Dublin Gay Pride parade welcomes 40,000
Same-sex marriage referendum is focus of event as officials note great progress
Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst meets Ciara Maguire, Mary Joyce, Elaine Clements and Deborah Donohoe outside the Dylan Hotel in Dublin last night. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
About 40,000 people are taking to the streets for the Dublin Pride parade today, an annual event marked by colour and costumes but one which has never forgotten its political beginnings.
Jason Flynn, the chair of Dublin Pride, said today’s parade comes 40 years and a day after Irish Gay Pride Day when Irish gay and lesbian people demonstrated outside the Department of Justice over anti-gay laws. While annual gay pride celebrations started in Dublin in 1979, with the establishment of the Hirschfeld Centre, the roots of today’s Dublin Pride began in 1983 following the brutal killing of Declan Flynn (31) in Fairview Park.
“The outrage and political will at the time really gathered and formed,” Mr Flynn said.
“Pride has a political origin and until we achieve something resembling full equality, Pride will always have that dimension.”
An area of political focus this year is the referendum on same-sex marriage in early 2015, he added.
Voting rightsMarriage Equality, a group campaigning for civil marriage rights to be extended to gay and lesbian people, will be on the streets encouraging people to register to vote.
Andrew Hyland, director of Marriage Equality, said the referendum was more than a gay rights issue. “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.”
“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”.
Broden Giambrone, chief executive of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (Teni), said Dublin Pride was integral because of its high visibility.
“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,” he said.
David Carroll, 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.”
It is a sentiment Mr Flynn echoed: “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.”
Friends, family and the wider population also join in: “We want Pride to be for everybody.” The Dublin Pride parade begins at the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square at midday and finishes at Merrion Square