Meet Emiel Wijnberg, one of the organizers of Maspalomas Winter Pride.
On June 28th, 1969 the Stonewall Riots kicked off a larger gay rights movement in the USA.
In 1970, the first gay pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago – today pride parades are taking place all around the world.
In 2018, I wanted to know who the people organizing today’s pride parades are, what the marches mean to them, and met wonderfully powerful, loving and kind people from places, which might not be the first ones that come to mind, when we think of queer love.
See all Faces of Pride.
What’s your name and age?
My name is Emiel Wijnberg and I am 43 years old.
Since when have you been involved with Maspalomas Winter Pride?
The organisers of Winter Pride Maspalomas, Michael, Emiel and Oliver were all also involved in the organisation of Maspalomas Pride in May which exists since 2001.
In 2014, the idea of Winter Pride was born and has grown since then with double figures and has become within a short time a reference on the international Pride calendar, welcoming over 50.000 visitors from all over the world.
Why do you think Maspalomas Winter Pride is important?
Gran Canaria and Maspalomas are one of Europe’s favourite LGTB destinations and is therefore the ideal place for our visitors to be who they are. But at the same time, our tropical island is only a few hundred kilometres away from countries on another continent where being who you are is neither allowed nor accepted.
Winter Pride Maspalomas celebrates life and at the same time calls for attention for those less free; for example with the Pride Walk where 15.000 people walk proud to show who they are and to show their support to those who cannot express themselves.
What is one (or two) remarkable thing(s) that has/have happened at Maspalomas Winter Pride?
It was the second edition of Winter Pride Maspalomas in 2015 when the Pride Walk was organized for the first time. The Walk was planned at 6pm, right after the famous “11th of the 11th”, the official start of the German Carnaval with a spontaneous gathering of thousands of people on the Maspalomas Gay Beach. Everything was planned and organized including a large truck with enormous sound system, live artists, DJs, security etc. When it was 5:45pm. The starting point was still empty.
We were getting so nervous and thought it would be a total disaster and nobody would show up. Then when it was 18:00 suddenly thousands of people came all at the same time from all directions and the first Pride Walk became a big success within a few minutes. This year we expect to welcome over 15.000 participants in the 4th edition of the Pride Walk.
What do you do when you are not organizing Maspalomas Winter Pride?
Winter Pride Maspalomas has grown so fast that the small team of organisers practically needs the entire year to plan the event to perfection. In the end, keywords for the organisation are quality, quality and quality.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Gran Canaria has so much to offer so I love going to the capital city of Las Palmas, visit one of the nice beaches, drive into the mountains and visit one of the old villages or bodegas.
Is there something you would like to say to the rest of the LGBT+ community?
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Not different, just love
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