Yesterday, the 29th of July 2023, I witnessed and was impressed by the size and infectiousness of Belfast Pride 2023, the theme of which was ‘Stand By Your Trnas’. There are probably three parts to Pride:-
- The first phase, ‘The Build Up’ – usually starts off with breakfast taken with your group of choice in different venues. The walk around the streets observing groups of people getting ready, or other groups like the Christians Against Homosexuality with its pontificating of doom and gloom and that we will all be head to hell, and then finally there are the support groups with their flags, infectious smiles, table s full of freebies covering all aspect of society.
These were located down by the ‘Big Fish’. What is also useful, by visiting them it naturally leads you on to the floats etc being assembled for the ‘dander or parade or march (you choose how you want to describe it); these masses of people are accompanied by a cacophony of noise from single and multiple speakers, from drum groups and single drummers to HiNRG music. All are accompanied by the security staff, police, ambulance staff and parade marshals.
- The middle phase is the actual ‘dander’, march, parade of Belfast Pride 2023 – again your choice of descriptive for it [whatever rocks your boat] – Over the years as the parade has grown so has the audience. Today’s parade was no exception, but what was nice to see was the inclusivity that was generated. All around me, I could see people and families of all generations, ethnicity, and sexual persuasion; sheltering from the rain around Castle Court, but not rushing to get home. The anticipation of the march and its runners was more important.
I was lucky enough to spend some time with a young family, including their two-month-old daughter. They had come down to enjoy Pride and introduce their daughter to what they hope will be a yearly event for her as she grows up. They were a lovely couple, the mother obviously involved with the daughter, as the father who took time out to speak with me—finding out why I was their (community journalist and photographer) and also as one of the original instigators of the first Pride in 1991. It is lovely to see the LGBT+ community being accepted by younger parts of the community.
- The last stage of the day was the party. For this I will have to beg your forgiveness, I was not able to join in as I had a visit planned to a nursing home to visit Sean McGouran [he of Gay Star, upstart and Update fame, also another member of the first Pride committee].
The first question to ask is, ‘Was this year’s Belfast Pride a success’, the answer is yes a resounding success, but then I also have felt the same for each Belfast Pride since 1991.
Pride is about being kind to yourself and others, about knowing that even with differences we are a family, and to have Pride in being you!
Our month/week/day of celebrating Belfast Pride is something that lasts longer than the time allotted and won’t end until we start next year.
- Pride Economics – https://bit.ly/3QuJjOe
- A Pride to be Remembered – 1991 – https://bit.ly/3Y4NRfX
- Newsletter – The annual Pride parade has taken place in Belfast – https://bit.ly/3DN1nLG