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Monday 20 November 2017

Gay man slams local Pride event for hosting 'divisive' abortion discussion

A participant holds a rainbow umbrella as he attends a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Hong Kong
A participant holds a rainbow umbrella as he attends a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Hong Kong

Tomás Heneghan

A gay man has condemned a local Pride event on the issue of reproductive rights to be held this week.

Tommy Roddy, a former general and local election candidate from Galway, was speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline on Tuesday about the upcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride festival in the city.

Mr Roddy objected to an event being hosted by the festival which according to organisers aims to “highlight that our queer and trans community members are very much a part of the fight for reproductive rights in Ireland”.

Mr Roddy, who professes to be pro-life, told the show a pro-choice group should host the event instead or alternatively give an equal platform to people like himself.

The event, ‘Galway Pride Festival Btqia+ Tea Party and Reproductive Rights Talk’, is due to take place on Thursday evening in Galway and will host speakers from both the festival and the Abortion Rights Campaign.

Defending the event on the show was Galway Pride Festival committee member Sharon Nolan, who disagreed with Mr Roddy’s accusation that the committee was abusing its position in holding the event.

Ms Nolan said that the committee had held open meetings over a number of months where potential events for the festival were discussed.

She explained that no one seemed to raise concern over the event and the committee had taken a unanimous decision to hold it following the open discussion process.

Mr Roddy insisted however: “I think for them to be hosting an event like this…is the wrong stance for them to be taking.”

He said Galway Pride Festival was “actually promoting the pro-choice stance” and that he did not know an event like this would be held and so did not approach the group earlier to raise his objection.

He said: “Galway Pride community and Galway Pride Festival should not be getting involved in a divisive issue like [abortion].”

Ms Nolan however explained: “The point of the discussion is promote the use of more inclusive language.”

She explained: “It’s about giving the people who wouldn’t usually get their say a platform.”

“I’m personally very proud that the committee decided to hold this event,” she added.

Ms Nolan also said that the LGBT Pride movement is historically a political movement and she welcomed the fact the LGBT community was recognising intersectionality between groups in society.

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