Casco Viejo in Panama was the venue for the Gay Pride Panama 2019. This event has changed location many times, but for the second consecutive year it was held in the historic neighborhood of Panama City. Possibly it was going to be on the Cinta Costera in 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic it was decided to make it virtual.
Gay Pride History
Gay pride parades have been taking place since 1970. They started in various cities in the United States including Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. Initially the marches were for the “liberation” of gays, but in the 1980s they left radicalism and they began to be called “pride”.
These parades are always held in the month of June, usually the last Saturday of the month. This is to commemorate the 1969 riots in Stonewall, New York. Gay Pride Panama has been held as part of Word Pride since 2004 when a group from the Panamanian LGBTIQ + community decided to march together. In the beginning, they were small marches but it grew until 2011, when a better organized event was held on Via Argentina with the permission of the Mayor of Panama.
Despite the fact that same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Panama, the issue of tolerance for sexual diversity has greatly improved, especially in younger generations.
Gay Pride Panama
Every year a flag bearer is chosen to raise the flag on June 1. In 2019, the gay flag was raised in nine provinces of Panama. In the province of Panama, where the country’s capital is located, it was raised in the Plaza 5 de Mayo. This honor fell to Carolina Dementiev who was the standard-bearer. Likewise the festival’s empress, Deborath Humboldt, was crowned. In 2018, the standard bearer was Gaby Gnazzo and the activity took place in the Cathedral Square. A “pink egg” is also given each year, which is the award for the most homophobic person in Panama. The winner in 2019 was presidential candidate Marco Ameglio.
The 2019 gay pride march was held in Casco Viejo for the second consecutive year. Its motto was “breaking barriers and building bridges”. The parade started on 12th Street until it reached Plaza V Centenario where a presentation of music bands and DJs was held.
It was a very colorful party, with a gigantic rainbow flag, costumed mascots, colored powder, extravagant clothes and lots of makeup. Loud music accompanied those who walked the parade. Carriages also passed carrying the queens. Apart from a car where there were muscular men dancing shirtless.
Many people carried message boards defending equality. There were delegations from companies such as MAC and L’Oréal, in addition to embassies such as that of France and the United Kingdom. Local celebrities also were present.
Within the framework of the Gay Pride Panama celebration, events are held throughout the week. So it is good to stay in a hotel in Casco Viejo if you visit Panama that week. The events are very diverse, some are workplace related such as “the job I want” or “diversity and business inclusion”. Others are for parents explaining what to do if they have an LGBTIQ+ child. They touch on topics such as youth discrimination, bullying and school violence. Of course, there are also many parties including a lesbian festival, stand up comedy, drag show, art therapy, and hotel parties like Selina Casco, Hotel W Panama and La Concordia – Boutique Hotel.