Kicking it off in Millmount Tower, a crowd gathered to see Rebecca Tallon de Havilland and Drogheda Mayor, Michelle Hall officially open Drogheda Pride, 2022.
In an intimate gathering, the round tower was decorated with pride flags hanging from the ceiling and pride colours on the walls.
Other’s in attendance included Cllr Sharon Keogh, Cllr Joanna Byrne, An Garda Síochána and Outcomers Drogheda.
Peter James Nugent, LGBTQ Support Manager, opening the ceremony ahead of the weekend, said, “Pride isn’t a celebration, it’s a march.
"Today is the day that we officially open Pride where we have many different events planned out for the weekend.
Mayor of Drogheda, Michelle Hall said, “There is going to be a lot of fun in Drogheda this weekend, and McHugh’s pub is definitely the place to be.
"In 2019 we celebrated the marriage of my sister in law to her long term girlfriend. And it was her girlfriends aim to be married before she turned 60 and she just about made it. For that generation coming out as gay was not easy. There was no pride parades, no equal marriage rights, gay slurs were part of our everyday vocabulary and many people moved away from Drogheda to be the person that they wanted to be without judgement from family and friends.
"The tide was changing and the Catholic church was losing its anchor on the people and we took a Christian stance instead to love one another.
"Trans rights are being advocated for at the moment, so I’m delighted that Cameron Brown, trans youth will be leading our parade tomorrow.
"When we display our flags through the businesses and organisations across Drogheda, it is saying that Drogheda is a safe place to be who you want to be.
"We don’t have any trends in Drogheda or any homophobic violence, and long may that continue.
Mayor Hall said she believes Drogheda will get their very own Pride Crossing in the future, and she will continue to back Cllr Joanna Byrne’s motions on this which was recently rejected by Louth County Council.
Rebecca, who was born in County Longford, was invited by Peter to open the ceremony, said she knew from a very young age that she was a girl.
"I fought many battles to get here. I discovered I had family living in Drogheda, and moved here for many years.
"I walked these streets alone as Rebecca, and I walked the streets of Dublin alone as Rebecca, it didn’t deter me, it didn’t stop me. I tried to take my own life three times just to be me.
"I fought the hardest battle and all I ever wanted was to be myself, standing here today. It has taken over 30 years for me to hold my head up high.
Living in London, Rebecca said people were crying out for her to return home to help the Trans community.
“I was in my comfort zone in London and thought, why should I come back here where I’ve been so abused. But I had heard things, and had to return.
"We need support, we need allies, and we need help, and we need to help the kids too.”
Cllr Joanna Byrne who has been present at the Drogheda Pride opening every year, said, “As an Irish Republican, equality is at the core of absolutely everything I represent. I genuinely believe that every person in our society is entitled to an equality of rights under law and indeed in every day life, regardless of their background, their sexual orientation or their gender.
“It’s a great way to send a message that we’re all standing here strong and in this together. The Elephant in the room today is obviously the rainbow crossing. I think everyone here has heard of the battle regarding the rainbow crossing and also the u turn from the council that we had in regards to the life size rainbow letters that spell out Drogheda that were to be provided this weekend. Being gay, being a trans member or being queer, you’re standing in the face of adversity all the time. This is just another knockback, but we will overcome it.
“I don't think it’s anything sinister from the Council that it wasn’t provided, I’m not going to defend them, that’s up to themselves to do that. I just think it’s a lack of innovation and foresight. But what I can reassure you is that I’m committed to seeing a rainbow crossing in this town.
The ceremony ended with Peter, Rebecca and Mayor Hall raising the pride flag at the top of Millmount Tower.