DAVE Thomas, the co-founder of the Wicklow Pride Festival, is asking for everyone to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community by flying the Pride rainbow flag as Pride month in June fast-approaches.
“After the call out last year, there was a phenomenal response with many schools, libraries, cafes, bars, shops, hotels, shopping sentres and various businesses across County Wicklow flying the Pride Rainbow Flag for the month of June and in some cases throughout the whole Summer, which was amazing. Last year there was an increase in the amount of flags flying, and this is a tremendous show of solidarity from the broader community, and it means a lot to us all,” said Dave.
He can be contacted through the Wicklow Pride Festival Facebook page where there will be information and more throughout the year.
“On behalf of the Wicklow Pride Festival, I ask everyone to join us again this year,” added Dave.
“Sadly we have recently seen an increase of homophobic attacks, verbal, physical and horrifically the murders of Michael Snee and Aidan Moffitt, which sadly underlines that we still have issues with acceptance of diversity and difference in Ireland.
“The attacks and the murders reminds me of the horrific murder of Declan Flynn in 1982 in Fairview Park in Dublin.
“His death, and the results of the trial that followed, sparked the first protest marches in Dublin that evolved into the Dublin Pride Parade that we have today. In many ways we have progressed since 1982, and in some, we clearly have not.
“While we do not have Hate Crime Legislation passed yet, it is needed, but it won’t solve all the problems. It will be a great asset to help reduce Hate Crimes, but it won’t stop it.”
Dave feels one way to stop hate crimes is to educate young people in every school that society is made up of people who are all different from one another.
“Children need to learn what diversity is,” said Dave.
“They need to learn about the LGBTQ+ community and they need to stop hearing from Religious Institutions that Homosexuality is evil and wrong. As long as religious institutions continue to teach young people that it is acceptable to hate, discriminate and view other people as evil, we will always have some level of hate in our society. This must stop.
“This June, I ask everyone across county Wicklow and beyond, to stand with the LGBTQ+ community by flying a Pride rainbow flag.
“This sends a strong message, one filled with love, acceptance, support, encouragement and an acknowledgement that our society stands as one community that is beautifully diverse and wonderfully unique.”
The Wicklow Pride Festival is planning to hold a fully inclusive event in early July 2023. They are looking for sponsorship, support and more to bring the festival back with a great event for all.