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gender and sexuality |
Friday June 27, 2008 12:25 by Paula Geraghty
Always the bridesmaid...
A bit of rain didn't stop thousands from taking to the streets of Dublin to celebrate what is now a fixture in the Irish calendar and to campaign for Marraige Equality for same sex relationships. This year saw the 25th anniversary and homage was paid to the years of campaigning and how far Irish society has come. However there was a recognition that not all was won and the struggle for full equality still goes on.
Related Links:Dublin Pride Pride 08 on YouTube
Declaration "To Be Queer Is To Be Special" made at Wood Quay, Dublin
Dublin Pride Ltd marked the city's 25th Pride parade this Saturday at 1:30pm, beginning at the Garden of Remembrance and following its traditional route through Dublin. Growing larger and more colourful year on year, an estimated 5,000 plus people braved the rain and took part in the Parade. The ten-day Pride festival, which began on Friday 13th June, came to a spectacular close at a post parade rally in the Civic Offices. The post parade rally, hosted by Miss Panti, included live performances from Brian Kennedy, Tara Blaise and Maria McKee.
'Dublin Pride 25, Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride' is the theme for Dublin's parade. The theme emphasises this year's historic importance, emphasising the positive changes, which have taken place for Ireland's Gay community in the past 25 years. It also raises awareness of progress, which has yet to be made for our country's gay community, particularly our lack of Partnership rights.
'We would like everyone to enjoy the Pride festival. These ten days are not restricted to the gay community but are a celebration for the entire city. Pride is an opportunity to raise awareness on outstanding gay issues but it is also a time to be proud of our city's positive attitude and ongoing progress' - Amy O'Keeffe Dublin Pride Press Officer.
In the ongoing fight for recognition of lesbian, gay and transgender relationships Grand Marshall Tonie Walsh reminded assembled participants at the post-parade rally on Dublin's Wood Quay that "we have a unique history and identity.and we should be generous in sharing it with the rest of Dublin city".
With over 5,000 present, Walsh declared that "To be queer is to be special" and encouraged all present to make a new declaration of love with each other and a new contract with the people of Dublin.
Walsh, long-time civil rights activist, co-founder of GCN and prime-mover behind the Irish Queer Archive [transferred to the National Library of Ireland on Bloomsday, 16th June past] led the 25th lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pride Parade - once known as the Gay Pride March - through the city centre to a party and rally at Wood Quay.
In a rousing and moving speech, he acknowledged the "often difficult, turbulent and at times bloody journey" of the gay communities these past forty years. Walsh said it was time for LGBT people to get out of their ghetto - their comfort bubble - and share their unique way of looking at the world with all the citizens of Dublin and "this little damp rock we call Ireland".
He also challenged Dublin City Council to take "thorough and active ownership" of Dublin LGBT Pride and turn it into the Midsummer Mardi Gras with a Big Gay Heart that the city so deserves and needs.
Walsh paid tribute to "the many activists - some deceased - who have brought us to this point on this day of days, this 25th anniversary of the first ever Gay Pride Parade on the island of Ireland". In particular he singled out the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN, celebrating its 20th anniversary), GCN and the National Lesbian & Gay Federation (NLGF), emphasising that the time was right for all LGBT people to take full and active participation in Irish life - notwithstanding the shabby treatment by a majority of legislators who have dithered over the introduction of marriage and full equality, and who have also yet to full understand and "embrace the needs and rights of transgender men and women in our Rainbow Society".
'Our communities have once again begun to move together to insist that rights of LGBTQ people are human rights - rights which cannot be conferred on some citizens and denied to others' - Dublin Pride Festival Committee Chairman Frank Cleary.
'I am proud to be Lord Mayor of a city, which this year celebrates our 25th Dublin Pride Parade. Every year our Pride festival infuses Dublin with colour and atmosphere unique to our gay community and I am thoroughly looking forward to June as I'm sure Pride 08 will be one to remember'. - Lord Mayor of Dublin Paddy Bourke.