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LGBT rights in Spain

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LGBT rights in Spain

LGBT rights in Spain
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1979
Gender identity/expression Transsexual persons allowed to change legal gender without prior sex reassignment surgery and sterilization
Military service Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation and gender identity protections
Family rights
Recognition of
Same-sex marriage since 2005
Adoption Yes (since 2005)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Spain have undergone several significant changes in recent years. Among ancient Romans in Spain, sexual interaction between men was viewed as commonplace and marriages between men occurred during the early Roman Empire, but a law against same-sex marriages was promulgated by Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans, and Roman moral norms underwent significant changes leading up to the 4th century. The influence of Christianity eventually characterized sexuality as an act whose only goal was procreation, with homosexuality being viewed as one of many sexual activities that were sinful and against God’s will. Laws against sodomy were later established during the legislative period. However, attitudes towards individual liberties changed again during the Age of Enlightenment which resulted in laws against sodomy being repealed from the Spanish code in 1822. Laws changed again along with societal attitudes towards homosexuality during the Spanish Civil War and Francisco Franco’s regime.

Throughout the late-20th century, the rights of the LGBT community received more awareness and same-sex sexual activity became legal once again in 1979 with an equal age of consent to heterosexual intercourse. Today, Spain has been recognized for providing one of the highest degrees of liberty in the world to its LGBT citizens. After recognizing unregistered cohabitation between same-sex couples countrywide and registered partnerships in certain cities since 1994 and 1997, Spain legalised both same-sex marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples in 2005. Transsexuals are allowed to change their legal gender without the need of sex reassignment surgery or sterilization. Discrimination regarding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression has been banned nationwide since 1996. Gays and lesbians are allowed to openly serve in the military and MSMs have been allowed to donate blood since 2005.

Spain has been recognized as one of the most socially liberal and LGBT-friendly countries in the world and LGBT culture has had a significant role in Spanish literature, music, cinema and other forms of entertainment as well as social issues and politics. Public opinion on homosexuality is noted by pollsters as being overwhelmingly positive, with a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center in 2013 indicating that more than 88 percent of Spanish citizens accept homosexuality, making it the most LGBT-friendly of the countries Pew polled. LGBT visibility has also increased in several layers of society such as the Guardia Civil, army, judicial, and clergy. However, in other areas such as sports, the LGBT community remains marginalized. Spanish film directors such as Pedro Almodóvar have increased awareness regarding LGBT tolerance in Spain among international audiences. In 2007, Madrid hosted the annual Europride celebration. The city of Barcelona also has a reputation as one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world along.[1]


  • Law regarding same-sex sexual activity 1
    • Roman Empire 1.1
    • Kingdom of the Visigoths 1.2
    • Spanish Inquisition 1.3
    • First French Empire 1.4
    • Kingdom of Spain (1814-1931) 1.5
    • Second Spanish Republic 1.6
    • Francoist Spain 1.7
    • Kingdom of Spain (1975-present) 1.8
  • Government of Zapatero: Same-sex marriage and parenting 2
  • Acceptance 3
  • Summary table 4
  • LGBT culture 5
    • Literature 5.1
    • Cinema 5.2
    • Music 5.3
  • See also 6
  • References 7

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity

Roman Empire

The bust of Hispanic Roman Emperor Hadrian, lover of Antinous can be found today in the Palazzo dei Conservatori.

The Romans brought, as with other aspects of their culture, their sexual morality to Spain.[2] Romans were open-minded about their relationship, and sexuality among men was commonplace. Among the Romans, bisexuality seems to have been perceived as the ideal. Edward Gibbon mentions, of the first fifteen emperors, "Claudius was the only one whose taste in love was entirely correct" —the implication being that he was the only one not to take men or boys as lovers. Gibbon based this on Suetonius' factual statement that "He had a great passion for women, but had no interest in men."[3] Suetonius and the other ancient authors actually used this against Claudius. They accused him of being dominated by these same women and wives, of being uxorious, and of being a womanizer.

Marriages between men occurred during the early Roman Empire. This is proved by a law in the Theodosian Code from the Christian emperors Constantius and Constans which was passed on 16 December 342.[4] Martial attests to same-sex marriages between men during the early Roman Empire.[5]

The first recorded marriage between two men occurred during the reign of the Emperor Nero, who is reported to have married two other men on different occasions.[6] The Roman emperor Elagabalus is also reported to have done the same. Emperors who were universally praised and lauded by the Romans such as Hadrian and Trajan openly had male lovers, although it is not recorded whether or not they ever married their lovers. Hadrian's lover, Antinuous, received deification upon his death and numerous statues exist of him today, more than any other non-imperial person.

Among the conservative upper Senatorial classes, status was more important than the person in any sexual relationship. Thus, Roman citizens could penetrate non-citizen males, plebeian (or low class) males, male slaves, boys, eunuchs and male prostitutes just as easily as young female slaves, concubines and female prostitutes. However, no upper class citizen would allow himself to be penetrated by another man, regardless of age or status. He would have to play the active role in any sexual relationship with a man.[7] There was a strict distinction between an active homosexual (who would have sex with men and women) and a passive homosexual (who was regarded as servile and effeminate). This morality was in fact used against Julius Caesar, whose allegedly passive sexual interactions with the king of Bithynia were commented everywhere in Rome.[8] However, many people in the upper classes ignored such negative ideas about playing a passive role, as is proved by the actions of the Roman Emperors Nero and Elagabalus. Martial also attests to adult men who played passive roles with other men. Martial describes, for example, the case of an older man who played the passive role and let a younger slave occupy the active role.[9] In contrast to the Greeks, evidence for homosexual relationships between men of the same age exists for the Romans. These sources are diverse and include such things as the Roman novel Satyricon, graffiti and paintings found at Pompeii as well as inscriptions left on tombs and papyri found in Egypt. Generally speaking, however, a kind of pederasty (not unlike the one that can be found in the Greeks) was dominant in Rome. It is important to note, however, that even among straight relationships, men tended to marry women much younger than themselves, usually in their early teens.

Lesbianism was also known,[2] in two forms. Feminine women would have sex with adolescent girls: a kind of female pederasty, and masculine women followed male pursuits, including fighting, hunting and relationships with other women.

Marcus Valerius Martialis,[8] a great poet and lawyer, was born and educated in Bílbilis (Calatayud today), but he spent most of his life in Rome. There he characterised Roman life in epigrams and poems. In a fictitious first person he talks about anal and vaginal penetration, and about receiving fellatio from both men and women.

Another example is Hadrian,[10] one of the Roman emperors born in Hispania, specifically in Itálica (Santiponce today). He was emperor from 117 to 138. He had a famous lover, Antinous, whom he deified and in whose honour he built the city of Antinopolis in Egypt after his accidental death in the Nile.[10]

The first law against same-sex marriage was promulgated by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans.[11] Nevertheless, the Christian emperors continued to collect taxes on male prostitutes until the reign of Anastasius (491–581). In the year 390, the Christian emperors Valentinian II, Theodosius I and Arcadius declared homosexual sex to be illegal and those who were guilty of it were condemned to be burned alive in front of the public.[12] The Christian emperor Justinian I (527–565) made homosexuals a scape goat for problems such as "famines, earthquakes, and pestilences."[13]

As a result of this, Roman morality changed by the 4th century. For example, Ammianus Marcellinus harshly condemned the sexual behaviour of the Taifali, a tribe located between the Carpathian Mountains and the Black Sea which practised the Greek-style pederasty.[14] In 342 emperors Constans and Constantius II introduced a law to punish passive homosexuality (possibly by castration), to which later in 390 Theodosius I would add death by fire to all passive homosexuals that worked in brothels. In 438 this law was expanded to include all passive homosexuals, in 533 Justinian punished any homosexual act with castration and death by fire, and in 559 this law became even more strict.[15]

Three reasons have been given for this change of attitude. Procopius, historian at Justinian's court, considered that behind the laws were political motivations, as they allowed Justinian to destroy his enemies and confiscate their properties, and were hardly efficient stopping homosexuality between ordinary citizens.[14] The second reason, and perhaps the more important one, was the rising influence of Christianity in the Roman society, including the Christian paradigm about sex serving solely for reproduction purposes.[15] Colin Spencer, in his book Homosexuality. A history, suggests the possibility that a certain sense of self-preservation in the Roman society after suffering some epidemic such as the Black fever increased the reproductive pressure in the individuals. This phenomenon would be combined with the rising influence of Stoicism in the Empire.[14]

Until the year 313 there was no common doctrine about homosexuality in Christianity,[14] but it is the mistaken belief that Paul had already condemned it as contra natura, though he had no exegetical reason for doing so:

And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. Bible King James. Romans 1:27.

Eventually, the Church Fathers created a literary corpus in which homosexuality and sex were condemned most energetically, fighting against a common practice in that epoch's society (including the primitive Church).[16] On the other hand, homosexuality was identified with heresy soon enough, not only because of the pagan traditions, but also due to the rites of some gnostic sects or Manichaeism, which, according to Augustine of Hippo, practised homosexual rites.[14]

Kingdom of the Visigoths

The Germanic peoples had little tolerance for both passive homosexuality and women, whom they considered on the same level as "imbeciles" and slaves, and glorified the warrior camaraderie between men. However, there are reports in Scandinavian countries of feminine and transvestite pastors, and the Nordic gods, the Æsir, including Thor and Odin, obtained arcane recognition drinking semen.[14]

In the Early Middle Ages, attitudes toward homosexuality remained constant. There are known cases of homosexual behaviour which did not receive punishment, even if they weren't accepted. For example, king Clovis I on his baptism day confessed having relationships with other men; or Alcuin, an anglosaxon poet whose verses and letters are impregnated with homoerotism.[14]

One of the first legal corpus that considered male homosexuality a crime in Europe was the Liber Iudiciorum (or Lex Visigothorum).[17] The Visigoth law included in that code (L. 3,5,6) punished the so-called sodomy with banishment and castration. Within the term "castration" were included all sexual crimes considered unnatural, such as male homosexuality, anal sex (heterosexual and homosexual) and zoophilia. Lesbianism was considered sodomy only if it included phallic aids.[17]

It was king Chindasuinth (642–653) who dictated that the punishment for homosexuality should be castration. Such a harsh measure was unheard of in Visigoth laws, except for the cases of Jews practising circumcision. After being castrated, the culprit was given to the care of the local bishop, who would then banish him. If he was married, the marriage was declared void, the dowry was returned to the woman and any possessions distributed among his heirs.[18]

Spanish Inquisition

By the sixteenth century, royal codes decreed death by burning for sodomy and was punished by civil authorities. It fell under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition only in the territories of Aragon, when, in 1524, Clement VII, in a papal brief, granted jurisdiction over sodomy to the Inquisition of Aragon, whether or not it was related to heresy. In Castile, cases of sodomy were not adjudicated, unless related to heresy. The tribunal of Zaragoza distinguished itself for its severity in judging these offences: between 1571 and 1579 more than 100 men accused of sodomy were processed and at least 36 were executed; in total, between 1570 and 1630 there were 534 trials and 102 executions.[19] This does not include, however, those normally executed by the secular authorities.

First French Empire

In 1812, Barcelona was annexed into the First French Empire and incorporated into the First French Empire as part of the department Montserrat (later Bouches-de-l'Èbre–Montserrat), where it remained until it was returned to Spain in 1814. During that time same-sex sexual intercourse was legalized in Barcelona.[20][21]

Kingdom of Spain (1814-1931)

In 1822, Kingdom of Spain's first penal code was adopted and same-sex sexual intercourse was legalized. In 1928, under the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera, the offense of "habitual homosexual acts" was recriminalized in Spain.[22]

Second Spanish Republic

In 1932, same-sex sexual intercourse was again legalized in Spain.[22]

Francoist Spain

During the Spanish Civil War, the poet Federico García Lorca was executed by Nationalist forces allegedly for being gay, among other things, however this cannot be confirmed.[23] Legal reforms in 1944 and 1963 punished same-sex sexual intercourse under "scandalous public behavior." In 1954, the Vagrancy Law of 1933 was modified to declare that homosexuals are "a danger", equating it with proxenetism. The text of the law declares that the measures in it "are not proper punishments, but mere security measures, set with a doubly preventive end, with the purpose of collective guarantee and the aspiration of correcting those subjects fallen to the lowest levels of morality. This law is not intended to punish, but to correct and reform". However, the way the law was applied was clearly punitive and arbitrary: police would often use the Vagrancy laws against suspected political dissenters, using their homosexuality as a way to go around the judicial guarantees.[24][25]

However, in other cases the harassment of gays, lesbians and transgender people were clearly directed at their sexual mores, and homosexuals (mostly males) were sent to special prisons called "galerías de invertidos" ("galleries of deviants"). Thousands of homosexuals were jailed, put in camps or locked up in mental institutions under Franco's homophobic dictatorship, which lasted for 40 years until his death in 1975.[26] That year Franco's regime gave way to the current constitutional democracy, but in the early 70s gay prisoners were overlooked by political activism in favour of more "traditional" political dissenters. Some gay activists deplore the fact that reparations were not made until 2008.[27]

However, in the 1960s clandestine gay scenes began to emerge in Barcelona, an especially tolerant city under Franco's regime, and in the countercultural centers of Ibiza and Sitges (a town in the province of Barcelona, Catalonia, that remains a highly popular gay tourist destination). In the late 1960s and the 1970s a body of gay literature emerged in Catalan.[28] Attitudes in greater Spain began to change with the return to democracy after Franco's death through a cultural movement known as La movida. This movement, along with growth of the gay rights movement in the rest of Europe and the Western world was a large factor in making Spain today one of Europe's most socially tolerant places.

In 1970, the Law of Social Hazard provided for a three-year prison sentence for those accused of same-sex sexual intercourse.[29]

Kingdom of Spain (1975-present)

In 1979, same-sex sexual intercourse was legalized for the last and permanent time in Spain.[30]

Government of Zapatero: Same-sex marriage and parenting

Gay Pride 2005 celebrating Same-Sex Marriage Law in Spain

Same-sex marriage and adoption were legalized by the Spanish Legislature under the administration of Spanish Socialist Workers' Party prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in 2005.[31][32] As of 2006, the Spanish Administration is seeking to negotiate foreign adoption with other countries. In November 2006 Zapatero's government passed a law that allows transgender persons to register under their preferred sex in public documents without undergoing prior surgical change.[33] The law on assisted reproduction was also amended in 2006: children born within a female same-sex marriage from in vitro fertilisation treatment can be legally recognized by the non-biological mother.[34] Also, couples can have access to surrogacy if carried out in a country where it is legal,[35] but surrogacy is not legal inside the Spanish territory, being the mother's renouncement contract not valid legally.

Soon after the same-sex marriage bill became law, a member of the Guardia Civil, a military-police force, married his lifelong partner, prompting the organization to allow same-sex partners to cohabitate in the barracks, the first police force in Europe to accommodate a same-sex partner in a military installation.[36][37]


Europride 2007, in Madrid.

Homosexuality and bisexuality today are greatly accepted all around the country and intensely in larger and medium cities. In small villages and among some parts of society, there is still a certain level of discrimination. A Eurobarometer survey published December 2006 showed that 66 percent of Spanish surveyed support same-sex marriage and 43 percent recognise same-sex couple's right to adopt (EU-wide averages are 44 percent and 33 percent, respectively).[38]

On 4 March 2013

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Rome: Ancient". glbtq. 2004. Retrieved 14 April 2007. 
  3. ^ Suet. Claud. 33.
  4. ^ Theodosian Code 9.7.3: "When a man marries and is about to offer himself to men in womanly fashion (quum vir nubit in feminam viris porrecturam), what does he wish, when sex has lost all its significance; when the crime is one which it is not profitable to know; when Venus is changed to another form; when love is sought and not found? We order the statutes to arise, the laws to be armed with an avenging sword, that those infamous persons who are now, or who hereafter may be, guilty may be subjected to exquisite punishment.
  5. ^ Martial Epigrams 1.24, 12.42
  6. ^ Suetonius Life of Nero 28–29
  7. ^ "Priapeos romanos. Antología bilingüe latín-castellano". 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2007. 
  8. ^ a b Louis Crompton (2004). "Roman literature". glbtq. Retrieved 18 April 2007. 
  9. ^ Martial, 3.71.
  10. ^ a b Eugene Rice (2004). "Hadrian (76–138)". glbtq. Retrieved 14 April 2007. 
  11. ^ Theodosian Code 9.7.3:
  12. ^ (Theodosian Code 9.7.6): All persons who have the shameful custom of condemning a man's body, acting the part of a woman's to the sufferance of alien sex (for they appear not to be different from women), shall expiate a crime of this kind in avenging flames in the sight of the people.
  13. ^ Justinian Novels 77, 144
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Spencer, Colin (1996). Homosexuality. A history. Londres: Fourth Estate.  
  15. ^ a b Aldrich, Robert (Ed.) (2007). Gleich und anders. Hamburgo: Murmann.  
  16. ^ The poet Ausonius (310–395) maintained a passionate relationship with Paulinus, bishop of Nola. It is not known if that love was physical, but their passion was reflected in the correspondence they kept. The letters from Ausonius, 43 years the senior of Paulinus, also show his sadness regarding their separation when the latter intensified his Christian life. Even Saint Agustíne confessed to having homosexual lovers in his youth, although he would later reject that lust as sinful (Homosexuality: A history, Colin Spencer, ISBN 1-85702-447-8).
  17. ^ a b Cristian Berco (2004). "Spain". Retrieved 14 April 2007. 
  18. ^ Thompson, E.A (2007). Los Godos en España. Alianza Editorial. p. 307.  
  19. ^ Kamen, Henry, The Spanish Inquisition, p. 259.
  20. ^ George Semler (1 February 2004). Visible Cities Barcelona: A City Guide. Somerset, Limited. p. 19.  
  21. ^ Charles William Chadwick Oman (1980). A history of the Peninsular War: Oct. 1811 - Aug. 31, 1812, Valencia, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Madrid. AMS Press. p. 97.  
  22. ^ a b Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community in Spain
  23. ^ Spain
  24. ^ Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia. Gay
  25. ^ "La junta de protección a la infancia de Barcelona: Aproximación histórica y guía de su archivo" (PDF). Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  26. ^ Gays persecuted by Franco lose criminal status at last, The Guardian, Giles Tremlett, Madrid, 13 December 2001
  27. ^ BOE. "Disposición Adicional Decimoctava de la Ley 2/2008, de 23 de diciembre, de Presupuestos Generales del Estado para el año 2009". BOE. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  28. ^ Josep-Anton Fernàndez: Another Country: Sexuality and National Identity in Catalan Gay Fiction, Volume 50./Modern Humanities Research Association: Texts and dissertations, p. 1., MHRA, 2000, ISBN 1902653262
  29. ^ Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia, Volume 2
  31. ^ Spain gives approval to gay unions, The New York Times, Renwick McLean, 1 July 2005
  32. ^ "Disposiciones generales – Jefatura del estado" (PDF). Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  33. ^ "Spanish lawmakers approve bill to let transsexuals change gender without surgery". Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  34. ^ "Lesbianas podrán ser madres hijos 'in vitro' de sus parejas". Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  35. ^ Asociación por la gestación subrogada en España - ¿Cuál es la situación? (In Spanish) Retrieved 18 August 2014
  36. ^ "Spain Offers Legal Marriage". Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  37. ^ "El guardia civil gay ya puede vivir con su pareja en una casa cuartel". 28 January 2003. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  38. ^ "Eight EU Countries Back Same-Sex Marriage". Angus Reid Global Monitor. 24 December 2006. Retrieved 16 March 2008. 
  39. ^ a b Spanish interior minister says 'survival of species' at stake in gay marriage row, Fiona Govan, Madrid; 4 March 2013; The Daily Telegraph
  40. ^ Gay marriage, long legal in Spain, now in its dictionary, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2012, Emily Alpert
  41. ^ "Global Acceptance of Homosexuality".  
  42. ^ a b c
  43. ^ a b c d e Daniel Eisenberg. "Homosexuality in Spanish history and culture" (PDF). 
  44. ^ a b c d "La Homosexualidad en el cine Español". Web de Marele. Retrieved 3 July 2007. 
  45. ^ "Festivales de Cine LGTB". Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  46. ^ "Miguel de Molina. Apuntes biográficos". Isla Ternura (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 14 July 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2007. 
  47. ^ "Galería de fotos (Raphael)". (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 7 May 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2007. 
  48. ^ a b c "Musica". Retrieved 7 July 2007. 
  49. ^ "Gaycionero". El desván de Aarom. 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2007. 


See also

Indie pop has also treated homosexuality from different points of view, as the band Ellos, in the song "Diferentes" ("Different"), or L Kan in "Gayhetera" (Gayhereto). The duo Astrud has been related to the gay culture, being an icon to a very specific sector of the homosexual public. The leather subculture has the band Gore Gore Gays with themes that range from LGBT demands to explicit sex.[48][49] Within the indie pop universe many other bands produce songs almost exclusively for gay public, especially gay-friendly or with a clear gay content (Nancys Rubias, Lorena C, Spunky, La Terremoto de Alcorcón, Putilatex, Putirecords, Borrachas provincianas, Vanity Bear, Modelé Fatale, Dos Hombres Solos, Postura 69, etc.) and some drag queens have a successful career in music, such as La Prohibida or Nacha la Macha.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the new singer-songwriters also took up the subject, speciall y Inma Serrano, Javier Álvarez, and Andrés Lewin, but also Pedro Guerra in his song "Otra forma de sentir" (Another way of feeling), or Tontxu in "¿Entiendes?" (Do you understand?). Other artists with the most diverse styles also used the theme, as "El cielo no entiende" ("Heaven doesn't understand") by OBK, "Entender el amor" ("Understand love") by Mónica Naranjo, "El día de año nuevo" ("New Year's Day") by Amaral, "Eva y María" by Materia Prima, "Sacrifícate" by Amistades Peligrosas, "La revolución sexual" by La casa azul, "Ángeles" by Merche, "Como una flor" by Malú, "Da igual" by Taxi, "El que quiera entender que entienda" by Mägo de Oz, just to mention some examples.[48]

At the end of the 1980s, Mecano made a hit with the song "Mujer contra mujer" (Woman against woman), clearly defending the love of two women. There were French ("Une femme avec une femme") and Italian ("Per Lei Contro Di Lei") versions. The song was a huge hit in France in 1990 where reached #1 in charts during seven weeks. The song was also a hit in Latin America and is one of the most remembered of the group. Later they composed the song "Stereosexual", that talked about bisexuality.[48] In 1988 Tam Tam Go!, in the album Spanish shuffle, included the song "Manuel Raquel", the only song in Spanish in the album, that told the story of a transsexual. Tino Casal included in his 1989 album Histeria the very explicit song "Que digan misa".

It was not until the La Movida Madrileña that homosexuality became visible in Spanish music. The duo formed by Pedro Almodóvar and Fabio McNamara usually got dressed as women during their concerts, where they sung provocative lyrics. Tino Casal never hid his homosexuality and became an icon for many gays. Nevertheless, it will be the trio Alaska, Nacho Canut y Carlos Berlanga, in their different projects, from Kaka de Luxe, and Alaska y Dinarama until Fangoria, that will be identified from the beginning with the LGBT movement due to their constant references to homosexuality in their lyrics and their concerts. During their time as Dinarama they recorded the song "¿A Quién le Importa?" ("Who cares?"), that became the gay anthem in Spain. After the Movida, some of the artist have continued to make music with homosexual themes, as Fabio McNamara, Carlos Berlanga in songs as "Vacaciones" ("Holiday"), or Luis Miguélez, ex-guitarist of Dinarama and now part of Glamour to Kill.

The singer-songwriter Víctor Manuel has included in several of his songs LGBT subjects. In 1980 he released "Quién puso más" ("Who put more?"), a true love story between two men that ends after 30 years. Later he mentioned transsexuality in his song "Como los monos de Gibraltar" ("As the monkeys in Gibraltar"), feminine homosexuality in "Laura ya no vive aquí" ("Laura doesn't live here any more") and bisexuality in "No me llames loca" (Don't call me fool/queen).

In 1974, the folk rock band Cánovas, Rodrigo, Adolfo y Guzmán dared to talk about a lesbian relationship in the song "María y Amaranta" ("María and Amaranta"), that surprisingly was not detected by the censorship. During the Transition, the duo Vainica Doble sung about fight of a gay man against the prejudices of his own family in the song "El rey de la casa" ("The king of the house").

During Franco's dictatorship, musicians seldom made any reference to homosexuality in their songs or in public speeches. An exception was the copla singer Miguel de Molina, openly homosexual and against Franco, he had to flee to the exile in Argentina after being brutally tortured and his shows prohibited.[46] Another exception was Bambino, whose homosexuality was known in flamenco circles. Some songs from Raphael, as "Qué sabe nadie" ("What does anyone know") or "Digan lo que digan" ("Whatever they say"), have frequently been interpreted in a gay light.[47]

Special illumination of the Auditorio Kursaal in San Sebastián for Pride Day


The most-important LGBT film festivals are LesGaiCineMad in Madrid and Festival internacional de cinema gai i lèsbic de Barcelona (FICGLB). There are also many other smaller festivals and shows, including: Festival del Mar in the Balearic Islands, Festival del Sol in the Canary Islands, Zinegoak in Bilbao, LesGaiFestiVal in Valencia or Zinentiendo in Zaragoza.[45]

There haven't been as many films with a lesbian plot. The most renown may be the comedy A mi madre le gustan las mujeres (2002).

Undoubtedly Spain's most known LGBT person is Pedro Almodóvar. The director of La Mancha has often intertwined LGBT themes in his plots, and his films have turned him into the most renowned Spanish movie director outside Spain. Apart from Almodóvar, Ventura Pons and Eloy de la Iglesia are the two film directors that have worked on more LGBT themes in their movies.[44] In September 2004, the movie director Alejandro Amenábar announced publicly his homosexuality.

Recent successful films include Perdona bonita, pero Lucas me quería a mí (1997), Segunda piel (1999), Km. 0 (2000), the co-production filmed in Argentina Plata quemada (2000), Los novios búlgaros (2003) and Cachorro (2004).

Beginning in 1985, homosexuality loses primacy on the plot, in spite of still being fundamental. This trend begins with La ley del deseo (1987) from Pedro Almodóvar and continues with films like Tras el cristal (1986) from Agustí Villaronga, Las cosas del querer (1989) and Las cosas del querer 2 (1995) from Jaime Chávarri.[44]

During the Spanish Transition, the first films appeared where homosexuality was not portrayed in a negative way. Examples are La Muerte de Mikel from Imanol Uribe and Ocaña, retrat intermitent from Ventura Pons. In these films, authors experiment with different visions of the gay man: the transvestite in Un hombre llamado Flor de Otoño (1978), the manly and attractive gay, for the first time in Los placeres ocultos (1976) from Eloy de la Iglesia, the warring "queen" in Gay Club (1980), etc. Homosexuality is the center of the plot, and homosexuals are shown as vulnerable, in inner turmoil and in dispute with society.[44]

The beginnings of the representation of homosexuality in Spanish cinema were difficult due to censorship under Franco. The first movie that shows any kind of homosexuality, very discretely, was Diferente, a musical from 1961, directed by Luis María Delgado. Up to 1977, if homosexuals appeared at all, it was to ridicule them as the "funny effeminate faggot".[44]

Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz at the entry to the Prince of Asturias Awards in Oviedo.


On the publishing side, there are two publishing houses specializing in LGBT themes: Egales (founded in 1995) and editorial Odisea (founded in 1999). The first one has been awarding the "Terenci Moix prize" for gay and lesbian narrative since 2005; the second one has awarded the "Odisea prize" for gay and lesbian books in Spanish since 1999.

No lesbian authors in Spain publicly acknowledged their homosexuality until the 1990s. Gloria Fuertes never wanted her sexual orientation to be public. The first lesbian author to be openly gay was Andrea Luca. Other authors who have treated love between women in their books include Ana María Moix, Ana Rosetti, Esther Tusquets, Carmen Riera, Elena Fortún, Isabel Franc or Lucía Etxebarría, in her novel Beatriz y los cuerpos celestes, Nadal Prize 1998.[43]

Among the authors that appear after the Spanish Transition, are worth mentioning Juan Goytisolo, the most influential outside Spain, Luis Antonio de Villena, maybe the homosexual intellectual most involved in gay studies, Antonio Gala and Terenci Moix, both the most known gay writers, thanks to their appearances on TV. Other known gay writers are Álvaro Pombo, Antonio Roig, Biel Mesquida, Leopoldo Alas, Vicente García Cervera, Carlos Sanrune, Jaume Cela, Eduardo Mendicutti, Miguel Martín, Lluis Fernández, Víctor Monserrat, Alberto Cardín, Mariano García Torres, Agustín Gómez-Arcos,[43] Óscar Esquivias, Luisgé Martín and Iñaki Echarte.

About mid-1930s there was a slight liberalization that was cut by the Spanish Civil War. After the Civil War, with Lorca assassinated and the majority of gay and bisexual poets in exile, gay culture retired anew to the cryptic poetry of Vicente Aleixandre, who never admitted his homosexuality publicly. Other gay poets of this period are Francisco Brines, Leopoldo María Panero, Juan Gil-Albert and Jaime Gil de Biedma and, in Córdoba, Vicente Núñez, Pablo García Baena and Juan Bernier, belonging to the Cántico group.[43]

Others, like the authors of the Generation of '27, took refuge in poetry. The gay and bisexual poets of this literary movement were amongst the most influential in Spanish literature: Federico García Lorca, Emilio Prados, Luis Cernuda, Vicente Aleixandre and Manuel Altolaguirre. These poets were highly influenced by the great gay authors of the rest of Europe, such as Oscar Wilde, André Gide, mainly his Corydon, and Marcel Proust. At the time, Emilio García Gómez published also his Poemas arabigoandaluces, which included the pederastic poets of Al-Andalus.[43]

At the beginning of the 20th century, Spanish authors like Jacinto Benavente, Pedro de Répide and Antonio de Hoyos y Vinent had to choose between ignoring the subject of homosexuality or representing it negatively. The only authors publishing literature with LGBT content were foreigners: Augusto d'Halmar from Chile published Pasión y muerte del cura Deusto, Alfonso Hernández Catá from Cuba published El ángel de Sodoma and Alberto Nin Frías from Uruguay published La novela del Renacimiento. La fuente envenenada, Marcos, amador de la belleza, Alexis o el significado del temperamento Urano and, in 1933, Homosexualismo creador, the first essay representing homosexuality in a positive light.[43]


LGBT culture

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1979)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 1979)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment [42]
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services [42]
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) [42]
Same-sex marriage Yes (Since 2005)
Recognition of same-sex couples Yes (Since 1994 & 1997, with regional variation)
Both joint and step adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since 2005)
Gays allowed to serve openly in the military Yes (Since 1979)
Right to change legal gender Yes (Since 1997)
Equal access to IVF and surrogacy for all couples and individuals Yes (Since 2005)
MSMs allowed donate blood Yes (Since 2005)
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No (Not allowed)

Summary table

Among the countries studied by Pew Research Center in 2013, Spain is rated first in acceptance of homosexuality, with an 88% of society supporting the gay community compared to 11% who do not.[41]

[40] After seven years of legal same-sex marriage the definition of it entered the official dictionary of the country.[39] He also thinks that same-sex marriages shouldn't have the same protection under the law as opposite-sex ones.[39]

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