[2010-07-04 Latin American Herald Tribune]
Sunday July 04, 2010
Transsexuals Take Leading Role in Madrid’s Gay Pride Parade
MADRID – Thousands of people paraded Saturday [2010-07-03] through downtown Madrid in a festive, colorful march giving visibility of transsexuals, a group that took the leading role in this year’s Gay Pride demonstration in Spain.
The parade attracted, according to the organizers – the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals, or FELGTB, and Madrid’s COGAM gay-rights organization – more than a million people, a number similar to previous years.
The banner at the head of the parade, with the slogan “For Trans Equality,” was carried by Spain’s minister of equality, Bibiana Aido, who joined in minutes after the event began, together with other representatives of leftist political parties.
Marching with them was the Israeli transsexual Suku Alexander, representing the gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals of Israel, after the organization barred the presence of the Tel Aviv float for not condemning the attack on the so-called “Freedom Flotilla.”
Both the politicians and the organizers voiced their complaint that even now in the 21st century transsexuals are officially considered sick people.
Spain’s minister of equality recalled that the Spanish government has urged the World Health Organization to remove transsexuality from the international classification of illnesses.
For his part, the president of the FELGTB, Antonio Poveda, said that “transsexuals, the most vulnerable group in our world, must have the same rights that we already enjoy as lesbians, gays and bisexuals.”
Besides transsexuals, the March of Pride commemorated this year the fifth anniversary of Spain’s enacting the law allowing same-sex marriages.
For that reason, the first of the more than 30 floats in the parade was for diverse families: a double-decker bus in which families of lesbians, gays, transexuals and bisexuals displayed the realities of their lives.
The organizers again insisted that the demonstration is basically a protest, though in fact it becomes a festival of fun to attract participation.
To the rhythm of drums and the sound of songs that have become classics in parades of this kind, such as “A Quien Le Importa” (Who Cares) by Alaska, the demonstrators crowded the streets of downtown Madrid dressed in the most widely diverse and flamboyant costumes while carrying flags with all the colors of the rainbow.
The manifesto read at the end of the march insisted that transsexuals have the right to be treated as they were born, as what they have really always been.
And to achieve that, they have asked for an overhaul of the educational system because it does not acknowledge the existence of this diversity; of the health system, so that “in every community the transsexualizing process can be attended to”; of the mind of those who believe that transsexuality is a sickness; and of the workplace with its measures of discrimination.
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