Statement by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar

Thank you Phil and Bunny and good afternoon everyone.  This is my eleventh day in the job, and it’s certainly been a whirlwind.  I want to thank both for their support for me when I asked for it, and long before I knew how to. And so I pledge as Taoiseach to use my office, for as long as I hold it, to advance the cause of LGBT rights, to press for marriage equality across Ireland, to speak up for LGBT rights around the world where they are under attack, and to push for the implementation of the sexual health strategy here at home at a time when it is more important than ever.

The day I became Taoiseach was also a sad day.  It was the same day a great champion of freedom and equality in this country passed away.

I know all of us were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Ann Louise Gilligan, a brilliant academic and community leader, whose courage helped change the laws in this country.  Our thoughts are with Ann Louise’s wife, Katherine, at this time.  Together they have been an inspiration to so many people in this country, and around the world.

In 1992 RTE estimated that the number of people at this parade was 200.  Ten years later the figure was 6,000.  In 2012 it was 30,000.  If someone had predicted back in 1992 that one year later homosexuality would be decriminalised, or that 23 years later gay and lesbian people would be legally able to marry the person they love, or that two years after that a gay man would be elected Taoiseach of the country, then I think they would actually have been derided.   So history can be slow to move, but when it does move it moves very quickly.

Sometimes people are surprised that not all LGBT people support my policies, or celebrated my election as Taoiseach. In fact, some activists get quite annoyed when I don’t agree with them on every other issue.

But I think that is actually a good and a healthy thing because the LGBT community is not a political monolith where everyone thinks the same or believes the same thing.

If it was, it would be a political ghetto and I don’t think we want to have anything like that.

We are of course a diverse community in ourselves, with people from all sorts of opinions: left, right and centre, secular, religious, pro-choice and not, for globalisation and also campaigning against it.  So, I don’t really ask anyone to celebrate the fact that we have a Taoiseach who is a gay man.  But rather we should celebrate the fact that we live in a free country – in a democracy where we have a Taoiseach who happens to be gay.  We are able to support or criticise him, due to our own beliefs and principles which (to me) is true freedom.

And speaking of freedom – under my leadership this country won’t shirk our responsibilities on the international stage and we will be the voice for toleration, respect and equality around the world.

To conclude, I would like to leave you with one final thought.  When we look back on all that has happened in this country over the past few years, all the progress that has been made, remember that this was not due to any one person.

It was because of a movement, a movement made up of you and your friends and your families and supporters.

I don’t think my election as Taoiseach actually made history, it just reflected it, reflected the enormous changes that had already occurred in our country.

So, I don’t think that I have changed things for you; I think people like you have changed things for me.

And for that I am very grateful. Thank you.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.

Running Order for the 2017 Parade

There running order for the 2017 Pride Parade has been revealed.

This is the final running order as of 4pm on Friday June the 23rd.

RED BLOCK

  1. Grand Marshall – Moninne Griffith
  2. Belongto
  3. Lord Mayor
  4. DCC
  5. Fine Gael
  6. Love Equality
  7. Crime Victims Helpline
  8. George
  9. Vegan LGBT
  10. Pride Bus
  11. Cork Pride
  12. Spunout
  13. Eir
  14. LGBT Helpline
  15. Front Runners
  16. Asexuality LGBT
  17. Sky
  18. Pavee Point
  19. LGBT+ Traveller and Roma Collective
  20. Non Binary
  21. Shoutout
  22. Mastercard
  23. Film Qlub

ORANGE BLOCK

  1. Fianna Fail
  2. 98FM
  3. Emerald Warriors
  4. Vodafone
  5. AirBnB
  6. Flag Start
  7. Flag
  8. Flag
  9. Flag
  10. Flag End
  11. Virgin Media
  12. Indeed
  13. Labour
  14. Workday
  15. Wet And Wild
  16. Microsoft
  17. LinkedIN
  18. Out In UL
  19. Limerick Pride
  20. Facebook
  21. Tesco

YELLOW BLOCK

  1. HIV +
  2. Bank Of Ireland
  3. Geared
  4. Bears
  5. USI
  6. DIT LGBT
  7. Good Vibrationz
  8. DCU LGBT & SU
  9. Maynooth University Pride Society
  10. NCI Equality Society
  11. UCC
  12. IADT
  13. Trinity Q-Soc
  14. Into Teachers
  15. Amazon
  16. Scouting Ireland
  17. Ericsson
  18. Gloria
  19. Twitter
  20. Teni
  21. Sinn Fein
  22. Aviva
  23. Outhouse
  24. Sex Workers Alliance
  25. Marry Me Ireland
  26. Changing Attitudes Ireland
  27. New Relic
  28. Change Of Address
  29. IBM
  30. Grant Thornton
  31. Bi +
  32. Save Moore St.

GREEN BLOCK

  1. Royal College Of Surgeons
  2. Ebay
  3. Foigre
  4. Google
  5. Fidelity International
  6. Therese Cahill
  7. Squarespace
  8. Qualtrics
  9. Boomtown Rollers
  10. Dublin Body Painting Jam
  11. Ulster Bank
  12. Deutsche Bank
  13. Salesforce
  14. Green Party
  15. CPL
  16. Citibank
  17. Irishlife
  18. Irish Feminist Network
  19. Dropbox
  20. Newry Rainbows
  21. Accenture
  22. International Gay Theatre Festival
  23. UCD

BLUE BLOCK

  1. Red Cross Youth
  2. Zendesk
  3. Survey Monkey
  4. Intercom
  5. Humanist Association
  6. My Taxi
  7. Running Amach
  8. Yahoo
  9. National LGBT Federation
  10. ESB
  11. Euphoria
  12. Hubspot
  13. Amnesty
  14. Ernst & Young
  15. Groupon
  16. Deolitte
  17. GHN
  18. Nandos
  19. BT Ireland
  20. PWC
  21. Adobe
  22. ISSU
  23. Coalition to Repeal the 8th
  24. Solidarity

PURPLE BLOCK

  1. Polyamory Ireland
  2. Sage
  3. Outwest
  4. Standard Life
  5. Slack Tec
  6. Working Class Queeros
  7. Gay Mens Chorus
  8. Paypal
  9. Eversheds
  10. Proctor And Gamble
  11. Social Democrats
  12. Dell EMC
  13. Verizon
  14. Fidelity Investments
  15. SAP
  16. Dublin Devils
  17. Out and About
  18. People Before Profit
  19. Lifestyle Sports
  20. Siptu
  21. English Studio
  22. Shopify
  23. Club Gass

Together in Pride

March 1st 2017 was a historic day for Ireland. After decades of campaigning by Travellers and allies, activists and human rights organisations, there finally came the moment when the State recognised that Travellers are a minority ethnic group.

The excitement on that day was palpable. The intense emotion and pride of that moment when the Taoiseach made his address is something many in the LGBTQ community will relate to.

State recognition of Travellers, ethnic minority status is the culmination of decades of hard work, of raised hopes and false dawns. It was a battle to address a legacy of policies that resulted in discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion. This includes a history of efforts to ‘assimilate’ Travellers into mainstream society and efforts to discredit them as ‘failed’ settled people. It is yet another dark chapter in Irish history, where people not fitting the mainstream ended up ostracised and mistreated.

Many Travellers were active in the campaign for marriage equality. Some had been campaigning, advocating, agitating for many years. Many gave up hours, days, weekends to help out. It was vital to because it was about real lives and it was deeply personal. The campaign succeeded because those who wanted an equal Ireland came together as a community, in all diverse forms.

LGBTQ Travellers in Ireland have endured exclusion, discrimination and marginalisation. The success of the referendum was a step towards righting those wrongs, a step towards inclusion and acceptance. No-one would claim that marriage equality was ever going to be the solution to everything. Rights hard won can easily be lost, but it is a movement in the right direction. So too is the recognition of Traveller ethnicity. Recognising Travellers as a minority ethnic group is fundamentally about respect and inclusion.

Failure in the past to recognise Traveller ethnicity further excluded an already marginalised group. It led in some instances, to low self-esteem, poor self-image and a lack of pride in one’s cultural identity. This loss of pride in oneself can cause stress, shame and depression and can lead to drug and alcohol abuse and in some cases more severe mental health difficulties.

Pavee Point has long recognised the need to address the issues facing LGBTQ Travellers. We have looked at ways to be more inclusive within the organisation—in our workplace, internal policies and structures. We have embedded this work across all our programmes. In the past year alone Pavee Point have collaborated with external LGBTQ organisations such as BeLonGTo and GLEN to provide training and information for all our staff. We worked in partnership with TENI to produce the first culturally appropriate Trans 101 resource. We offer support for LGBTQ Travellers and we are continuing to grow and develop this work. We hope in the future to expand our work with Roma communities.

Pavee Point has a long history of marching in the Dublin Pride parade. This year we are hoping for bigger participation than ever, as we come together as a community, proud to be Traveller, proud to LGBTQ, proud to be both and/or just proud to be a part of any celebration of inclusivity and acceptance. We hope you can join us!

Pavee Point is a Dublin-based, national, nongovernmental organisation established in 1985 and committed to the realisation of human rights for Irish Travellers and Roma living in Ireland.

The organisation is a partnership of Travellers, Roma and members of the majority population working together to address the needs of Travellers and Roma as minority ethnic groups who experience exclusion, marginalisation and discrimination.

For further information please visit our website at paveepoint.ie, or contact us directly at Pavee Point, 46 North Great Charles Street, Dublin 1. Phone: 01 8780255 E-mail:  @paveepoint.ie

Unleashing your inner hero

When I was younger, I loved the film ‘Matilda’. Something about the lead character really intrigued me. She had an intrinsic motivation to do what was right, regardless of the environment she was brought up in. She went against the tide—the ‘norm’—and searched for justice for herself and for those around her. She was determined, passionate and upright.

She was an inspiration… a true hero.

But what I have learned over the past decade since I first watched this film, is that such heroism is not restricted to books or films. Such heroism is not unattainable. It begins much closer to home, and it is widespread across the LGBTQ+ community and youth work.

A hero is someone who does what’s right in the face of adversity. This can manifest itself in so many ways. It can be a superhero, a teacher or a youth worker. And it can be you!

I believe we are all heroes, just like ‘Matilda’. We can all contribute to a better world which will benefit both ourselves and others. This is true of Sinead Murray-Lynch from BreakOUT, Donegal’s LGBTQ+ youth group, who gave me the strength to come out to my friends and family. And it is true of the hundreds of youth workers from Malin to Mizen Head who do the same thing every day.

It’s true of the dozen or so young people who are currently on the Youth Advisory Panel for the Department of Children and Youth Affair’s National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy, and of the thousands of young people who got involved and made their voices heard during the consultation process.

It’s true of every single person who will attend Pride this year to celebrate the unparalleled contributions the LGBTQ+ community have made, and will continue to make, to Irish society.

Heroism is not complex. Heroism, like love and pride, is embedded deep within us and merely needs to be explored and unleashed.

So, go n-éirí an bóthar libh. Bainigí sult as Dublin Pride 2017. And remember to find your inner hero!

Safety Update – Bag Sizes

For the safety and enjoyment of all attending, An Garda Siochana and Dublin Pride request that Pride patrons leave bags at home on parade day.

In line with standard protocol for all recent events, backpacks and large bags will not be allowed. Only small bags measuring no bigger than A5 (14.8 × 21 cm, 5.8in x 8.2in)  will be permitted into both St. Stephens Green South and Smithfield Square.

There will of course be exceptions made for people with medical conditions and children, but for the sake of everybody’s safety, all bags will be thoroughly searched

This is also an alcohol and drug free event.

Statement on the Merrion Square Plaque

Dublin LGBTQ Pride are very aware of the upset that was caused by the plaque that was unveiled yesterday. This plaque was reinstated as it was previously put in place by the community, along with the Pride tree, and we were proud about having it back in its rightful place.

We acknowledge that it doesn’t do enough to respect the experiences of our LGBTQ family who we have lost along the journey. We are now working to create a monument that acknowledges all members of our community.

We always appreciate feedback from the LGBTQ community and are constantly striving to be as inclusive as possible.

Prides of Future Past

20 years ago, about 2,000 of us marched to the Amphitheatre in the Civic Offices on Wood Quay. We got a £200 grant from Dublin Corporation and they flew 8 Pride Flags along the Liffey. A little more than 20 years before that we were just a handful of people having a picnic in Merrion Square, and being asked to leave. We’ve fought hard to get this far, and in true Pride spirit, we’ve celebrated every victory along the way and every hero who got us here, but we have changed.

Now when I go into the Civic Offices with our Festival Manager Eddie McGuinness for a statutory meeting to plan Dublin Pride, everyone’s there; senior staff from DCC, the Gardai, Dublin Fire Brigade, the HSE Dublin Bus, Luas, Civil Defence, health & safety, and event management experts. Dublin LGBTQ Pride has grown from a few hundred people to thousands, we have taken to the streets of Dublin and walked all over this city, our route changing at times as Dublin evolved and our protest march grew into a victory celebration.

This is one of those years where we take another leap forward and adapt ourselves to the changing city, one that we are now truly part of and want to celebrate with. Everyone at the table has already heard my speech on Stonewall and Fairview and the importance of Pride, most of them have heard it a few times and they get it. They all offer support and ask how they can help. And when we get down to business, we’re planning how to manage rolling road closures, keep access open to businesses and residents, divert public transport, manage crowds of over 25,000 people at one time and, of course, how to deal with an emergency. Every possible scenario has to be considered and planned for. Passion isn’t enough for this kind of planning, we need people like Eddie, who has a Master’s and degrees in Social Media & Communications and Event Management, to make something this big work.

In another office we have to sign to draw down our grant, it’s hundreds of times bigger than the one we got in 1997, and we have to bring tax clearance certificates and insurance indemnity forms and have our signatures witnessed and countersigned. We’ve become one of the biggest LGBTQ organisations in the country and what started with just a handful of people is now on the verge of becoming a national event. Can you imagine Pride being declared a national public holiday? We can.

We’ve changed, and we’re still changing. One thing won’t change though; I’m still going to tell the story of Stonewall and Fairview, the story of the 15 year old boy in drag who had the courage to fight back against oppression and the story of Declan Flynn being murdered in Fairview Park. Like any superhero, everything we are and everything we do is rooted in our origin story.

Jed Dowling.

Remembering Ann Louise Gilligan

It is with great sadness that we hear today of the passing of Ann Louise Gilligan.

She embodied all that we stand for as a community. Courage, compassion and commitment.

We extend our deepest sympathy to her wife Minister Katherine Zappone, and to all her friends and family at this sad time.

Update to the Pride Debate Event

We would like to make all festival participants aware that there has been a slight change to the Dublin LGBTQ Pride debate event ‘Maintaining the Momentum to Full Equality’. The advertised time on our Dublin LGBTQ Pride Guide is not accurate at this time.

The event was due to take place at 7pm on Monday the 19th of June. This has been changed to 8pm, and we would like to advise all attendees to ensure they arrive at the new time. The venue has not been changed.

Speakers at the event include:

  • Adam Long – Chair and National LGBT Federation (NXF)
  • Moninne Griffith – CEO BeLonG To & Dublin LGBTQ Grand Marshal
  • Senator Fintan Warfield – Sinn Fein spokesperson on LGBTQ issues
  • Senator Ivana Bacik – Labour

We would also like to issue an apology to Adam Long of the National LGBTQ Federation. The article for this event in our 2017 Pride Guide accidentally did not include his name on the piece. The digital version of this guide has been updated with the correct information.

More information on this event can be found here.

 

RTÉ to air ‘A Different Country’

On Wednesday, 21st June 2017, just 3 days before the Annual LGBTQ Pride Parade in Dublin, RTÉ ONE will be screening an edited version (54 minutes) of A Different Country at 9.45 p.m. – which is just after the Main Evening News. One hour later it will be shown on RTÉ ONE + and will also be available on the RTÉ Player for a number of weeks following the broadcast.

Among those featured in the programme are Terri Blanche, Tom Brace, Declan Buckley, Noel Buckley, Suzy Byrne, Clem Clancy, Claire Farrell, Bill Foley, Karl Hayden, Patrick Lynch, Victoria Mullen, David McConnell, Ciaran McKinney and Tonie Walsh as well as Phil Moore and former President Mary Robinson.

The Irish LGBT History Project is now in its 4th year. Together 167 LGBT people and supporters have contributed over 600,000 words to this project that is contributing to an important part of our shared history. It is intended that these vital stories will form the basis of a series of films and books that will work towards sustaining the vibrant and varied histories of our community. A Different Country was the first of 10 projected DVD films based on the life stories gathered by the project. Last year at the GAZE Film Festival the filmwon the Best Documentary feature award. We hope that with continued financial support that this production will be the first of many successes for the series.