Spain’s first openly LGBTQ+ matador hopes to inspire more to come out

A matador in a bullfight in Spain

Spain’s first openly LGBTQ+ matador is hoping that more people in the notorious bullfighting industry will come out after watching him do it.

Mario Alcalde, 31, surprised everyone last month when he came out as pansexual in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

“I follow my own rhythm. My tastes, both political and sexual, are not common in the bullfighting world,” he told the paper at the time.

A matador and a bull in a bullfight in Spain
Spain’s first openly LGBTQ+ matador is hoping to encourage others to come out and form a community. (Getty Images)

“I’m pansexual. I identify strongly with the LGBTQ+ flag. Every person has their taste. I fall in love with the person inside, not their gender.”

Pansexual is a term that refers to people who are attracted to others regardless of their sex or gender identity.

The decision to come out to the public was not one that Alcalde had thought long and hard about. In fact, in a new interview with BBC News, Alcalde describes it as a spontaneous move.

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“The idea came to me… artists are very spontaneous. It came from my heart,” he told the news outlet.

The matador, who also works as a baggage handler at Madrid-Barajas Airport, found that coming out gave his profile an unexpected boost.

“I thought there was going to be a feeling against it but people are accepting it and in the best way possible,” he told the BBC.

Now, he’s hoping to inspire other LGBTQ+ bullfighters to follow in his footsteps.

“There have always been gay people in bullfighting, but they didn’t say anything.”

In the hopes of establishing an LGBTQ+ bullfighting community, Alcalde is planning to set up a brand new bullfighting club in Madrid’s LGBTQ+ neighbourhood Chueca.

One thing that might stand in the matador’s way is the controversy surrounding bullfighting as a sport.

In many parts of Spain, the blood sport which usually ends with the bull’s death is illegal.

As a result, bullfighting is often regarded as a conservative, traditional activity, which doesn’t tend to blend well with contemporary LGBTQ+ culture.

“Everyone in the LGBTQ+ community is anti-bullfighting,” Alcalde told El Mundo last month.

Proving his point, BBC News spoke to some LGBTQ+ locals to about their thoughts on bullfighting.

One individual named Juan told the news service:  “I’m not saying they can’t set up a bullfighting gay place, I just don’t think it fits the area. The whole bullfighting thing is very conservative.”

Another, named Fran, suggested that being a bullfighting supporter and a member of the LGBTQ+ community was a contradiction, but conceded that “everyone is free to have their own beliefs.”