was a time of mourning for those who have died. That there was no money for PPE and masks and ventilators, but there is to paint the colors of a minority collective that should be quiet and unnoticed. (There has always been money for PPE, masks, and ventilators, but what the extreme right loonies seem to have forgotten is that, at the height of the first wave, there was no equipment to be had.)

I follow a page on Facebook called Pueblos de España. I follow it only because of all the different beautiful places posted, and with which I build my castles in the air. From time to time I have noticed some censuring from followers, as when someone once posted a comment in Catalán, and an enormous bunch of "patriots" chastised her for not using Castilian. This morning, there was a photo of a rainbow-painted mailbox in Madrid. The poster warned that he would delete all insults. He probably did, but a lot of the comments, while not direct insults, were definitely not love notes. There were a lot of angry people mentioning the waste of money, and another group who claimed that there should be a "heterosexual day", as well. Since then, the post seems to have been taken down. Already when I saw it, less than an hour after having been posted, comments had been shut off. I think I'll leave that intolerant group.

Unfortunately, there are too many people who hate LGBTQ people, still, and they tend to find an outlet in ultra-right Vox. Vox does not consider true that Hitler imprisoned and killed homosexuals because of their sexual orientation. They see themselves as defenders of all Spanish, but would prefer that the Gay Pride Day be condemned to a tiny corner of Madrid most people don't go to. They consider gay marriage a travesty, and trans-people sick. The bad news is that their number seems to be growing instead of diminishing.

They talk about the pandemic and how there was no money to attend to people, but there is to celebrate Gay Pride. But what about the pandemic that has been with us for forty years? What of AIDS? Because it started out affecting mostly homosexual men, it has always been branded as a deviant's disease, even though, since then, it has also infected many heterosexuals. But to these extremists, what doesn't affect them, doesn't exist. They could care less if research into the pandemic of AIDS is funded, or not.

Homosexuality in Spain only became legal in 1978, when Franco's Law of Dangerous People and Social Rehabilitation was struck down, under which being homosexual got you sent to jail. When the first Gay Pride Day was celebrated in Madrid, back in the early 80's, most people thought being gay was a mental illness, that some hard work might cure. Fast forward forty years, and public ridicule is non-existent, but private ridicule can be found around every corner. The Minister of Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, is gay and married to his partner. Twenty years ago, that would have been incredible. Now, it's a mere asterisk next to his biography. Maybe in another twenty years, the asterisk won't even exist. His sexuality has still sometimes been brought into the fray by ultra-right wingers. 

Most older people, now, accept their children's sexual differences. Forty years ago, it was a disgrace to be sexually different. Times change, but sometimes they seem to change very slowly. And there are always the blind who, instead of walking forward, seem intent on walking backward, as if trying to find where they lost their sight. But they could never see. 

Life continues.

Pride, Lgbt, Flag, Rainbow, Community



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