After my 4 week hiatus a couple of weeks ago, I’m trying best to get back into this blogging thing. It’s such a good way to waste a couple of hours of a Sunday, so today, I bring you my thoughts, feelings and experiences with being gay in Spain.
I’ve now been in Spain for 4 months and I spent 1 month in Barcelona in July, so I feel as though I am somewhat qualified to speak on this matter. If you don’t think so, I’m sorry!
I must admit, before going away on my Year Abroad, I was somewhat concerned about going to Spain. Of course I had the normal thoughts of ‘Holy shit, I’m moving to a new country that I’ve never properly lived in before’ worries but also, I was unsure as to Spain’s attitudes to homosexuality, or just the LGBTQ+ community in general. With it being such a Catholic country (well, this is what I presumed it to be), I was naturally concerned. I know what you’re now thinking, you’re crazy right, it’s Spain, not the far east, there’s nothing to worry about. But of course, it should and always will be a concern when travelling overseas. You have to be respectful and conscious that not every country is as open and ‘free thinking’ than yours.
Let’s start off with Barcelona – go there and be as gay as humanly possible. Barcelona is one of the biggest and most modern cities in Spain and that is definitely reflected in the city’s attitudes and atmosphere around gay people. When I was there, it was gay pride! *insert photo of me being very gay at pride*
It was one of the best events I’d ever been to. The entire city came out to drink, march, sing, chant, defend, celebrate and scream about the LGBTQ+ community. One memory I distinctly remember (some things are a little blurry after 1/2 a litre of white rum) is old women watching from their balconies and waving their handkerchiefs towards us all. Also, parents had brought their children along to watch the parade. Everyone that day was so open and loving, it was really nice. Barcelona has its own gay quarter too and is filled with gay clubs and venues. In an entire month there, I never any sort of discrimination or any weird and off-putting stares from members of the public.
Then, moving on to Seville, with it being the south and perhaps more conservative than the north (or so I thought?), I was a bit more concerned. However, I had absolutely no reason to be. Although the gay scene and community here in Sevilla is a lot smaller than what it is in Barcelona, it doesn’t mean that the attitudes towards it are any different. I have seen many a gay couple walking around, holding hands, openly kissing and no one takes notice at all. Gay clubs here are filled with all sorts of people and they are not afraid, nor should they be. Homosexuality in Sevilla is not a taboo nor a worry for anyone, so it seems anyway.
I would go as far as to say that homosexuality in Spain is more accepted than it is in England. I have been openly affection with men in England and in Spain, and I’ve had far much more hassle (in the forms of staring, people shouting at us etc.) in England than I have in Spain.
Perhaps it comes from Spain’s care free attitude when it comes to most things in life. But then I saw this article by Dazed! Although it was posted 2 years ago, what it says still rings true. Spain is just seriously open to a bit of homosexuality, what great news for all of us gays out there.
I would just like to remind all my other fellow LGBTQ+ers that it’s so important, whenever you’re travelling, to research the country which you’re travelling to and their tolerance to homosexuality. You may be of the opinion that ‘Oh, I’m gay, I’ll be who I want to be wherever I want to be’, and that’s great, you should be like that. However, some countries do have laws against homosexuality, and if they don’t have laws, pre-existing laws will not protect you against discrimination. Away from laws and legislation, countries general tolerance levels may put you in danger. For more information, click here to be taking to the UK’s government advice to LGBT travellers.!