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Pride 2020: Dublin Pride goes virtual

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John Ward (left), Albert Dylan, Peter Willix, Vanessa O'Connell, Grand Marshall, Paul Mahon and Paul McElroy at this year's Dublin Pride Parade
Picture: Arthur Carron

John Ward (left), Albert Dylan, Peter Willix, Vanessa O'Connell, Grand Marshall, Paul Mahon and Paul McElroy at this year's Dublin Pride Parade Picture: Arthur Carron

John Ward (left), Albert Dylan, Peter Willix, Vanessa O'Connell, Grand Marshall, Paul Mahon and Paul McElroy at this year's Dublin Pride Parade Picture: Arthur Carron

Dublin Pride has gone virtual as members of the LGBTI+ community raise awareness about the discrimination they face.

Usually this time of year, O'Connell street is a sea of colour as thousands of people celebrate the LGBTI+ community and raise awareness about discrimination they still face.

Due to the coronavirus restrictions the Dublin Pride Festival has gone digital this year, with a virtual parade taking place today.

The theme of this year's festival is 'In This Together', and organisers said that, despite not being able to don the capital with technicolour flags and exuberant costumes, "that won’t stop us all coming together to support our community and the vital services they provide."

Jed Dowling, CEO of Dublin Pride, said that the purpose of the festival is to raise awareness of issues faced by the LGBTI+ community, something the online events have been successful in doing.

"The thing about pride is it's about creating visibility and awareness around the discrimination that LGBTI people still face," he said.

"Obviously we're not out on the streets today but we have a virtual parade and a concert. We've actually had eleven days of events and activities and today is the grand finale. We've still been able to achieve a lot of that with our online activities but it's obviously a huge disappointment that we can't be on the streets.

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This year the Dublin Pride Parade is a virtual online event
Picture: Arthur Carron

This year the Dublin Pride Parade is a virtual online event Picture: Arthur Carron

This year the Dublin Pride Parade is a virtual online event Picture: Arthur Carron

"There's still systemic bullying, there has been an increase in hate crimes over the last two years here in Ireland. There are 72 countries where it is illegal to be homosexual - that was 73 a week ago but we've managed to get it down to 72.

"It's still punishable by death in some countries, so I don't think you could get much more discrimination."

Mr Dowling said that, while Ireland has come a long way in the treatment of members of the LGBT community, there is still a long way to go, and people still receive adverse treatment because of sexuality and gender issues.

"People absolutely face discrimination in Ireland. We've come a long way but that doesn't mean that there isn't still bullying or that people aren't still the victims of violence on the streets," he said.

"That still happens. In particular a lot of trans youth are the victims of violence and attacks so it's still an issue.

"We have come a long way but we're nowhere nearly there. A recent study done by Focus Ireland shows that 40pc of young homeless people are LGBT. Even if we make up 10pc of the population, we have a four-times higher rate of homeless so the discrimination both directly and societally is still huge."

As part of this year's celebrations, over the past 11 days Dublin Pride hosted a number of online events run by other LGBTI+ organisations. These included virtual walking tours, talks, exhibitions, and Céillí.

Over the last number of weeks members of the public, community groups, partners and sponsors of the event were asked to send messages or videos of them having parades at home which will be broadcast live today. A virtual concert will also take place, including performances from Jerry Fish and Kodaline.

The virtual parade will be led by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Tom Brabazon, and frontline workers from across the city.

Mr Dowling concluded that "our drag Kings and queens are still singing and throwing shade, our DJs are still dancing and flags will still be flying all across Dublin today."

Online Editors