Dublin Pride, June 25 2011

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Hanging around in town (Dublin, not Seoul or Suwon) yesterday we stumbled on the Dublin Pride festival. I knew about it but hadn’t registered it until we were on Georges Street.

The biggest thing about the parade, as far as I could see, was the number of participants! It was quite spectacular, at least for me anyway. I have no idea about the number of gays or there rights/problems/social stigmas that are still attached to them. I know that they are definitely more out and about than back in the day, the day being when I was in secondary school or something like that. I found out later that there was around 30,000 people at it – that makes it second to Paddy’s Day in size and importance

I felt a little proud of the numbers – there were all sorts out on the streets all flaunting the fact that the streets were there’s to be gay. I suppose someone might be offended by that statement but I mean it in the nicest possible manner.

There was none of that shite like I heard there was at the Korean gay pride festival in Seoul where people had to register to take photographs and even then they had to get permission afterwards. This isn’t an attack on gays in Korea, more rubbishing of the hypocrisy that the festival would imply. I get the idea that someone saw everyone else celebrates gay pride so Seoul jumped on the bandwagon too, but people, as proud as they want to be, still have to hide their sexuality for fear of social retribution in whatever form it may come – but maybe I have it all wrong.

Anyway, enough of the ranting.

The Dublin festival was a mix of all colours. There were youth clubs, political parties, corportate awareness, and of course The George, Dublin’s iconic Gay bar, had a truck full of dancers with tunes! Needless to say, David Norris had the opportunity to get a bit of publicity for his presidential bid.  Even Ruairí Quinn was getting in on the act on top of a big Dublin Sightseeing tour bus all bedecked in Labour colours. I got the feeling though that Gay rights were dealt a blow when the Shinners started walking down the road with their own homage to homosexuals, but maybe I’m wrong.

It was a wonderful parade anyway. One of the images that is really sticking in my mind was two middle aged men, dressed very normally and not extravagantly at all – shirt and pants with bit of a belly each on them – walking down the street in the parade holding hands and happy together, both with a sticker on their chest calling for civil marriages for gay couples. I was, to be honest, touched.

Here’s a short video I crunched on my iPhone of the actual parade from our vantage point in front of the Central Bank on Dame Street.

Funniest part of the parade for me was when the big red truck drove by and the woman/man at the front with the big blonde wig and the microphone MCing called out to the crowd, “I don’t know what you are all taking pictures of, this is how we live our lives everyday!” and pointed at the back of the truck where there was around twenty or thirty lads shirtless and in tight shorts ravin’ away in the Dublin sunshine!


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