The importance of pride

June is a month in which members of the LGBTQI+ community look forward to. A month in which we celebrate diversity and send solidarity to members of the LGBTQI+ community who still face persecution for being themselves.

Pride was born out of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 in New York City, which took place against a backdrop of constant police brutality shown to the LGBTQI+ community. The Irish Pride Movement was established in response to the brutal murder of Declan Flynn, a young gay man set upon and beaten to death by a homophobic mob in 1982 in Fairview Park, Dublin. The first Pride Parade was held in Dublin in 1983 in reply to this act and the subsequent case in which each member of the mob was charged with manslaughter as opposed to murder.

The Irish Pride movement has won many victories in recent years, such as the abolition of ‘sodomy’ laws in 1993, the Marriage Equality referendum in 2015 and the Gender Recognition Acts North and South. But, while legislation can be passed in a matter of days, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia will take much longer to disappear. The LGBTQI+ community are well aware of this.

According to LGBT Ireland Report, 47% of LGBTQI+ people have experienced depression and 34% of respondents have self-harmed. While research in the North has shown that two thirds of LGBTQI+ young people do not feel welcome at school in the North. Pride is a celebration, but first and foremost, it’s a protest. A protest for true equality, and full liberation. A protest for, island wide marriage equality, trans healthcare, adequate HIV prevention and sex education. It’s a protest that sends solidarity to every LGBTQI+ person, in the170 countries that don’t allow same sex marriage, in the 70 countries where being gay is a criminal offence and, in the 10 countries where you can be killed for being gay.

The commercialisation of pride has allowed the LGBTQI+ community to be heard worldwide. However, due to this rainbow capitalism, the foundation of pride has been forgotten. We must never displace the fact that Pride is protest. Ógra Shinn Fein have been at the forefront of LGBTQI+ rights, this month shall be no different. This month our members shall be highlighting that pride is still Protest on social media, and at pride festivals across the country.

By Niall Polland, LGBTQI Officer

Ógra Shinn Féin