Tuesday 23 January 2018

Pride but no prejudice as gay march honours rebels

Loud and proud: Melissa Cacchioni from Rome, Gaia Cilento from Milan and Aslessia Scardala from Treviso taking part in the Gay Pride Parade in Dublin City Centre
Loud and proud: Melissa Cacchioni from Rome, Gaia Cilento from Milan and Aslessia Scardala from Treviso taking part in the Gay Pride Parade in Dublin City Centre
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Tens of thousands flocked to the Dublin Pride parade yesterday honouring rebels past.

To a theme of "Rebel Rebel", the loud and colourful event paid tribute to the rebels of 1916 and an English rebel who left his indelible mark on the music industry: the late, great David Bowie.

Grand Marshall Max Krzyzanowski, of LGBT Noise, led the parade from the Garden of Remembrance across the River Liffey to the Pride Village at Merrion Square.

There, the parade became a festival with the so-called Queen of Ireland, Panti Bliss, as she celebrated on the main stage with guests such as Veda, Davina Devine and Victoria Secrets.

More than 70,000 people were expected to throng Dublin for the annual event - and participants were encouraged to dress up and make a lot of noise.

The numbers were expected to be up on last year's parade, when 60,000 people turned out.

Maximillian Foy from Dundrum and Garvin Murphy from Fairview
Maximillian Foy from Dundrum and Garvin Murphy from Fairview

A record number of companies also participated this year, according to the organisers of Dublin Pride. They included Allianz, Dublin City Council, Accenture, LinkedIn, IBM, Dell and PWC.

Their involvement was welcomed for sending out a message that LGBT people "can be themselves in their workplace and that diversity is really valued," said Davin Roche, of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network.

A report published earlier this year found that half of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) employees in Ireland described their workplace as being LGBT-inclusive.

However, one-in-four described their company as being a difficult place to work. Meanwhile, one-in-five straight people surveyed said they would feel uncomfortable working with an LGBT colleague.

"There will be hundreds of people parading with their work colleagues today to show that LGBT people can be themselves in their workplace and that diversity is really valued," Roche said shortly before the colourful Pride parade kicked off yesterday.

Despite the fun and madness, he said the event was also a time for reflection on the first anniversary of the marriage referendum and after the "awful events" of the Orlando massacre.

"So, it is a day of celebration, fun and joy - but it is also a day where we really recharge our batteries to solve some of the problems that some LGBT people face," he said.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said her hope was that "the pride that we feel coming out and celebrating, as well as standing in solidarity, is something that can be felt ultimately every day by every young LGBT person".

A ceremony of remembrance will be held today for "those that we have lost along our march, for freedom and for equality and to celebrate their lives.

The event takes place at the Oscar Wilde Statue on Merrion Square.

Sunday Independent

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