Juanito el pionero

Juan Curbelo, Juanito el Pionero, became one of the best loved characters in the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival. He was one of the pioneers, of the first people to hit the streets in fancy dress. His personality and the way he celebrated the Carnival festivities made him one of the most original representatives of Carnival at ground roots level. And with his particular way of interpreting the celebrations, he always said he considered himself to be the First Drag Queen of the festivities.

Good cheer just poured out of him. All the same, he had a very hard time as a young man. During the Franco dictatorship, he was locked up in the what was known as a correction centre for the reeducation of homosexuals in Tefia on the island of Fuerteventura. Juan Curbelo belongs to the first generation of gays who were imprisoned for their sexual orientation. At the age of 16, he refused to renounce his homosexuality and his stay turned into a cruel sentence which did not, however, ever take away his eagerness.