Benidorm to host a ‘fun, friendly, flirty’ Pride festival in stunning locations

The Balcony of the Mediterranean in Benidorm.

Brits’ favorite Benidorm is ready to celebrate Pride with a week-long festival, from 3 to 9 September.

Once a fishing village, the city in the Spanish province of Alicante has attracted tourists since the 80s and is now a popular sunny hotspot on the Costa Blanca.

British people seem to be especially fond of its stunning beaches, as the hilarious ITV show Benidorm proved for ten seasons.

Benidorm has also gained a reputation as one of the biggest LGBTI festivals in Spain. Started as a small event, Pride attracted 15,000 revelers in 2017.

Now in its eighth year, Benidorm Pride will celebrate the LGBTI community with seven days of events and parties.

Benidorm Pride festival

The stunning Voramar Roof Terrace. | Photo: Benidorm Pride Festival/Facebook

The fun starts in the gay village. This is nestled in the most picturesque, authentic part of the city, the old town, away from the hotel resorts.

On 3 and 4 September, visitors will have time to hit one of the many sandy beaches by day and explore the old town by night. The LGBTI village has more than 30 bars and restaurants to choose from.

The official opening party is on Wednesday 5 September in the breathtaking location of Mirador del Castillo, a terrace covered with rustic checkered tiles overlooking the bay.

The lineup for the night includes local artists, drag queens, dancers, and DJs.

This stunning setting will be the same as Thursday’s White Party.

The weekend has an early start with the Sandia Pool Party at Discoteca Penelope kicking off at 3pm on Friday 7 September.

By night, wear as little as you want – as long as it’s black! – at the Black Party at the main Pride auditorium.

The annual parade

The parade attracted 15,000 people last year. | Photo: Benidorm Seriously

Saturday 8 September is Pride parade day.

Whether you want to take part in a walking group, parade on a local business float or simply watch those marching in your best attire, Benidorm got you covered.

The march will start on Levante beach and then head to the auditorium Julio Iglesias.

After the parade, head to the T Dance Pride Party. This features the very best of Benidorm talent, singers, dancers, tribute artists, drag performers, and DJs.

And then, back to Discoteca Penelope for the big party by Kluster, one of the biggest names in the gay clubbing scene.

Cure the Sunday blues at the Pride Closing Party on Levante beachfront, hosted by another major club promoter Supermarxe.

Read more about Prides:

8 reasons why Benidorm’s tourist-takeover will never crush its Spanish spirit

These 31 pictures of Sitges Pride are smoking hot

17 of the most colorful pictures of this year’s Nepal Pride

Ancient temple city is getting its first Pride parade and it will be fabulous

a wide shot of an ancient temple at dusk

Gay sex is illegal in India and the LGBTI community faces a lot of persecution, but Pride parades are still popular. They’re a good way to show Indians that LGBTI people exist and they’re fabulous.

But not every city or even every state in India has come far enough to host a Pride parade.

For LGBTI people in the tiny eastern state of Odisha, life can be really tough. From regional areas to the state capital, Bhubaneswar, many experience mental health issues.

‘They are often isolated for being what they are, more prone to depression and sexual harassment, disowned by their families or discriminated at their workplaces and take years to convince themselves that it is a “phase” that will pass, or a disease, or something that needs meditation or medication,’ Bijaya Biswal, the organizer of the  inaugural Bhubaneswar Pride told Gay Star News.

So Biswal along with some other LGBTI people decided their city needed better visibility for the community. Not just so LGBTI people could parade, but to show those living in hiding they are not alone.

‘Too many people in Odisha suffer from mental health issues, bad marriages and stressful relationships with family members or workplace colleagues because of the burden of being a closeted individual,’ she said.

‘But by building a community, I wanted to facilitate that these people meet others like them and understand they are not alone. That they have others who understand their tragedies and struggles because they have similar stories. Community gives an individual a power to feel at home and that’s exactly what these events have resulted in.’

One of the posters promoting Bhubaneswar Pride it's an illustration of long hairy legs wearing rainbow heels

One of the posters promoting Bhubaneswar Pride. | Photo: Facebook

Intersectional, tribal, holy land

Representatives from three LGBTI organizations came together to plan Bhubaneswar Pride which is much more than a parade. So far organizers hosted queer poetry, literature and film nights before the big parade on Saturday 1 September.

‘In the bigger cities, there are established organizations who are working for the LGBTQ. So if you are in Mumbai or Delhi, you know where to go to find people who empathize with you,’ Biswal said.

‘In Bhubaneswar, this community seems missing because its invisible. This event will be a startup for the same, the growing and raising of a voice for the first time regarding the community. Hence, establishing that we are present here and we deserve to be visible.’

Odisha needs locals organizing LGBTI events because of the unique complexities in the state. Odisha’s cultural tapestries make it tricky to try to represent the diverse and hidden LGBTI communities.

‘Odisha is not a state where the majority is upper class. We are made up of the tribes, the construction workers who keep migrating, the displaced villages where industrialists have build their enterprises and the street vendors,’ Biswal said.

The advocate argued for a state like Odisha, LGBTQIA movements cannot exist in isolation. That they must be intersectional.

‘I am addressing not only LGBTQIA specific problems in the Pride, but the general social constructs of “shame”, “untouchability”, the majority deciding what is best for the minorities, class bias and sex discrimination within and outside the community, and the general idea about the freedom of love,’ Biswal said.

‘We will be talking about inclusion in general, from every perspective. Pride is just a stepping stone for our far-fetched dream.’

One of the posters promoting Bhubaneswar Pride

Bhubaneswar Pride is happening on 1 September. | Photo: Facebook

The fight is only just beginning

Biswal wants all kind of people to come along to the Pride parade. From the closeted LGBTI people so they can see themselves on the streets to ‘the homophobics who have malleable mindset’

‘Our events are for all those who need an open discussion regarding this which is so stigmatized in India,’ she said.

‘People from the community, people who are parents to children who identity as LGBTQIA+. [To] teenagers and school students who are still questioning their sexualities, lesbian women and gay men in heterosexual marriages, depression and suicide survivors who have a problem accepting themselves.’

She also hopes to recruit more people into the folds of advocacy and activism.

‘For the small ratio of community members who have made sense of themselves and are not ashamed of it, the fight has just begun. They must live dual lives,’ Biswal said.

 

Here are the best photos from Vietnam’s Pride which looked like so much fun

a man lies back on a giant rainbow flag

Thousands of people hit the streets of Saigon to celebrate the beginning of Pride season in Vietnam.

The VietPride Parade was the first of many LGBTI events happening around the south-east Asian country.

National celebrities and delegates from other Asian Pride festivals attended the Parade and other festivities.

Vietnam celebrated its first Pride parade in 2012 and since then the celebrations have become bigger and bigger.

The country is one of the most open to the LGBTI community and is believed to be one of the few in the world that never criminalized homosexuality.

But Vietnam still does not recognize same-sex relationships and LGBTI couples donot have the same rights as heterosexual couples.

The Vietnamese government is working on a new law which would give official recognition to trans people, but that is unlikely to come before the National Assembly for consideration before 2019.

Events like VietPride are helping raise awareness of LGBTI issues and the community is slowly gaining more acceptance in Vietnam.

Here are the 10 best photos from VietPride*:

1.

close up of a smiling woman with dark hair, she has different coloured horizontal stripes across her cheeks

VietPride in Saigon was a hit. | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

2.

a couple taking a selfie with a selfie stick on the red carpet one is holding open a rainbow flag

Love is in the air at VietPride. | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

3.

people standing under a horizontal rainbow flag they are smiling as they hold up the flag

Happy VietPride!| Photo: VietPride/Facebook

4.

a drag queen in an elaborate carnival costume with a big headpiece and feathers

Slay queen. | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

5.

a giant rainbow flag is dragged along the street

Rainbow Pride. | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

6.

a drag queen in a red swimsuit that reads 'bae watch' she is waving a small rainbow flag behind her head

Bae | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

7.

two women (possibly drag queens) in pink outfits on the red carpet with a man in a pink v-knit jumper

The stars hit the red carpet. | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

8.

9.

close up of a young person's face (their profile), they have a rainbow sticker on their face and a rainbow headband on their head.

Saigon kicked off Vietnam’s pride season. | Photo: Facebook/VietPride

10.

a group of people holding rainbow flags and fans stand on the side of the street watching the pride parade go past

Thousands turned up to celebrate VietPride. | Photo: Facebook/VietPride

*Photos have been republished with the permission of VietPride