I think it’s time to address the Mallorca lesbians comment, isn’t it?
If you’re not from a Catalan-speaking country, you won’t have heard about this, but people in Mallorca (Balearic Islands) are mad, and rightfully so.
This week was the beginning of Palma Pride Week, an event (named in English, of course) that is pretty much the textbook definition of the capitalist party Pride event. It’s held in Palma, which is Mallorca’s capital city, and organized by the association Ella Global Community.
The inauguration speech was given by Kristin Hansen (president of Ella Global Community), who has been living in the island for 15 years but was unable to give the speech in the island’s language (Catalan), because she has never bothered to learn it.
In the speech (in Spanish), she said that Pride is a good opportunity not only for LGBTI people to attend to it, but also “people from the countryside who have never seen a lesbian. They will come and say, ‘Look! A lesbian is just like any other person’. It’s important because you go 15 kilometres inside the island and the mentality changes.”
Of course, Mallorcan people have felt deeply insulted with this ignorant and prejudiced statement.
Legislation and the social normalization of LGBTQIA+ rights has been way more advanced in Mallorca than in Germany (where Kristin Hansen is originary from) for decades, and in the island there has been a grassroots LGBTQIA+ movement for longer than she has lived here. And this movement was born from the Mallorcan people, in all the island, and not from rich tourists nor only in the capital. The organization Ben Amics has been working since 1994. Same-sex marriage has been legal in the Balearic Islands since 2001, while in Germany it was only legalized in 2017.
The matter is easy: everyone wants to live in paradise, so many people from Northern Europe move to beautiful Mallorca or other sunny Mediterranean places; but nobody wants to live with its people. Hansen has showed absolute ignorance and disrespect towards Mallorcan people, accusing them falsely and acting like we need them Germans or Central/Northern Europeans to save us and bring us to progress. Well, that’s false. Mallorcans are way ahead of Germany when it comes to LGBTQIA+ rights, and they don’t go around saying “those backwards people from Hünstetten and Waltershausen will see a lesbian for the first time thanks to us!”
There are lesbians everywhere. And there are gay, trans, bi, ace, aro, intersex, questioning and queer people everywhere. But there are also self-centered and ignorant people everywhere. The Palma City Hall should not have left the organization of an event like this one to someone with this prejudiced mindset.
Mallorcan organizations are asking Ella Global Community to apologize for her words and to change the objectives of Palma Pride Week. Because, right now, this is how Kristen Hansen described the event: "We will position Mallorca as an LGBTQI destination. It's a business opportunity: LGBT tourism spends much more money than the average tourist, about 180,000 million dollars, and it's an interesting, learned, and pleasant tourism."
Exactly one day after the Federació d'Entitats Veïnals de Palma (Federation of Neighbour Associations of Palma) met with the city hall to demand measures against the massification of tourism and the gentrification it brings, Hansen said that they expect Pride Week will bring between 7,000 and 10,000 tourists to the Sa Feixina neighborhood in one week. She added "Then these people will come here and buy apartments. We make a living from tourism, from real estate, from ships", as if it were a good thing.
Palma Pride Week's programme is centered on conferences about entrepreneurship, yoga, and "soul worshipping" to make the collective visible and to make Palma "the cosmopolitan city we want it to become". No, Palma is a city where local people can barely afford to continue to live in, where massive tourism doesn't let them live their lives.
The interests shown by Ella Global Community and its wealthy members are aligned with the interests of rich owners who are making life hell for the inhabitants of the island. They don't represent the interests of Mallorcan LGBTQIA+ people. In their objective of creating a paradise for rich LGBT tourists, they are kicking out local people, including local LGBTQIA+ people.
Ben Amics organizes a Pride month too, this year titled "30 years of fight: rights and resilience", with a programme that actually aims to fight, raise awareness and discuss gender and sexual diversity and dissidence. Created by Mallorcan LGBTQIA+ people answering to their needs. If you are going to support a Pride event in Mallorca, be it this one.
I hate you tourism I hate you tourists I hate you cruise ships I hate you Airbnb I hate you binge tourism I hate you chain hotels I hate you gentrification and I specifically hate you tourism driven gentrification I hate you northern european and north american sense of superiority I hate you mass produced souvenirs I hate you tourists traps I hate the degradation of cultural landmarks I hate having to walk on eggshells in the place I live work + study in I hate I hate I hate I hate I hate