How Madrid’s MADO became one of the world’s biggest prides

Two gay men kiss at Madrid Pride celebrations - one of the world's biggest
Credit: Madrid Pride

From a small gathering to one of the world’s largest prides, this is the story of Madrid’s MADO celebrations. 

Madrid Pride, known locally as Orgullo Madrid or MADO (Madrid Orgullo), has grown into one of the world’s most prominent LGBTQIA+ celebrations. 

Approximately 1.5 million people will descend upon Spain’s capital for what is a huge celebration of pride, protest, and partying. 

Its journey from very modest beginnings to a globally renowned event is a testament to the city’s vibrant culture, inclusivity, and relentless advocacy for LGBTQIA+ rights. 

Historical Roots and Early Growth

The origins of Madrid Pride date back to the late 1970s, a period marked by significant political and social change in Spain. The death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 and the subsequent transition to democracy opened the door for queer liberation to progress. 

For the LGBTQIA+ community, this period was particularly crucial. In 1978, the first Pride protest took place in Barcelona, and shortly after, similar movements began to emerge in other cities, including Madrid. Then in 1979, homosexuality was decriminalised. 

In Madrid, early pride events were small and often faced significant resistance and hostility. 


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These gatherings, primarily composed of activists and community members, were not just celebrations but also acts of defiance against a society that still harboured deep-seated prejudices.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the LGBTQIA+ movement in Madrid gradually gained momentum with the queer neighbourhood of Chueca taking a starring role. 

Key moments of growth

Several key moments have helped grow Madrid Pride into a global phenomenon:

1996 – Chueca Becomes the Epicenter: The neighbourhood of Chueca, historically associated with LGBTQIA+ culture, became the heart of Madrid Pride. The area’s transformation into a lively, welcoming district attracted both locals and tourists, solidifying its status as the central hub for Pride celebrations.

2007 – EuroPride: Hosting EuroPride in 2007 was a turning point for Madrid Pride. The event attracted hundreds of thousands of participants from across Europe, significantly boosting its international profile. The success of EuroPride demonstrated Madrid’s capacity to host large-scale events, paving the way for future growth.

2017 – WorldPride: Madrid’s selection as the host city for WorldPride 2017 marked another significant milestone. Drawing millions of attendees from around the globe, the event featured a diverse program of cultural activities, parades, and conferences. WorldPride 2017 highlighted Madrid’s commitment to LGBTQIA+ rights and cemented its reputation as a leading tourist and pride destination.

Spain’s inclusivity

The popularity of Madrid Pride has grown as alongside the increasing progress of LGBTQIA+ rights and inclusion into Spanish society. 

The legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2005 and robust anti-discrimination laws have created an inclusive environment that has given it a reputation as one of the most gay-friendly destinations in the world. 

Madrid’s residents and businesses also fully embrace pride, contributing to its festive and welcoming atmosphere that keeps drawing visitors back. 

And you can’t have a good pride without the community. Local LGBTQIA+ organisations, such as COGAM (Colectivo LGTB+ de Madrid) and FELGTB (Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gais, Transexuales y Bisexuales), play a pivotal role in making it happen. 

Madrid Pride 2024 


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This year’s event from June 28 to July 6, will see  LGBTQIA+  travellers from all over the world gather for nine days of parties, protest and pride. 

The week will also include a Human Rights Conference, the crowning of Mr Gay Pride Spain and culminates in the final day parade in downtown Madrid.

Visitors will also have all the sights of Madrid to see and can continue the party at other pride events across Spain.

Make 2024 your year to visit Spain! Visit to find out more, download the LGBTQIA+ brochure or speak to your travel agent.

Read next:

Spain: The top five LGBTQIA+ places to visit 

The Spanish pride events not to miss in 2024

Torremolinos: Spain’s small city with a big LGBTQIA+ heart

The Yumbo: A unique Spanish LGBTQIA+ tourist destination

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