Thousands attend Dublin Pride festivities

Serious messages lie behind the fun, frivolity and festivities

 

Shortly after 2pm the first of thousands of Dublin Pride participants began to make their way onto O’Connell Street on this, the 30th year that the parade has taken place in the capital.

Close to the front of the parade was the George’s “club on wheels” playing “You’re free to do what you want to do” as the pursuing crowds sang along in full voice as they danced down the street.

Spectators along the parade route were met with celebration, carnival and costumes and, of course, rainbows in every possible guise: giant rainbow banners, feather boas, dresses, hats, socks, wings, wigs and countless flags fluttering in the Dublin breeze.

And if you (somehow) missed the colour, there was no way to miss the noise. The sound of whistles filled the air, only drowned out occasionally by the sounds of Samba, drummers, dance music and the harmonies of the Dublin Gay Men’s Choir as they passed along the parade route.

But along with a sense of frivolity and fun there were also those with serious messages to convey. Among the marchers were the Marriage Equality Network who called for the Government to act upon the recommendations of the constitutional convention which voted in favour of a referendum for equal marriage rights for gay people.

Amnesty International meanwhile highlighted the struggles that still face gay people in other countries, noting that homosexuality remains illegal in 38 countries in Africa, four of which still carry the death penalty.

Andrew Hyland, who is 36, has taken part in the parade for the past 16 years. He said the parade gave participants “a real sense of connection” with the LGBT community.

“It’s the one day for our community to unite under one banner and if there’s any issues which are affecting us as a community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people it’s really important that we come together and represent each other for that,” he said.

Marianne Maddox from Brazil had made an extra-special effort to dress up for the day dressed as a “Barbie Transex” complete with a pink box.

“This country is just so happy and everyone is so open-minded. Everywhere I go I feel absolutely accepted...Every year the parade gets more famous and bigger.”

On Merrion Square the parade participants were in the mood to party: cavemen and indians danced wh,ile people hugged and wished each other a “happy Pride”.

On stage Polish transgender MP, Anna Grodzka, the Grand Marshal of the Dublin Pride Festival 2013, said the parade and others like it represented “a great celebration of equality and diversity, a great celebration of the personal freedom of every person, a great demonstration of the natural right of each of us...to live in a free society, to be yourselves”.