Around 40,000 people took to the streets for the Dublin Pride parade this year and Marriage Equality, the amazing group campaigning for civil marriage rights for gay and lesbian people in Ireland were out in force encouraging people to register to vote.
Andrew Hyland, the director of Marriage Equality, said,
“It’s about Irish society evolving into a more progressive and inclusive State. The referendum is about saying yes to the full rights and equality of your family members and friends.”
Brian Sheehan, director of Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen), said how Ireland,
“Has come an awful long way in a relatively short space of time. We’ve come from people tut-tutting at [the Pride parade] participants in the streets in the 1990s to recent years where people are bringing in their families to see the parade. It’s a great time to celebrate the visibility of LGBT people right across Irish life.”
If the referendum is passed, he said, it
“Would ensure that lesbian and gay people are treated equally under the Irish Constitution for the very first time”.
Jason Flynn, the chair of Dublin Pride said that this year’s parade came 40 years and a day after Irish Gay Pride Day when Irish gay and lesbian people demonstrated outside the Department of Justice for a change to anti-gay laws.
The annual gay pride celebrations started in Dublin in 1979, with the founding of the Hirschfeld Centre, but the beginnings of today’s Dublin Pride began in 1983 after the brutal and violent killing of Declan Flynn in Fairview Park who was just 31-years-old.
“The outrage and political will at the time really gathered and formed. Pride has a political origin and until we achieve something resembling full equality, Pride will always have that dimension.”
He also said how the referendum on same-sex marriage in early 2015 was a key political factor this year.
Broden Giambrone, chief executive of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (Teni), said,
“We’re really looking forward to it as an opportunity to promote the rights of trans people, specifically through the promotion of the upcoming gender recognition Bill.”
While David Carroll, the director of BeLonGTo, a youth group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender young people, said,
“There is an . . . incredible excitement and energy around the parade. While it is political in its origins . . . and while we still deal with . . . people who experience isolation and homophobic bullying, ultimately what Pride has become is a real day of celebration and affirmation.”
Jason Flynn agrees,
“Often the parade is a person’s first experience of being out there and being visible, it’s often people’s first expression of their true selves and that has a momentum all of its own.”
He also encouraged family, friends and the entire population to join in saying:
“We want Pride to be for everybody.”
The Dublin Pride parade started on the 28th of June at the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square at midday and ended at Merrion Square.
Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst performed at The George, in Dublin, on Friday 27th June, to celebrate this year’s Dublin Pride Festival in her first live performance in Ireland since her Eurovision win.
Darragh Flynn from The George said in the run-up to her much-anticipated performance,
“Since her win at Eurovision, Conchita has become a worldwide sensation. We are thrilled to have her perform again at the George and share in our Pride celebrations. Conchita embodies what The George is all about – acceptance, respect and fun – it’s going to be some party!”
While Conchita herself said,
“I’m really looking forward to performing at The George and being part of the Dublin Pride Festival. I want to spread my message of tolerance, acceptance and respect for people who are different – I know my Irish supporters will help me do just that.”
‘Rise Like a Phoenix’, her winning Eurovision entry was part of her set and Conchita said of the song’s important message,
“‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ is a powerful song that makes a strong statement, one that I can support 100%. No matter how hard things are, you can learn from these times and grow.”
Tom Neuwirth, as Conchita is known personally, created Conchita after his lifelong struggle against discrimination to encourage discussions on words like ‘different’ and ‘normal’.
“Only the person counts. Everyone should be allowed to live their lives as they see fit, as long as nobody else suffers for it.”
The George has been an important feature in the lives of the LGBT community in Ireland for over 25 years and has had many amazing perform including Alexandra Burke, Danyl Johnson, Diva Fever, Rylan, The Saturdays and Bananarama.
The event was presented by Shirley Temple Bar.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Pride! 🙂
Rest in peace Declan Flynn.