Belfast Pride’s ‘Pride Talks Back Election Special’ debate made history last night as it included an unprecedented five LGBT Assembly candidates on the panel. This is the biggest group of LGBT Assembly candidates ever assembled for one event in a year that sees a record number of LGBT candidates standing in the Assembly Election.
The debate, in partnership with leading political website Slugger O’Toole, had one representative from each party standing an LGBT candidate – Alliance, Green Party, PUP, SDLP and Sinn Féin as part of a balanced panel. The full panel was:
Alliance – Chris McCaw (Foyle) Green Party – Malachai O Hara (North Belfast) PUP – Sophie Long (Upper Bann) SDLP – Connor Duncan (North Antrim) Sinn Féin – Michael Gray-Sloan (South Down) UUP – Rodney McCune (South Belfast)
The debate looked at what inspired so many LGBT people to get involved in politics, and put themselves forward for election, before debating all the key Equality and Election issues, including Adoption, Fertility, Equal Marriage and Freedom from Discrimination.
Journalist Allison Morris hosted the debate, with support from fellow journalists, Amanda Ferguson and Brendan Hughes, at Duncairn Arts Centre in Belfast, from 6.00pm last night, with the debate starting at 7.00pm.
The debate was also streamed live online by Belfast Pride at pridelive.tv, live tweeted and live blogged by Slugger O’Toole and Belfast Pride’s Pride Live team.
Seán Ó Néill, Chair of Belfast Pride commented:
“This is a historic first – five parties have LGBT candidates in the upcoming Assembly election and there are nine LGBT candidates in total. Belfast Pride is marking this with a special edition of our popular Pride Talks Back debate – we sent out an open invitation to all parties including those with LGBT candidates and we will be asking the candidates to take to the stage to explain what made them put themselves forward.
Belfast Pride is now one of the biggest and most wide ranging festivals in Belfast and we want to help and encourage the LGBT citizens of Belfast play their full part in the life of the city on an equal basis with our fellow citizens. We hope there are many more firsts to come as we continue to work for full Equality in our city.”