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A Nation’s Pride

THE TEAM – CORK PRIDE

Pádraig Rice

Co-ordinator of the Gay Project (@GayProjectIRL) and a volunteer member of the Pride Committee

“Pride creates visibility of the LGBT+ community. This is of huge importance, particularly for younger people. It lets them know that they are not alone. In recent years, Pride has provided an opportunity to create visibility in the workplace. We have been very fortunate to get great support from companies in Cork – without whom a festival of this scale wouldn’t be fi nancially feasible. When businesses step up to support Pride it sends a signal to their LGBT+ employees and customers that theirs is an inclusive workplace where they are free to be their authentic selves. The visibility created through the media partnership with RedFM and the Irish Examiner is also crucial – I think in particular for LGBT+ older people.

Pride is also an important opportunity to celebrate gender and sexual diversity. During Cork Pride, LGBT+ people feel freer to hold hands in public, to dress as they wish and just to be their true selves.

Finally, Pride is an opportunity to make connections, meet new people and reconnect with old friends. It provides a space to talk about the issues facing the community and how we might tackle these collectively.

The roots of Pride are in protest. As a country we have made such signifi cant progress on LGBT+ issues over the last 30 years. It’s time now to ensure that LGBT+ people are safe, supported, healthy and visible. Pride gives us an opportunity to advance that - be that collectively calling for hate crime legislation, raising the issue of trans healthcare or creating awareness on sexual health issues like PrEP or U=U. This year we will drawing a focus to those protest roots with our theme – ‘Stonewall 50 Years Proud’.

The Cork LGBT+ Pride Festival is all about family, diversity and community. It kicks off on July 27 with a Rainbow Run with the newly formed Cork Frontrunners, and Pride by the Sea in Youghal and Clonakilty. The following day is the annual Family Fun Day in Fitzgerald’s Park from 12pm – 6pm. There will be live music, a dog show, Gay Olympics and Yoga for Kids.

On Monday 29, at 6pm in the Gay Project we have a great panel lined up to talk about LGBT+ rights both local and international. It includes former Chair of the NXF and Co-Director of Together for Yes - Ailbhe Smyth, CEO of LGBT Ireland - Paula Fagan and the new Chair of the UCC LGBT Society - Max Shanahan.

The Welcome to the Community Night is aimed at those just coming out, people who have recently moved to Cork or those who are only joining us for the festival. Ireland’s fi rst lesbian MEP and former Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh, will be joining us in Perry Street café from 6:30pm on Tuesday 30.

Other highlights are the Gaze Film Festival Cinema Night in St Peter’s Church on Wednesday 31 and the Community BBQ hosted and sponsored by VoxPro on the evening of August 2.

The main event, the Parade and Afterparty takes place on August 4 assembling on Grand Parade from 12pm. We are expecting thousands of people to join us as we march through the streets of Cork in a celebration of love, of progress and of our diverse LGBT+ family.”

Clive Davis

Chairperson Cork LGBT+ Pride Festival

“This year we once again have something truly momentous to celebrate; 50 years of Pride. Stonewall could have been just another minor skirmish between the LGBT+ community and the police in 1969, but this time it wasn’t; this time, the community fought back, and fi nally said, ‘enough is enough’! This single event changed the world for LGBT+ people, and sent out a clear message - we will not go quietly, we deserve respect, we demand equality, we are now visible, and we’re here to stay. Things could have been very diff erent for us all if Stonewall hadn’t happened, indeed many of our community that went before us would perhaps scarcely believe the progress we have made in the relatively short intervening years.

The Cork Pride story began many years ago, with a few brave individuals marching down Patrick Street; today, Cork Pride is an eight day festival with over 30 events held across the county which brings thousands onto the streets to celebrate with us.

Our history has shown us that it takes individuals to start change – but a community to activate it. Change activators are all around us; they are in our LGBT+ community centres, they are at LGBT+ social groups, they are at Pride meetings - change doesn’t simply happen, it needs to be driven. Getting involved helps, don’t leave it for others to do - we all need to play our part.

Wishing everybody a safe and happy Cork Pride!”

www.corkpride.com

RORY RAFFERTY

Newry Pride

Pride is extremely important to the LGBT+ community in Newry in terms of visibility, integration and support. The tagline is; ‘Proud of who you are and where you’re from’ - which encompasses everyone. There is no doubt that Pride is even more important in smaller towns and rural areas where events and support are not necessarily available year round.

Pride is multifaceted. It is a celebration of love, our lives and how far we have come politically and in terms of rights, but equally it is an opportunity to refl ect on how far we have still to go. It is a protest against the inequality that still exists, with particular emphasis on the lack of marriage equality still faced in the north of Ireland.

Given the proximity to the border it has become an illustration of the diff ering experiences between counties just a few miles apart. Given these reasons, Pride In Newry was awarded UK And Ireland Pride status for 2019 to be a ‘Beacon Pride’ - sending a strong message to those who wish to continue to deny our rights. Bizarrely, political will is still refusing to recognise the popular will to support equal marriage, overturning democracy. We intend to maximise this opportunity by delivering our biggest and best celebration to date with 10 days of events and a spectacular fi reworks display. All completely free and welcoming to all!

I think the LGBT+ community can carry the spirit of Pride throughout the year by living their best lives in defi ance of the face of practiced bigotry, and by calling out homophobia wherever they see it. In the North, we continue to march and rally for our rights separately from Pride events. This is something that will continue to happen until such time as our voices are fi nally heard.

www.prideinnewry.com

CATHY BLAKE

Mayo Pride

Mayo is a rural county with mainly small towns and villages, there are no gay bars and only a few known LGBT+ friendly venues. The community can often feel isolated and alone. Pride gives them a sense of belonging and pride in themselves and in their own county. The older community are often living alone fearful of coming out. We hope they take some comfort from the support usually shown by the wider community at Pride.

I am a mother of two LGBT+ children, I am very passionate about equal rights for everybody. I don’t think I realised the impact organising a Pride Parade in Mayo would have, some were worried that it would be a failure and have a negative eff ect on the community. Thankfully that has not been the case so far. I see Pride as a platform to educate the wider community and to show love and support for our LGBT+ gang.

Our theme, and our aim, is ‘Unity in the Community’. We will have a fl ag raising ceremony to which the town councillors will be invited, followed by a comedy show on Friday night organised by Ireland’s only gay Traveller comedian - Martin Beanz Warde. Saturday we will hold our Parade followed by a few words from our guest speakers. Our Grand Marshall is Paula Fagan, Co-ordinator of the LGBT Helpline. Our Pride party is a cabaret show with Paul Ryder and a number of drag kings and queens.

For the rest of the year I hope that the community will look after and support one another. It’s so much easier to talk to someone who understands you, so reach out to just one person who is confused, alone or feeling vulnerable and off er them support. Discourage discrimination and victimisation - promote ‘Unity in the Community’.

www.mayopride.com

CHRIS MCNAGHTEN

Larne Pride

This is the fi rst Pride Larne has every held, it’s a huge statement for the town to make. The support has come majorly from the people living in our town. Our council is made up mostly of the DUP and interest from the council has been bleak, apart from great support from Alliance councillors. So it’s important that we, together as a community, run and support this event!

There is very little LGBT+ support in Larne, and LGBT+ youth have had to travel outside the town for any support or youth groups, etc. So it’s massively important we start this event with a bang and use it to grow future LGBT+ support all year round!

Everyone has a diff erent view on what Pride means and what it should be about. Our Pride in Larne is a celebration to show how our community as a whole accepts and loves one another, and also a individual celebration of each person’s sexuality and the pride they have within themselves.

The line-up for festivities include headliner Danny Beard (the amazing Britain’s Got Talent fi nalist) and the best drag performers from around Northern Ireland.

After this Pride we will focus on bringing a even bigger and better Pride next year, including a Parade. We also hope to begin to bring LGBT+ youth services to Larne throughout the year.

Facebook - LarnePrideFestival

THE TEAM

Galway Pride

Having Galway Community Pride fosters a strong sense of belonging and acceptance within the community. It allows us to celebrate our triumphs but also acknowledge that there is so much more left to do and that Pride is indeed a protest.

It is also crucial for LGBT+ people who may not be out yet to see Pride celebrations happening as it can provide them with representation that can be diffi cult to come across, especially those living in rural parts of the West of Ireland. -Finn MacMuiris, Secretary

Pride is so important for me, it’s a place where I can feel comfortable and safe for who I am. I hope it encourages others to live their lives openly. I will never forget the memories Pride creates and want to help this happen for others. - Aoibhin Keighron, Treasurer

It’s vital that Pride evolves to be more than a single event. We should use Pride to energise and focus ourselves for the challenges the rest of the year holds. Let it mobilise us to a year of activism to tackle rural isolation, trans healthcare, hate crime and to #SaveOurTeachSolais. - Owen Hanley, OCM

Galway Community Pride off ers an opportunity to refl ect on the rich history and accomplishments of the local LGBT+ community. Pride week gives the community a medium to highlight what is needed to end homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Galway and nationwide. - Muireann O’Sullivan, OCM

This year marks our 30th year of Pride, and our fi rst bilingual Pride. Some highlights to expect include a pop-up Gaeltacht, a BTQIA+ tea party in the secret garden and the Pride Parade on Saturday 17 August, starting from City Hall at 2pm. We are delighted to have Nuala Ward, the founder of Galway Pride, as our Grand Marshall.

www.galwaypride.com

JOHN PAUL PAYNE

Carlow Pride

Since we began this journey to Carlow’s fi rst Pride Parade, we have been inundated with support and messages. It has caught the attention of other towns, villages and cities around Ireland. Many people have reached out to let us know that seeing the support we have had has really given them hope about the future.

Pride for our group is the healing of our pasts, repairing our scars and facing the future brave and undefi ned. Growing up in rural Ireland in the ‘80s and ‘90s was a diffi cult time for many LGBT+ people. Personally, I realised since I began this journey that there were memories that still defi ned me, and having our own local Pride on the streets I grew up on is helping me to let go of what I feared.

Our Festival represents Pride by giving back and not setting barriers. Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow fl ag which he didn’t trademark, allowing it to be the symbol of pride and LGBT+ people. Being inspired by this we decided that we also wanted to create an entirely free event for our community on July 21 - no entrance fees, no parking fees and bring your own picnic if you wish!

Our highlight on our journey so far was picking our very special Grand Marshall - poet Nicole Carroll. Nicole was born diff erently abled, but found coming to terms with her sexuality a much bigger challenge.

We hope that we can continue on being that beacon of hope for LGBT+ people in rural Ireland and the south east by eventually having a permanent LGBT+ mural in the centre of town. Recently we presented this idea to Carlow’s municipal district, including our new Lord Mayor and elected offi cials and the idea was voted for in favour.

Facebook – CarlowPride

ÉIMEAR WILLIS

Foyle Pride

The purpose of Pride is multifaceted. It is to bring LGBT+ issues to the forefront, to campaign for LGBT+ rights across the globe, to increase the visibility of the local LGBT+ community and the services available to them and their families, to empower the community and to celebrate the vibrance and energy that comes with being queer.

Running for over 25 years, Foyle Pride is the longest running non-corporate, non-commercial Pride festival in the UK and Ireland. Local activists work tirelessly to ensure that LGBT+ voices in the North West are heard and to amplify the stories of queer people across the globe who do not have the platform to speak out.

Visibility is important, but we do not need to rely on major corporations and big businesses to get us there. We are not powerless without this, we are powerful in numbers and we’re seeing that now with more and more non-corporate ‘fringe’ Prides being organised across the UK. Pride was born of a need to fi ght back against unequal treatment and oppression. This is where our roots are, and this is how we’ve continued to grow.

This year Foyle Pride will highlight the importance of keeping Pride political and community-led. We are a small group of committed people living in Derry, volunteering to make this festival happen on a small budget. Going forward we want to make sure that we’re as accessible and representative as we can be.

The group of people who organise this festival are the most committed people I’ve ever met. They’re my heroes and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for being the best teammates anybody could ever ask for. Foyle Pride is a family and a community, and we look forward to another 25 years of organising.

Facebook - FoylePride

EVELYN ROBERTS

Tipperary Pride

Having Pride in Thurles was such a scary thought at fi rst. When I shared the thought with one or two friends they said I was nuts to even think it. However it made me think - why not? It grew bigger over the weeks and people were delighted to see change coming to Thurles. So I knew what I was doing was the right thing to do.

The Tipperary LGBT+ Pride committee can’t wait to share this momentous occasion with their friends and family. The majority of people in Thurles will tell you that it is very set in its ways and very slow to change, however I was recently pulled aside by a number of women and told I was an inspiration to many young teenagers in town. I was told by a certain lady her niece felt trapped in this small town up until she found out Pride was coming to Thurles. To hear that brought a tear to my eye. And now that niece is involved in the event!

One father met me in the pub and just hugged me and said thanks a million. He has two daughters and a son and he explained that if his children were gay he would be so scared that there would be no support in Thurles and now it’s starting to change. So I feel Pride is being more welcomed than I thought.

Thurles can look forward to a welcoming party on July 27 at 6pm on Old Baker Street, a parade at 8pm, and then the main event in Jim Kennedy’s on Parnell St at 9.30pm. There will be Blind Date, Mr and Ms Tipperary, a Battle of the Drags, the fabulous Ava Hennessy and Domino who will be hosting.

Facebook - TipperaryLGBTQPride

SEÁN Ó’NÉILL

Belfast Pride

Belfast Pride aims to highlight the rights that are still denied to us – trans healthcare, gender recognition, fertility rights, reproductive rights, marriage equality, inclusive RSE in schools, the right to be free from bullying, discrimination and harassment and the right to improved PrEP access and mental health services.

In contrast to the rest of Ireland and Britain, there is still no marriage equality here and despite the recent progress, we can’t put an exact date to when change might happen. Northern Ireland is a divided, post-confl ict society – The Troubles may have ended but the focus on stabilising the Peace Process meant that rights for some groups, including LGBT+ people, didn’t get on to the agenda.

Belfast Pride is a protest against this as well as a celebration of LGBT+ lives and identities.

Pride is personal to everyone who takes part – the diff erent ways we value it and the diff erent stories we bring. We will have a 10 day festival with over 135 events over a big weekend of protest and celebration.

#RightsNow is the theme this year, the inspiration comes directly from pioneering activist Marsha P Johnson who when asked why she was protesting in favour of an equal rights bill answered matter of factly, “Darling, I want my gay rights now.”

Belfast Pride is all about coming together as a community, to celebrate our diverse identities and to stand up for each other in a spirit of solidarity, mutual support and respect.

It’s important to remember that behind the labels and beliefs is a real person with their own struggles and hopes. The denial of rights in the North comes at a human cost and by supporting each other, we will get through this and we will achieve full equality for all.

www.belfastpride.com

This article appears in the 356 Issue of GCN

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This article appears in the 356 Issue of GCN