For the first time, the event, which was attended by several ministers from the ruling left-wing coalition, including Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, was broadcast live on a public television channel.

The demonstrators, many armed with rainbow flags, symbols of the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer and others), massed at the end of the afternoon behind a banner bearing the slogan of this 2022 edition: “Visibility, Pride and Resilience”.

Some carried squirt guns and doused themselves to cool off from the high heat. Others, shirtless, displayed their Instagram addresses on their backs or danced to the rhythm of Brazilian percussion or techno music.

This party “I missed a lot, the atmosphere is great”, told AFP Victor Romero Fernandez, a 38-year-old teacher from Madrid who came with friends. “We can see that people were very keen to party after so long.”

“I like to see the streets full again” but the parade “should be more demanding in terms of rights, it has become a big party, with floats transformed into discotheques (…) it’s a big business”, commented for his part Miguel Ángel Alfonso, a 44-year-old civil servant.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Spain in 1978, three years after Franco’s death. The country has since become one of the most open, authorizing same-sex marriage and adoption for same-sex couples in 2005.

It remains “important” to give “visibility” to homosexual people, underlined before the parade the Spanish Federation FELGTBI, deploring in a press release “increased hate speech”.

These speeches “undermine the foundations of social coexistence” and “endanger the progress made to date”, according to the federation, which took advantage of the march to show its support for the so-called “Trans” bill carried by the government. .

The text, which must be examined from the summer in Parliament, will allow a person to have their name and gender changed on their identity papers, on simple request, from the age of 16.

It would make Spain, if adopted, one of the few countries in the world to allow gender self-determination.