7 Mar, 2024 @ 10:13
2 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: British LGBT+ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell urges Spain’s first pansexual matador to ‘turn his back on bloodsport’

BRITISH LGBTQ+ campaigner Peter Tatchell has urged Spain’s first pansexual matador to ‘turn his back’ on the ‘oppressive’ bullfighting industry. 

Mario Alcalde, a 31-year-old matador from Madrid, came out as pansexual in January. 

Now, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has sent Alcalde a letter (read in full below) imploring the bullfighter to see ‘the obvious parallels between the oppression of LGBTQ+ people and that of animals’. 

“Bullfighting is the ritualised killing of innocent animals, who have no choice but to enter the ring. They stand no chance of coming out alive. It is the killing of living, feeling beings for entertainment and pleasure,” writes Tatchell. 

Pansexual matador Mario Alcalde seen during a bullfight in Madrid. Credit: Cordon Press

“Our LGBT+ community has long fought against oppression and injustice.

“Not only is torturing animals to death in a bullring morally indefensible, it also flies in the face of the altruistic values we stand for as a community.”

Alcalde became the first bullfighter to publicly come out during an interview with El Mundo. 

READ MORE: Meet Spain’s first LGBT+ matador: Mario Alcalde, 31, comes out as pansexual

Despite confessing that ‘everyone in the LGBTI+ community is anti-bullfighting’, the pansexual matador is making it his life’s goal to start a bullfighting club in Madrid’s LGBTI+ neighbourhood, Chueca. 

He said: “I’m pansexual. I identify strongly with the LGBTI+ flag. Once you confess who you are to someone in the LGBT community and the person gets to know you, it’s nice because they begin to see it in a different light.

Bullfight On The Saturday Of The San Fermin Festivities In Pamplona
Thousands of bulls are killed every year in bullrings. Credit: Cordon Press

“I have to do things so that the community gets involved. They’ll come to watch me fight. At first, they’re very closed minded, there’s too much ignorance and they don’t know what bullfighting is all about.”

However, Alcalde has previously ruled out discussing politics, saying ‘artists shouldn’t do that’. 

Tatchell’s letter is part of animal rights group PETA’s support for the #NoEsMiCultura (Not My Culture) Popular Legislative Initiative, an anti-bullfighting campaign led by Spanish activists.

The movement aims to repeal the law that defines bullfighting as ‘cultural heritage’. 

It also tries to empower local communities to fight against bullfighting. 

READ MORE: WATCH: Matador wipes away ‘tears’ of dying bull in a ‘perverse’ move slammed by Spain’s animal rights group

They said: “Every year, thousands of bulls are tormented and slaughtered in bullrings around the world. They are repeatedly speared and stabbed until they are killed.

Peter Tatchell protesting against the infamous Section 28. Credit: Cordon Press

“Matadors may even cut off bulls’ ears or tails as trophies, sometimes while the animal is still conscious.”

The ‘sport’ has been the source of much controversy in Spain for many years and is banned in some autonomous communities like Catalunya. 

However, in many parts of the country it is still seen as a core part of Spanish identity and bullfights are regularly practiced.

Those who defend bullfighting often claim the animals ‘live a good life’ before they enter the ring. 

Australian-born Tatchell has dedicated his life to campaigning for human rights, especially for LGBTQ+ people.

He is also a vocal supporter of animal rights, saying “human rights and animal rights are two aspects of the same struggle against injustice”.

READ THE LETTER HERE: READ IN FULL: Letter from British campaigner Peter Tatchell to Spain’s first LGBT+ matador

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