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Plans afoot for Spain's first retirement home for gays and lesbians
ThinkSpain , Monday, October 3, 2011

Building work on Spain's first ever retirement home for gay and lesbian residents is about to get underway on the outskirts of Madrid.

The project is the brainchild of the December 26th Foundation, which has formed a co-operative, recruited architects and designed a luxury, landscaped retirement complex - complete with 115 apartments, a gym, a spa and a restaurant.

There is space for yoga, Tai Chi and dance classes - and plans to house archive material for the first research centre on the history of the gay rights movement in Spain.

Designed to be "gay-friendly", the Foundation - named after the date in 1979 when the law used during General Franco's dictatorship to imprison homosexuals, or to send them for "cure" with electric shocks, was repealed - says the home will be open to anyone regardless of their sexuality.

"Gay old people have to go back in the closet when they enter retirement homes," explains Federico Armenteros, who runs the December 26th Foundation in Madrid.

"For many years, a lot of people believed that homosexuals were sick and sinners," Mr Armenteros says.  "That belief is more pronounced among older people, and hard to change".

Spain, still officially a predominantly Roman Catholic country, was among the first countries to legalise gay marriage and adoption.  Gay pride celebrations in Madrid are among the best-known and most extravagant.

The Foundation's co-operative system means members will cover 40% of the home's costs in advance while remaining funds will be sought from the banks.

(Picture : architect's impression of retirement home)

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