Thursday last, 2nd June, saw the launch in City Hall, Dublin, of Dublin LGBTQ Pride 2016. Pride Chairman, Jason Flynn, welcomed the audience and thanked all the invited guests. He also thanked all the Dublin Pride volunteers, and especially Jed Dowling.
Irish Pride began in Dublin, he stated, and all who started it are still with us. Jason was anxious that it evolve from a fight for rights, to a pageant celebrating the successes of the LGBT movement in Ireland. He emphasised that it still faced many issues, for instance, the prevalence of depression among young LGBT people, and the fact that suicides among LGBT+ are triple the rate of their straight peers.
Jason also stated that the Dublin Pride programme was dedicated to Sean Meehan, the much-loved Irish transman, who was the first transman to reach the finals of the Mr Gay Ireland contest, and who sadly passed away in April of this year.
Jason then introduced the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Sinn Féin councillor, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, who welcomed everyone, spoke about the continuing drive towards freedom and equality, and said we still have a responsibility to the most vulnerable in society.
Críona was also pleased to announce that her Sinn Féin colleague, openly-lesbian Mary Ellen Campbell, had just been elected Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast. She also stated that the Yes campaign was a movement of the people, and then introduced Max Krzyzanowski, of LGBT Noise, who has been chosen as Grand Marshal of the Dublin Pride 2016 Parade.
Max said how honoured he was to be selected as Grand Marshal for this year’s Parade, and how wonderful it was to see how far the community has come over the years, quoting George Bernard Shaw that it was the ‘unreasonable man’ who forged progress by not accepting the status quo, and so what society needed was unreasonable men, as in the theme for Dublin Pride this year ‘Rebel Rebel’, based on the 1916 rebels who changed Ireland.
Jed Dowling was then introduced, who reminded us that the Pride celebrations are something the LGBT community does, but is not who they are. They are the people who, at 1.20 am on the last Saturday in June, 1969, made a commitment that LGBT people in Ireland would not be oppressed or discriminated against anymore, and who took to the streets to remind everyone of that fact every year. “We are Pride and we are Rebels”.
The Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Mary Ellen Campbell was then introduced. She spoke of how there was delight in Northern Ireland when marriage equality was passed in the South, but how there was also a twinge of jealousy, as Northern Ireland’s LGBT community are still having to fight for that right. For them, Pride is a party, but also a protest.
Jed Dowling then spoke again, and said that the whole month of June is now Pride month, although the main festival is 22nd-26th June, with the opening party at the George, This Is Us! Tonie Walsh, Irish Queer Archive founder, will give an illustrated talk charting 40 years of Irish LGBT liberation, with Veda et al. getting the party going afterwards, on June 22nd.
There will be the usual Pride Political Debate on 23rd, hosted by Adam Long, with special guest Max Krzyzanowski among other guests.
Rebel Rebel with Suffragette City at the Odessa Club happens on 24th June, with all proceeds going to Dublin Pride.
Saturday 25th June sees the 2016 Dublin LGBTQ Pride Parade, starting at the Garden of Remembrance, and proceeding to Merrion Square. You’re encouraged to be colourful, dress up and make noise, but please note that drinking will not be tolerated along the route.
From 12 noon to 6 pm on 25th Merrion Square is Pride Village, where the main stage sees Panti Bliss and Phil T Gorgeous host an event which includes Veda, Davina Devine and Victoria Secrets.
After-Parties: You are encouraged to support the official Dublin Pride after-parties, which include The George, Mother, Pantibar, Dublin Bear Pride, Spinster, Czech Inn, Odessa, Adelphi, Daddi, Euphoria etc., as these help to fund Dublin Pride, as other events do not. Any official event will display the Pride logo.
Sunday, June 26th sees the Ceremony of Remembrance, 6 pm at Merrion Square’s Oscar Wilde statue, to remember those who have been lost along the way to equality, and to celebrate their lives.
Visit www.dublinpride.ie for more information.
From all at EILE Magazine, have a great Dublin Pride 2016, have fun and be safe!
– M. Butler