“Los Palomos”, a gay pride festival in rural Spain

Sara Rodriguez Romo | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The year was 2011. The mayor of Badajoz, a city located southwest of Spain, said on the radio: “we do not have limping pigeons (a pejorative way for addressing “gay people”) in our city. Whenever we see one, we cast them aside. Here, thank God, we are all healthy people”. This statement, as expected, caused a huge revolution in social media. It has even reached the national media. Then, the journalists of the popular evening show “El Intermedio”, which analyses the daily news with humor, mentioned jokingly that in response to this statement,  a whole caravan full of gay, lesbian, transsexual people along with their supporters, should be sent to Badajoz. The idea started as a joke. However, it was taken very seriously. 

Shortly after that, the show's producers started to organize the actual caravan. They hired two buses from Madrid and sent them to Badajoz. There, they got together with the local supporters of the LGTB community. The meeting point was the “Plaza Alta”, the main square of Badajoz. The anchors of the show were there for the party, as well as the singer Falete, a famous gay icon. Over 13,000 people came that day to prove the mayor wrong; the people of Badajoz are definitely not homophobes

Picture © Credits; Francisco Antonio Narciso Narciso

When the hotel industries counted the earnings of the day, they realized that they had gained way more money than in the Carnival period (which is the second biggest in Spain). Thus, the mayor had to "rectify" and embrace the cause. The following year the local LGTB associations took over El Intermedio's initiative and they have been the organizers of the Festival ever since. 

By 2014 it was already clear that the main square was not big enough to receive all the visitors. Two new beautiful spaces were added to the cause: the Alcazaba and Puerta Palma. The Alcazaba is the ancient Arabic castle of Badajoz, built in a huge park that overlooks the river Guadiana. The Puerta Palma was the main gate to the city, in front of the XVIth century bridge. Here, people can come with their own drinks to listen to Dj’s. Up in the park, one cannot enter with drinks (they have to be bought there) but in any case, everyone can simply enjoy a variety of concerts for free. 

The ambiance is great. Everybody, gay or not, are dressed up and party together. The attendance has been since growing. In 2019, 32,000 people came to Los Palomos -yes, the name stuck so nobody forgets the reason why it was first created. In 2020, it will be already its 10th edition. Rumour has it that they are preparing something really really special. That’s great, but the important lesson here is that statements like the one from the mayor should always be confronted. And this was definitely the best way to do it!

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