Up to 30,000 defy clouds to show their true colours at annual Gay Pride parade
FLUTTERING UNDER Dublin skies, the bright rainbow flags created a sharp contrast to the grey clouds above.
It was evident, however, that the rainclouds did not dampen anyone’s spirit, as thousands of people attended the annual Gay Pride parade in Dublin on Saturday.
Revellers from across the Republic and further afield lined the streets to watch the parade as it progressed from the Garden of Remembrance, through O’Connell Street, past Trinity College and finishing up in Merrion Square, where the party continued for another few hours.
Organisers estimated between 25,000 and 30,000 people took part in the parade, with more than 100,000 spectators lining the streets.
“Every year it gets bigger and bigger. In 2009 there were 10,000 people, in 2010 there were 22,000, last year there were 26,000 and I cannot even count the amount of people here today,” said Dublin Pride chairwoman Jo McNamara.
For the first time, the parade was headed by gay members of national and international police forces – otherwise known as the “G- Force”.
Italian, German and English police were among the nations present in full uniform, contrasting with Irish gardaí in their ordinary clothes.
Also, for the first time in the parade’s 29-year history, there were representatives from all the main political parties.
Other organisations involved included Facebook, Amnesty International and Open Heart House.
Plainclothes and costumed revellers waved, sang and danced from floats, buses and on foot to the thousands of people who came to watch, capturing the celebrations on their camera phones.
The parade appeared to be as much about creating awareness as celebrating. Floats with information about protecting sexual health and supporting same-sex marriage were prominent.
The theme of this year’s parade was “Show your true colours”, which Ms McNamara said was designed to encourage people to be free to express themselves.
“We have an aspiration that all people who want to show support for the gay community can do so, and also that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people can show their own true colours and show that they are free and equal citizens of our great country.
“I work a regular nine-to-five job but I wanted to get involved because I love giving something back. I love seeing the joy of people in the community when they can express themselves and show their true colours,” she said.
Bystanders and those involved also thoroughly enjoyed the event.
“I am here today because I am gay and I am very proud. I have come to Pride every year since 1997. I really love it, it is fantastic. I am here to celebrate with my girlfriend, and have a good time,” said Margot Loughman from Carrick- on-Suir, Co Tipperary.
Natalie Dunne from Dublin said she participated in the parade most years.
“I am part of LGBT social media group Running Amach,” she said. “We are participating with the parade this year, which we usually do. It is a great day, although it is a pity the weather isn’t better, but we will just make the most of it.”
Martin Kowalski from Poland praised the costumes and colours. “I think that is a great day,” he remarked. “Everyone is here to have a great time and the atmosphere is brilliant.”