This could’ve been a more thorough blog post, with additional great photos, had I attended the stiletto race for men (and women?), an awaited segment of Madrid Orgullo 2016. MADO for short, Madrid Pride is undoubtedly the most popular gay pride event in Europe.
I always wanted to feature Madrid’s gay-friendly barrio Chueca, where the run will be held, but it was unfortunate that I didn’t learn about the event in time. In fact, I almost missed the whole MADO affair if hadn’t been for its advertisement on event details plastered inside an ad street panel at the corner of Bravo Murillo and Capitan Haya Street.
So last Saturday, I took the Metro Line 1 that passes through Atocha station one and a half hours before the parade’s supposed start at 6PM. While I didn’t witness the whole event since I left way before it was finished, I made sure that I collected fine photographs for my blog.
I took shots immediately upon reaching Calle Claudio Moyano in front of Plaza Emperador Carlos V, near Retiro Park. People were everywhere and in a perpetual motion, running around and waving their flags, securing the poles to the sides of their banners, and watching other people. Participants focused on their makeup and costumes, prepping like they never prepped before. It was obvious that everyone was excited for the parade to start.
What’s also apparent was that people appeared bold and unabashed, and brimming with confidence. An effect of Tinto de verano (a popular Spanish alcoholic beverage), I suppose. Some walked back and forth, and then back again, in the middle of the street like it is a catwalk, excited to show off their costumes and look. After one strutted down in the midst of an enthusiastic crowd, another would follow and try to outdo him by performing crazier antics.
And, just when you thought you had seen the craziest costumes, a naked pair arrived, each parading a prosthetic reproductive protrusion that dangled from his waist, to the amusement of the crowd.
I saw at least two groups with members in revealing outfits, one of them tripped to their underwear. The most popular materials for costumes at the event were mesh cloth and leather, and anything that carries the LGBT colors.
Many loved to use the rainbow flag as an accessory, draping it on their back like a cape. A few others wrapped the flag around the waist like a skirt. One wore a small-sized flag like a headband, which was the right thing to do considering that afternoon’s intensely hot temperature. It was indeed fun, even exhilarating, to get shots of the crowd.
Overall, many looked really fabulous, except for a few, which to be frank, didn’t look so fabulous at all.
One thing that quite surprised me is that people willingly posed for anyone who requested to take photos. People did have the right to refuse, but in my case, everyone was accommodating. Those with cameras must have had a field day since every other person in the event was a beautiful subject of photography. I myself had a hard time in choosing which one to shoot first since there are just too many. It was a prolific day for me, having gathered enough blog-worthy pictures from the MADO event.
Hopefully, I have chosen well and posted the best, most colorful, and most fabulous photos in my Madrid blog.
This Gothic beauty walked down the whole route of the parade to the enjoyment of the spectators. Exuding confidence, she strutted with a fierce look on her face like she was a top model, stopping only whenever photographers requested to shoot her
The girl on the left, with the alpha and omega tattoo on her belly, thought I wanted her to take my picture. They gamely posed when I told them I wanted theirs. An attractive pair with comely smiles, brought close together by a beautiful lei of rainbow colors
Although there are many other Pride parades happening in different regions in Spain, such as Barcelona and Ibiza, the Madrid Orgullo is recognized as the biggest and most colorful parade event in the country
This pair wears the attire that suits the occasion – a pair of sunglasses, glitzy ties, and nothing else
The Madrid Orgullo is recognized as the most celebrated and attended pride event of them all. It is everyone’s observation that MADO has become more and more conventional throughout the years, in the sense that not only members of the LGBT community attend it but those with straight orientation as well
The Plaza de Cibeles above, an hour before the event. The whole area was filled by onlookers by the time the parade passed through it. Notice the LGBT flag hanging at the facade of the Palacio de Cibeles
Girls just wanna have fun! Notice the girl on the left holding a glass filled with the wine-like beverage known as Tinto de verano, very popular in the country and often compared to sangria. La Casera, a top brand, was sold in many corners along the parade area
This exquisite lady projects her stunning look for the camera. Apart from the stilleto race and the gay parade, activities were also held at Barrio Chueca, known as the gay district of the city and the biggest one in Europe
Rainbow flag flies high over participants as they march along Paseo del Prado. The parade passed through Plaza de Cibeles, with Plaza de Colon as the final stop, where parties, dancing, and fun activities happened through the remainder of the day