An LGBT+ centre in Madrid has been vandalised with homophobic and transphobic graffiti as tensions rise over a new “trans law” in Spain.
Prime minister Pedro Sánchez’s ruling socialist party has been accused of blocking a new gender-recognition law, which was put forward by far-left minority coalition partner United We Can.
Delays to the new law – which would allow citizens to get legal recognition of their gender without being forced to get a medical diagnosis – saw trans activists go on hunger strike outside the Congress of Deputies in Madrid last month.
Now, the headquarters of the Madrid Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual Collective (COGAM) have been vandalised, with graffiti reading “queer is misogyny” spray-painted on the outside of the building. COGAM’s headquarters are in Chueca, a central Madrid neighbourhood that has become known as a gay district in recent decades.
Other graffiti, which COGAM has denounced on social media and attributed to those who oppose the new trans rights legislation, reads “reproductive exploiters”, “sex ‘doesn’t equal’ gender” and “wrong body equal patriarchy”.
COGAM wrote on Twitter: “Those who have no arguments or reason use vandalism and violence. It will not stop us in our objective, which is equality in diversity, who wants a tight society and to their measure.
“Today, more than ever, mutual support, solidarity and activism.”
Pablo Iglesias, a mayoral candidate in Madrid, also denounced the vandalism saying that he “absolutely rejects” this “transphobic attack”.
“COGAM has been doing an essential job for many years so that Madrid is what it is today: a land of welcome and freedom for many LGTBI people. Faced with hatred, not a step back,” Iglesias added.
Carla Antonelli, an actress, LGBT+ campaigner and the first trans person to serve in Spain’s legislature (she serves in the Madrid Assembly) vowed that “the more attacks and more insults, the more necessary the law that guarantees the human rights of trans people becomes”.
Others on social media denounced the graffiti as a “hate crime” and said that “behind this crime there are names and surnames”.
Irene Montero, Spain’s equality minister, sent a message of support to the group on her Twitter account: “Neither transphobia nor homophobia can have a place in our society. LGBT+ rights are human rights.”