Former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is among those who spoke at a global LGBT and intersex rights conference that began on Monday.
“Spain is a rainbow country,” said Zapatero as he spoke at the opening of the WorldPride International Human Rights Conference that is taking place at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in the Spanish capital.
Hundreds of LGBT rights advocates and elected officials from Spain, Europe and around the world are attending the conference that ends on Wednesday. It is taking place during WorldPride 2017, which is expected to draw up to three million people to the Spanish capital through July 2.
Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena and Daniele Viotti, a member of the European Parliament who is from Italy, are among those who also spoke at the conference on Monday. Canadian MP Randy Boissonnault, who is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s special advisor on LGBTQ2 (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited) issues, was also in attendance.
Former Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who became the world’s first openly LGBT head of government in 2009, spoke before a panel that focused on gender equity. She said the issue and the global movement for LGBT and intersex rights are linked.
“There will never be gender balance or any other balance without freedom or love; brotherly love, sisterly love, romantic love,” said Sigurðardóttir as her wife, Jónína Leósdóttir, sat in the front row.