Dateline Lisbon… Spies, Suspense, Action!

In the 1940s Lisbon must have been quite a fascinating place to be: the only neutral port in Europe, a gateway to the US and away from the terror of WWII, a place where spies from all over the world mingled with refugees from all over Europe. Remember Casablanca? They fled to Lisbon. James Bond? Well.. it seems even he was “born” in 1940s Lisbon. Here is another little ingot from those times: A radio play from the 1940s about a foreign correspondent, based in Lisbon and accused of murder.

Transfer yourself to 1940s Lisbon, to a lobby full of spies and some good old time mystery! And for more about this fascinating time in the history of the city… check out this post on Huffington.

LGBT Sports in Lisbon

In this recent post I lamented (or maybe just ignorantly assumed) that the list of LGBT+ sports clubs in Lisbon is “short”. Well… let me come clean: I was wrong, there are a few. So trying to bring them together, here are the ones I have found out about so far.

Basically from what I could find out, there are two main “groups” offering sports: BJWHF (Boys Just Wanna Have Fun) and ILGA. Each of these offer a variety of different sports options … so here is a handy list, listed by day, sports type and link to further information/address.

Day Sport Organiser Address
Monday Volleyball BJWHF http://bjwhf.weebly.com/info1.html
Football BJWHF http://bjwhf.weebly.com/futebol-bjwhf.html
Tuesday Rugby BJWHF http://bjwhf.weebly.com/info2.html
Dance (Tango) BJWHF http://bjwhf.weebly.com/tango.html
Wednesday Running BJWHF http://bjwhf.weebly.com/corrida-bjwhf.html
Swimming BJWHF http://bjwhf.weebly.com/info.html
Yoga (Lunch time) ILGA https://www.facebook.com/CentroLGBT/
Thursday Football BJWHF http://bjwhf.weebly.com/futebol-bjwhf.html
Dance (Kizomba) ILGA https://www.facebook.com/CentroLGBT/
Running ILGA https://www.facebook.com/CentroLGBT/
Friday Rugby BJWHF http://bjwhf.weebly.com/info2.html
Volleyball BJWHF http://bjwhf.weebly.com/info1.html
Saturday Running ILGA https://www.facebook.com/CentroLGBT/
Swimming ILGA https://www.facebook.com/CentroLGBT/
Sunday Tennis ILGA https://www.facebook.com/CentroLGBT/
Football ILGA https://www.facebook.com/CentroLGBT/
Swimming BJWHF http://bjwhf.weebly.com/info.html

 

As always: If you know of any other sports clubs/meetings… please share it below! Many thanks!
P.S. Thanks to @BJWHF for reaching out and updating some of the dates in the earlier version!

 

Establishment Day of the Republic – 05 October

OK, so yesterday I wrote all about scheduling – and here comes the first scheduling “mistake” – forget bank holidays! So… Little did I realise that today is “Implantação da República”, a bank holiday to commemorate the establishment of the Republic of Portugal in 1910 (if you are historically minded, here is a quick summary of the events). I only figured out that it was going to be a bank holiday after I had finished my work on Tuesday and was reading the news before heading to bed…  there was an article about 30ºC and going to the beach in one of the papers, and I thought it was rather strange that a newspaper would suggest to skip a day in the office… and head for the beach instead (especially in a country in which good weather isn’t exactly earth shattering news!).

Digging into the article a little deeper, I discovered that it was indeed talking about a mid week holiday: talk about a treat! Luckily I don’t have to go to an office – as I’m sure I would be very annoyed if I would have turned up there only to find out it was closed! This actually happened to me once while I lived in Spain, so it is better not to be repeated… I know, as a freelancing, writing kind of guy this doesn’t or shouldn’t immediately make much difference to me… but at least I now know a bit more! Intriguingly the holiday day was apparently scrapped in 2013 as part of austerity measures in Portugal. But, it has been brought back to life under the current government.

I tried to find out a bit more if there are any traditions associated to the day, but it appears it is largely a ceremonial day for the political classes – rather than something that is more widely celebrated. So, no special cakes, pastries or drinks – but simply a day off – unless you are (un-)lucky enough to stand on the balcony of Lisbon city hall … The only other “regular” event I could find was the opening of the gardens of the Presidential Palace in Belém (am I forgetting something here? Let me know!)

Of course this year is a bit special, as it sees the opening of the new museum in Belém (MAAT Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia) – an absolutely stunning building in the touristic and somewhat political hotspot that is Belém. Coincidentally, it now also makes sense to me why the museum would open on a Wednesday!

So … even if it is “just” a nice and quiet day, it is lovely to find out that there is suddenly a bank holiday. I have now googled and entered all the holidays in my calendar … so next time I’m prepared (for All Saint’s Day as it seems, on the 1 November!). So… in that spirit: Happy Establishment of the Republic Day!

 

Albufeira … Coast, Cliffs, Beaches

Our weekend away was pretty much an exploration of the coast around Albufeira. Prior to heading there, I had fairly little idea what we would find. I somehow imagined that it would be a bit like some of the Costas you can find in Spain: with large hotels and long beaches. To come straight to the point: It is not, although it has some aspects of it.

Albufeira itself is a pretty cute little town. Continue reading “Albufeira … Coast, Cliffs, Beaches”

Weekend… Off to the coast by Rail

One of the great advantages of being in a small country is that everything is really (relatively) close by… which, of course, in the case of Portugal, means stunning coastline and beaches are literally just minutes away. And although Lisbon has some amazing beaches (see the post about Praia 19 – the “Gay Beach of Lisbon”), a friend and I decided to check out the Algarve last weekend. I’ve split this post into two: First, a post about the train ride (with some hints about trains in Portugal) – and then a second post about Albufeira (coming soon) Continue reading “Weekend… Off to the coast by Rail”

Praia 19 – The Gay Beach of Lisbon

Praia 19 – or Beach 19 – is the “must do” gay beach after partying all night in Lisbon – or maybe just to top up your tan (without the tan lines if you so wish).   I had been to Lisbon a few times, but as I’m not really a beach person (sorry, I get bored too easily), I hadn’t been to this mystical wonderland of sun, sand … and men.  Nevertheless, I decided to check it out – and so here is the “lowdown” on the beach some people call the best gay beach in Europe… Continue reading “Praia 19 – The Gay Beach of Lisbon”

The first 48 hours of Lisbon: Arraial Pride

IMG_7692Friday was finally the day, and it was “bye bye” to Brexit-land – and hello to Lisbon.  Of course, I didn’t expect my leaving day to be quite such a dramatic day in the British and European landscape… However,  Brexit certainly had quite an effect on what I planned as a quiet traveling day, and just before hitting the second of the Lisbon Pride celebrations, Arraial Pride, the day after arriving. Continue reading “The first 48 hours of Lisbon: Arraial Pride”

From Wuppertal to Lisbon – a Cultural Journey

SchwebebahnIf you are now wondering what Wuppertal is… I totally get you. Few people have ever heard about it… Wuppertal is actually my home town in Germany, and the place I grew up in, until I left for London in the 1990s. Wuppertal is famous a few things though: Aspirin came from Wuppertal, Engels, one of the original authors of the communist manifesto – and it has a railway that hangs upside down (and that is the defacto mode of transport in the city). As far as similarities with Lisbon are concerned, it is hilly, too. And that pretty much sums up the similarities.
So… what is Wuppertal doing in a blog about Lisbon? Well, just as Lisbon has inspired many artists, some artists with a connection to Wuppertal have been inspired in and by Lisbon. And here are two examples … Continue reading “From Wuppertal to Lisbon – a Cultural Journey”

A short history of Gay Portugal – From the Carnation Revolution until Today

IMG_7071The Carnation Revolution swept away the fascist regime of the Estado Novo on April 25, 1974. However, despite the return to democracy and fundamental changes in Portuguese society, advancement to become one of the most liberal countries worldwide in terms of gay rights was a slow progress.

First gay rights organisations emerged shortly after the Carnation Revolution.  Although homosexuality was still technically illegal, Lisbon started to have a more open gay scene. Although unofficially gay bars had existed in the Bairro Alto district, bars and clubs became more overt following the revolution: Lisbon’s oldest, still existing gay bar, Finalmente, opened its doors in 1976, presenting nightly drag shows until today. MHAR, Movimento Homossexual de Acção Revolucionária was the first official LGBTI+ organisation, established just one month after the April revolution.However, these organisations lacked support of both the government as well as a support base in the traditionally more progressive left-wing parties. Nevertheless, homosexuality was decriminalised, between consenting adults, in 1982.

avAs in other countries AIDS changed the face of gays in Portugal: National organizations such as the Comissão Nacional de Luta Contra a SIDA [National Commission for the Fight against AIDS] and the charity Abraço brought increased visibility to gay life. The death of António Variações, a high musician, as a result of AIDS, widely  shocked Portuguese society in 1984.

During the 1990s, gay life in Portugal underwent dramatic changes: The Partido Socialista Revolucionário (a predecessor of today’s Left Bloc Party) was the first political party to call for an end to machismo, homophobia and discrimination in 1991. Organisations, still active today were established: ILGA Portugal, established in 1995, and Opus Gay (1999) emerged, and Lisbon became home to the first Arraial Pride in 1997 – and the  Marcha Nacional do Orgulho LGBT. The LGBT Centre of Lisbon opened in 1997, and, also in 1997 the first film festival established in the Portuguese capital was the “Festival de Cinema Gay e Lésbico de Lisboa”,  known as QueerLisboa.

The new Millennium
If changes during the 1990s were seismic and dramatically changes in attitudes, the new millennium saw an increased focus on establishing equal rights, particularly in the eyes of the law: In 2001 civil partnerships between same-sex couples were introduced. In 2003, workplace discrimination was outlawed. In 2004, the original constitution of 1975 was amended to prohibit any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation, and in 2007 the Penal Code was amended to exclude all mentioning of homosexuality and amended to include specific laws criminalising  discrimination because of sexual orientation  and laws in relation to homophobic crimes.  From 2009 mandatory sex education in schools started to include LGBTI+-related topics, and in 2010 the blood donation ban for gay and bisexual men was lifted. Marriage equality was achieved in 2010, although this originally excluded the right to adopt children. This last restriction was lifted in 2015, and the right to adopt children was granted to same-sex couples. Finally, in 2016, assisted reproductive technology, such as invitro-fertilisation was allowed for lesbian couples (and single women).

Today, Portugal ranks as one of the most liberal countries in Europe according to the ILGA Rainbow Europe ranking. Jointly with Spain, it holds the 4th position in Europe with a human rights score of 70%, just behind Denmark, and ahead of countries like Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.

Please bear in mind that I’m not a historian (nor Portuguese for that matter…), but just compiled this based on my reading. It would be great if you could add any omissions or corrections below! Thanks!… Of course, I also realise that I have mostly focused on gay items. I hope I can find out more about lesbian and trans history in the future and share it here!