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Dublin Pride campaigning for equality 25 years on

category dublin | gender and sexuality | feature author Friday June 27, 2008 12:25author by Paula Geraghty Report this post to the editors

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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.

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.

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author by Paula Geraghtypublication date Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

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TEXT OF SPEECH BY TONIE WALSH, GRAND MARSHAL OF DUBLIN LGBT PRIDE PARADE, DELIVERED AT WOOD QUAY ON MIDSUMMER DAY, 21st JUNE 2008

Love and friendship have brought us here together.

It is the bond that keeps us together: Being real and brave enough and honest enough to choose whom we love and how we love.

Surely this is the most natural thing in the world; the social, emotional and sexual imperative that drives every single human being.

And if love and friendship is the bond that binds us, it is also without doubt the foundation of our communities, the bedrock of our amazing Rainbow Society we see all around us today, indeed every day as we go about our lives.

Our commitment to love and friendship has taken us through extraordinary, often difficult and sometimes bloody times. It sustains us when we feel like giving up or when we just can't cope with the hurt, the silly ignorance and viciousness that still lingers out there - thankfully not as much any more and, more importantly, no longer tolerated on a legal level.

And on that point it seems appropriate to give thanks to two successful campaigning civil rights organisations - GLEN (Gay & Lesbian Equality Network, celebrating its 20th anniversary this Summer) and the National Lesbian & Gay Federation - that have spearheaded and directed the inevitable and rightful movement for equality legislation, etc.

Haven't we come the distance!

But spare a moment for our brothers and sisters who would love to be here today with us, and who just can't get it together; who are witnessing this incredible day - week - in all its glory, this Irish Gay Pride Day, from the comfort zone of their armchair, with only Bryan Dobson's three minute commentary on Six One News or possibly a fleeting mention on TV3 and TG4 for company.

Spare a thought for those people. We were once those people. So let's not get too smug as we wallow in our queer fabulousness.

Every single one of us has been, at some time or another, the underdog, the unrepresented, the shamefully marginalized and the invisible.

Our personal and collective journey through outrageous oppression and repression, through hard moments that overwhelmed some along the way, has brought us to this point. We have all travelled what at times may have seemed like a very long journey to get here, carried on the backs of hundreds and thousands gone before us, our brave and noble brothers and sisters who refused to accept second class citizenship - who battled relentlessly to overcome ignorance, fear and violence. Our brothers and sisters who dared to be different, who dared to come out of their closet and dream of a new world for all.

On this day of days, this 25th anniversary, let us remember with love and gratitude their sacrifice and determination as we go forward together on our journey of discovery and liberation, remembering that the next generation - homo and hetero - is counting on us.

And so we find ourselves at this point, having arrived mainly through our own resourcefulness, our own creativity, our own anger and determination; and we've done it all with considerable good grace, humour and generosity.

This gives us a particular perspective on other disadvantaged people in Irish society. This gives us a particular responsibility to share our unique queer identity - our very special way of looking at the world - with the whole of Irish society.

We have changed and are changing our world; now let's do it for Dublin and Ireland.

Let's make this ancient place a thoroughly diverse, exciting and colourful and creative city. Let's bring it to a new place in the 21st century.

It's time to leave the ghetto - our comfort bubble - behind.

It's time to share Dublin Pride - as surely as we've been doing these past twenty-five years - with all our hetero brothers and sisters [BTW, I've no doubt some of them are crying out for a little bit of queer fabulousness in their lives].

And it's time to put it up to Dublin City Council to whole-heartedly embrace Pride and turn it into the Midsummer Mardi Gras with a Big Gay Heart that this city so needs and deserves.

We still have unfinished business (and thank you GLEN, LGBT Noise and all the other voluntary sector groups for reminding us so forcefully of that business). Specifically I'm thinking here of marriage and partnership rights. And also something that doesn't get enough respect and attention: sorting it out for the trans men and women in our society.

[Thank God, they've finally decided to trust lesbians and gay men and jump on our bandwagon!]

Let us not forget that they too are part of our family, our Rainbow Society.

But I feel some people have yet to get the message, so I ask you all today, on this day of days, this magical Midsummer Day - An Ghrianstad Aerach - to make a solemn declaration and renew our love to each other and to start a new contract with our city.

So I declare to you: To Be Queer is To Be Special.

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Tonie Walsh- Grand Marshal of Pride 25
Tonie Walsh- Grand Marshal of Pride 25

author by Paula Geraghtypublication date Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

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Maria McKee. a self confessed married christian lady performs some classics
Maria McKee. a self confessed married christian lady performs some classics

Brian Kennedy's first performance at a Pride March
Brian Kennedy's first performance at a Pride March

The Pride committee getting ready for the tidy up od DCC amphitheatre
The Pride committee getting ready for the tidy up od DCC amphitheatre

author by Madam Kpublication date Tue Jun 24, 2008 23:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..

fly the flag
fly the flag

and the crowd went bananas !
and the crowd went bananas !

just do it...
just do it...

author by Mike - Judean Popular Peoples Frontpublication date Fri Jun 27, 2008 22:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done folks !

Related Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/2206901/Jerusalem-Gay-Pride-march.html
 
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