Pride Parade steps out in Belfast

Published Saturday, 30 July 2011
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Thousands have gathered in Belfast for the annual Pride Parade, which is the largest in Ireland.

This year's carnival and fun fair theme has seen people from all backgrounds march through the city centre.

Northern Ireland's best known drag queen, Titty Von Tramp, was among those taking part in the 21st Belfast Pride Parade.

Titty explained what the day means.

"Pride is really important for the gay community. And it shows our solidarity and how many we are - there's loads of us.

"It's about spending time with friends, our one day to get together," said Baroness Von Tramp.

Once the parade passed through Royal Avenue, it continued to Custom House Square, for one of the biggest Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender parties ever held in Belfast.

Secretary of Belfast Gay Pride, Simon Rea, said the event is about celebrating diversity.

"It's giving people the chance to come out and be open about their sexuality and life in general.

"There's so many people in Northern Ireland afraid to come out because of all the bullying an intimidation they face so today they see it's ok to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

"The support gets bigger and bigger every year and it's great that Belfast welcomes us."
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Niall Ó Donnghaile welcomed the parade at the City Hall.

"Pride is a wonderful, colourful display, a huge parade taking place involving old and young," he said.

"There were many families as well - a great indication and a great symbol of Belfast moving forward as a changing city."

He was joined by Jeff Dudgeon - the man who brought about the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in Northern Ireland when he filed a complaint to the European Commission of Human Rights

Reverend David McIlveen from Sandown Free Presbyterian Church made a small counter-demonstration.

© UTV News
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38 Comments
trevor in co. derry wrote (1,235 days ago):
as a guy who only felt confident enough to "come out" and live my life the only way possible to bring any sort of happiness into it at the age of 34, it is so refreshing to see that many young people now feel so differently. belfast was packed with loads of young people on saturday happy to be seen living their lives the only way they know how. it makes me extremely proud of the people of n. ireland to see the tolerance displayed by the great majoity towards us. the tireless work of so many groups and individuals over the past decades has often gone unnoticed by the majority but their efforts have ultimately led to the levels of tolerance and acceptance in our society that prevail today. a great big thank-you to all of you from myself and my civil partner of almost 5 years now. all of your efforts have made it possible for us to walk through the streets of belfast hand in hand on saturday along with friends and strangers alike - something i never dreamed possible as a young man.
Naomi in Ballymena wrote (1,236 days ago):
It's a disgrace how people are getting on! and its all over people liking the same sex! Put it this way we all bleed the same colour of blood. Me personally i like gay people as they ate the most dead on people you will ever know! No body's perfect adn never will be! people just cant get oer the fact that there is more gay people now that what there used to be! Im a straight 16 year old girl and even i think people should get over it!
Frosty in Here wrote (1,236 days ago):
Wow, most commented story again. Women raped, children molested, men assaulted, political corruption, paramilitaries, social injustices abound, but no, the God-fearing folk are most worried about not being seen by the Almighty to hate gays the most. Am sure Jesus will be proud of you and no doubt you've already given all of your possessions to the poor to follow Him too.
Andy in Lugan wrote (1,237 days ago):
Michael H, Any politicians were free to join in the parade,thats why sinn fein were there I expect,As was mla's from other parties,mainly sdlp , alliance, there was no unionist parties taking part because they are too stuck in the dark ages to come out and support homosexual people. And to michpost, I wasn't taking part in the parade and I was able to walk around the city centre with ease,so what you say is absolute rubbish,and hatred of the gay community,the atmosphere was electric,you should have joined in, who knows you may have actually been able to find out what having tolerance for others is actually like.
michpost in Newtownabbey wrote (1,237 days ago):
It was a day that those of us opposed to such repugnance were excluded from the right to walk freely through Belfast City centre. I think that next year there should be a 'Straight' parade, the week after.
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