As expected, this year’s Pride events across Northern Ireland have moved online. Although June was Pride month globally, here in Northern Ireland Belfast’s Pride falls on 31 July. Belfast Pride is bringing you an online parade show featuring short videos from a wide range of people who would usually be marching on the streets of Belfast on Pride Day. Check out Belfast Pride’s social media pages at 1pm and 5pm on Saturday 31 July to watch this virtual festival of Pride.
If you want to get involved in the flesh there are still some events happening throughout Belfast. For example, The Big Gay Quiz is happening at Elmwood Hall, QUB on 30 July – grab your tickets here. Or if you’re more of a history buff there’s even a walking tour you can go on instead. Join Belfastlad Tours on a walking history of Belfast Pride on Sunday 15 August – grab tickets here.
Action Mental Health has long been a supporter of Pride events throughout Northern Ireland. Last year one of our employees shared why Pride was so important to them:
“Having a minority identity can be isolating, and Covid-19 has shut down the few safe places that many LBGT+ have to socialise/meet and emotionally connect. My heart goes out to LBGT+ people who live more rurally and who live with even greater social and geographical isolation. How do single people cope or attend to their social/emotional needs during a lockdown? What impact does this have?
“I know this has hit the LBGT+ community hard. I recall living in rural Limavady for many years, having few LBGT+ people in the area with nowhere safe to socialise nor meet others – homophobia and heterosexism were rife. It was very expensive to travel to the two major cities to get a night out (let alone pay in or buy anything) and I recall having to spend my hard-earned wages renting hotel rooms in Belfast just so I could have a safe night out in LBGT+ company; this wasn’t an optional city break treat but a mental health essential!
I am very aware I was one of the privileged ones that had a good job, a car and was ‘out’ to my friends and family, what about those who aren’t?
“I am a massive advocate of the essential work and achievement of efforts to eliminate homophobia, discrimination and hate crimes against members of my LBGT+ community. Pride celebrates diversity/equality for all, integrating LBGT+ services within mainstream funding/provision whilst retaining the unique needs of these amazing people, friends, colleagues and peers, that I call my LBGT+ family.
“I look forward to walking the parade route under the AMH banner with pride in the coming years.”