If you are travelling abroad over the summer but still hoping to spend a weekend at a Pride festival, even if it is not in your home city, Barcelona is a wonderful choice. Pride is a bright and colourful summer festival for the liberation of LGBTQ+ people worldwide, and Barcelona’s event is no exception.
The Catalan word for ‘pride’ is orgull. It’s very similar to the Spanish word, orgullo. 2023’s event was subtitled L’orgull de les nostres vides; ‘The pride of our lives.’
‘The pride of our lives’ has been the motto of Pride Barcelona 2023.
Though the event changes in minor ways from year to year, Barcelona’s most recent Pride was centred on two of the city’s public plazas: Plaça Universitat and Plaça Espanya. Over the week, Plaça Universitat hosted a stage for musical performances and rows of tables operated by local organisations and sponsors. Plaça Universitat is quite close to the centre of the city, and the red (L1) and purple (L2) underground lines stop there. Concerts also took place at the Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, adjacent to Plaça Espanya.
Pride 2023 culminated with a parade that proceeded from the Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies (‘The Gardens of the Three Chimneys’) to Plaça Espanya, former heart of Barcelona’s 1929 Universal Exposition. Many local LGBTQ+ organisations and businesses had floats in the parade, and many were stocked with squirt guns to cool off parade-watchers in the heat. Following the parade, the Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina was the stage for a series of concerts to a packed audience, continuing late into the night.
Since Pride takes place in the middle of the famously hot Spanish summer, anyone planning on attending daytime events such as the parade should pack water, a hat, and sunscreen if it’s a clear day.
The first Barcelona Pride took place in June 1977, two years after the death of dictator Francisco Franco, and just like the first Pride in the United States, it was born of protest. During the fascist dictatorship in Spain, homosexuality was criminalised, punishable by three years in prison.
In 1975, the year of Franco’s death, the Catalan Front for the Gay Liberation (FAGC) was established to openly protest for reform of the laws criminalising homosexuality, which remained in place despite the transition to democracy. In 1977, Barcelona’s first Pride took the form of a protest on Las Ramblas with an estimated 4000 in attendance.
Homosexuality was decriminalised in Spain two years later in 1979, and today it’s one of the most progressive countries in Europe and in the world when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. As in many other countries worldwide, Pride now serves as both a celebration of how far LGBTQ+ rights have come and a reminder that there is still more yet to do.
Produced in association with El Nacional En