This week on Wednesday, the International day of PRIDE, the mayor of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, the municipal town hall that administrates Maspalomas & Playa del Inglés, inaugurated the main square of the famous Yumbo Centre officially naming it Plaza de la Diversidad, in honour of the local outstanding activist for equality who was instrumental in forming GLAY, the Gay & Lesbian Associates of Yumbo who founded PRIDE Maspalomas; by unveiling a plaque on one side of the square in the name of Dario Jaen, and on the other side of the square a shrine in memory of all the victims of AIDS
The central square of the Yumbo Shopping Center in Playa del Inglés is now officially named as the Darío Jaén Rivero Diversity Square (Plaza de Diversidad Dario Jaen). In the presence of Dario Jaen Rivero’s mother, sister and other relatives, the mayor of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Marco Aurelio Perez, opened a new event and outlined the history of this outstanding activist and his constant struggle for liberty on the island. The inauguration of this square was made, on International Pride Day 28 June 2017, in compliance with the plenary agreement of May 31, 2016, which unanimously decided to name the square to mark the LGBT struggle and the rights and equality of all people.
Mrs. Virginia Rivero García,Darío Jaén’s mother accompanied the tirajañero mayor in unveiling a plaque naming the central square in the Yumbo, to commemorate the support & agreement of the municipal Plenary for the nomination.
The municipal mayor, Marco Aurelio Perez, made reference to the fact that 48 years ago, the movement for LGBT equality began, emphasising the unanimity of all political groups in the Town Council in the recognition of Darío Jaén, along with the work of many other people, in the struggle within society to contribute to social justice for all, regardless of their orientation. He praised Darío, with whom he had worked daily as part of the municipal institution, highlighting his concerns towards the LGTB community, his great determination to achieve visibility and equality, as well as their work to establish information and assistance systems for People with AIDS.
Chary Jaén, sister of Dario, spoke on behalf of the family, expressing her mother’s pride in the square now taking the name of her beloved son, who has been formally recognised for his work, efforts and innovative spirit helping to shape the policies of the local area. She said that her brother had a dream of freedom and equality, and that this place commemorating her brother would help ensure that he will be remembered for his activism and defense of the rights of people with HIV.
ACES Shrine to The Fight Against AIDS
On the other side of the central square in the Yumbo, a memorial mural was designed, along with an engraved plaque, with a permanent red ribbon “dedicated to all people suffering from AIDS”, as the red ribbon symbolises struggle and hope in the fight against disease.
The people who gathered observed a minute’s of silence for the victims of this disease and the mayor also remembered that the ribbon symbolises that struggle, with his desire to turn the newly created red ribbon mural into an officially recognised space, to keep in mind that we all must continue working to help people affected by HIV.
The president of Friends Against AIDS (ACES – Amigos Contra El SIDA), Orlando Viera, expressed his gratitude, on this special day for LGTB people. He remembered the almost five decades it has taken to create the movement to fight for the freedoms of people of non-heteronormative orientations.
Also present were several members of the Municipal Corporation of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, relatives of Darío Jaén, the insular councilor for Social Policy, Elena Máñez, and groups of defense of equality and respect of society for diversity.
The current President of GLAY, André van Wanrooij, said “This day, June 28, is a special day within the worldwide LGBT community, as it is the date that embodies the beginning of the end to so much pain, suffering, and grief, that so many in the LGBT community had to, and in some countries still have to, endure just for being different.”
To mark the occasion GLAY built on their more than 16 years of work in the local community by organising an evening of Love, Liberty & Music, openly inviting local organisations to present live performances, speeches and acts of remembrance to mark this special occasion.
Van Wanrooij spoke of “three people who’s stories, struggles and actions motivate us to continue forward in life”
“Not so very long ago, on the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura, there was a concentration camp named Tefia, known as “The Auschwitz of Fuerteventura” where, amongst others, a Canarian named Octavio García Hernández was imprisoned simply for being a gay man. Some were imprisoned there even without trial, subjected to forced labor, and miserable conditions.”
“The camp officials were worse than hyenas” Octavio told El Dia newspaper in 2008, “They mistreated us, forced us to stand for hours, face to the sun, on the hottest of days”.
“They gave us Gofio Escaldado with onions but without oil, which is like eating dry powder, or peas full of weevils, or rotting sweet potatoes. We just closed our eyes and ate it because that was all we could do if we did not want to die”.
GLAY’s president then went on commemorate Stormé DeLarverie “the butch lesbian responsible for starting the first Stonewall riot at 1:20 a.m. on June 28, 1969.”
“That night Stormé, a brave woman of color, was hit on the head with a billy club and handcuffed. Bleeding she brazenly turned to the crowd and hollered, WHY DON’T YOU DO SOMETHING!?’ before being dragged, after a long struggle, into a paddy wagon and that’s when the New York scene exploded. That summer night a revolution began and it was this strong woman who is believed to have thrown the first defensive punch. That night the gay men, lesbians, drag queens and drag kings in the area decided for the first time to fight back! Exactly one year later, on June 28,1970, the first PRIDE March took place.”
“Instead of the festive PRIDE celebrations we see today, it was in those days a political demonstration in response to what had happened at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, New York, the year before.”
“In Spain, on June 28, 1977, the ‘Front d’Alliberament Gai de Catalunya’, the FAGC, organized the first Spanish GayPRIDE in Barcelona, at a time when homosexuality was still very much illegal. This PRIDE demonstration was severely repressed by police, with injuries to, and arrests of, many of the participants.”
In Maspalomas,” André van Wanrooij went on to say “last year we commemorated the victims of the June 12 terrorist attack on the LGBT club PULSE in Orlando, Florida. here on June 28, and in doing so, our local community embedded this historic date into the Maspalomas Calendar for the LGBT community.”
Maspalomas today hosts the first and last PRIDE events in the European LGBT calendar, AND now the International Day of LGBT PRIDE as well!
He described Darío Jaén as “a kind and nobel man who took upon himself the task of spreading the word of acceptance and diversity, and with the support of our Alcalde Marco Aurelio Perez, he founded our association GLAY together with several members of this unique and international LGBT community of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. Darío was the father of the very first GayPRIDE Maspalomas, which his GLAY had the honour to organize for the first 14 editions.”
“He was a man who lived for, and by, his principles of acceptance, equality, and inclusion for all, regardless their origin, gender, or sexual orientation. Darío Jaén brought people together and helped build a strong community!”
“Today we thank and honour Octavio Garcia, Stormé DeLarverie, Dario Jaén, and all the numerous gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, drag queens, drag kings, and transgender people, who have endured persecution and discrimination, who stood up for equality and acceptance, and who gave their best so that we as an LGBT community can enjoy our basic human rights today!”
“Let us honour their lives and make a stand against injustice and discrimination, at home, and wherever we find it in the world.
Let us celebrate their legacy and perseverance, to whom we owe our present freedoms!
And let us not forget the spirit of PRIDE and what it stands for!
It is up to all of us now to continue their path to a better, diverse, and more inclusive world!”