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50 years of Dublin Pride: What Pride means to me

50 years of Dublin Pride: What Pride means to me


by Holly O'Neill
29th Jun 2024

To mark the 50th anniversary of Dublin Pride, Brendan Courtney, Jennifer Rock, Davina Devine and more explain why Pride is as crucial today as it was when the first public gay rights demonstration took place in Dublin on 27 June 1974, and what Pride means to them.

The word Pride to me means celebrating being your most authentic self every day and to set the example for anyone struggling with their identity that you are loved for being who you are! – Adam Fogarty, choreographer and creator, @adamfogartyy

While we recognise how far we have come since the first LGBTQ+ rights demonstration in Ireland in 1974, Pride is first and foremost a protest and there is still much to fight for. This occasion is the perfect time to have our voices heard and put our community’s needs in the spotlight. Of course, Pride is also a celebration; one of authenticity, solidarity and love. It’s the day of the year when I feel most empowered and uplifted, and I can’t wait to take to the streets again on Saturday and unapologetically parade my rainbow colours loud and proud. – Alice Linehan, Editor, Gay Community News (GCN), @gcnmag

Pride to me began as a celebration, and it still is, but it was something I took for granted as a young person. Over the past few years it’s become much more than that though, it’s become a demand and something that has to be constantly reassessed because the work is never done. I can’t feel proud when members of my own community are being left behind. Ireland has the worst trans health care in the EU and it’s become an increasingly more hostile place to be yourself. For Pride to still mean anything it must be a protest, otherwise you’re just dancing as your rights and the rights of those around you slowly become undone. – Bill Harris, artist, @bullhorris

Pride has never been more important or more relevant. At its core Pride is a political statement about the importance of inclusion and tolerance, to live and let live and in a world where there is an orchestrated attempt to row back women and LGBTQI + rights, it’s never been more important to remain visible, loud and proud. Remember, Ireland is a beacon of hope for our brothers and sisters who are still persecuted and put to death all across the globe. It is illegal to be gay in 63 countries and in 11 of those countries it is punishable by death. Ireland has shown how change can happen to protect us all. March with us, march with Pride. – Brendan Courtney, designer and TV presenter, @brendancourtney

Pride to me is about celebrating how far we’ve come, appreciating how far we still have to go, raising awareness and enjoying the celebration. For me, it’s also about celebrating the community and our allies. I especially love to celebrate my family and friends who have been so supportive, they are the ultimate allies. I always love to do something on the day of Pride, whether it’s going to the parade, going to a gay bar or just simply doing something at home to celebrate. Pride in Dublin is also always good craic, the city comes alive, and it feels very special. – Cassie Stokes, presenter, creator and TikTok creator, @cassiestokes1111

I’m so excited for Pride this year as my dreams of playing a MOTHER show are finally coming true, puurrrr! I’m on the main stage at 6pm in Collins Barracks on June 29, playing alongside an iconic line-up of queer baddies. Pride is one of the best times of year for me to try something new because I always feel ten times more supported by the communities who come out to these shows. I’m bringing a choreographed element to my live show, which is a part of myself I’ve always wanted to explore. So this year Pride means confidence to try new things. – Celaviedmai, artist, @celaviedmai

Pride for me is more than a celebration. It is amazing to have it each year but I feel like it is also important to remember those who fought for LGBTQIA+ rights to live authentically, and honour them. It’s about embracing my own identity and being comfortable in the skin I am in. To have a partner, a family and friends who all accept my own sexuality with subtle codes in my work. I think it’s also a good time to evaluate and acknowledge that more still needs to be done for true equality. – Colin Horgan, designer and creator of the Love Out Loud room, Ireland’s first Pride-themed hotel bedroom at the Hard Rock Hotel Dublin, @colinhorgan

I’ve been out since I was 13, but it took me many years to actually feel proud of my sexuality. My newfound Pride stems from all the amazing people I’ve met along the way who belong to this joyful community. I feel we’ve all gone through hardships related to our sexuality or gender identity at some point and that is almost like a superpower that pushes us to be more empathetic, accepting, loving and, let’s be honest, great craic. So yeah, I now can say with all my chest that I am a very proud gay man and can’t wait to get out and celebrate this weekend! – Daniel Mooney, Mundo Moo, designer and illustrator, @mundomoo

Pride, to me, is about love, equality, and inclusion. On a deeply personal level, it’s about embracing and loving all parts of myself. It’s a time of great celebration, but it also serves as a powerful reminder that no one should ever have to justify their existence. Despite the progress we’ve made, homophobia is on the rise globally, and laws criminalising being gay remain a reality in one-third of countries worldwide, with some even imposing the death penalty. Pride stands as a beacon of hope and protest against oppression, reminding us that our fight for acceptance and equality is ongoing. – Darren Kennedy, style columnist, TV and podcast host of The Number, @darrenkennedyofficial

Pride means to me a celebration of living your most authentic true self. Having marched in last year’s Dublin parade for the first time, the love and energy not only from the LGBTQIA+ community but also from the spectators lining the streets was quite overwhelming, unexpected and emotional. Now more than ever I believe that we need to continue to celebrate Pride, not only to remember those who have gone before us who fought for our rights, but also to show those who might question our existence that together we’re stronger and we ain’t going anywhere! Ireland was at the forefront of marriage equality. Let us never forget that, be proud and celebrate! – David Cashman, hair stylist, @cashmandjmc

Pride to me means celebrating each other’s differences, no matter our gender, race or orientation. It’s about visibility and inclusion for minorities within society. We are all equal and deserve to be treated so and not just for Pride month. – Davina Devine, drag queen and co-host of Petty Little Things, @davina.devine

Pride to me is the ability to live as one’s authentic self, it’s making a conscious choice to be seen and perceived and being unapologetic to do so, whatever that may look like because to everyone it’s different. – Dylan Jordan, performer and TikTok creator, @itsdylanjordan_

Pride is as much a time to celebrate, dance and feel connected with our community as a time to reflect on all the people who came before us who fought for the rights we now have in Ireland. – Eamonn McGill, designer, @eamonnmcgilldesign

Pride was born as a protest and so it should be. Now more than ever, as this dark decade might mark the first time our hardly achieved rights are taken away instead of progressing. Pride is not a show with regulated admission to entertain a crowd standing behind barriers. Pride is challenging the status quo. It is queer resistance, intersectionality and standing against a genocide. Pride is calling out historical systemic oppressors hiding behind a rainbow flag. Pride is Googling Marsha P. Johnson and learning what Pride is. – Giulia Valentino, GAA player, Na Gaeil Aeracha, @nagaeilaeracha

Pride, to me, is all about living a full and fabulous life of authenticity. It’s about having the power to know your worth and your place in the world and never allowing any person to inhibit your ability to be you. Of course, it’s also about using your own experiences and journeys to champion your LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters and to do what you can to lift and support the queer community. Most importantly? Pride is a reminder of how far we’ve come and how further we can flourish. Not to mention a time to fulfil your diva duty of lashing on some glitter and having an absolute ball, doll. – James Patrice, RTÉ Today & DWTS Reporter, @james_patrice

As a queer tattoo artist, Pride is essential to my identity and work. It empowers me to embrace my authentic self, fuels my creativity, and helps me create a safe, inclusive space for clients. Pride empowers my art, making it a meaningful expression and support within the LGBTQ+ community. – Jamie Lo, tattoo artist and TikTok creator, @jammydodged

Love is love. Imagine if we lived in a world where it wasn’t anyone else’s opinion who or how we loved! Be you – always! – Jennifer Rock, author and founder of online skin consultancy The Skin Nerd and Skingredients, @jenniferrock

To me, Pride means embracing my identity as a gay person with confidence and dignity and recognising the journey of self-acceptance and the strength it takes to live authentically. Celebrating gay Pride is a powerful affirmation of our community’s resilience and love, a time to honour the struggles and triumphs of those who fought for our rights and a joyful expression of solidarity and visibility in a world that hasn’t always accepted us. I couldn’t be more proud to be gay in Ireland, we’ve come such a long way and this year’s Pride will be extra special celebrating 50 years since Ireland’s very first Pride – that’s pretty remarkable! I’m due to get married to my wonderful fiancé this September, and to be able to do that and even write that still blows my mind with joy and excitement. – Jill Deering, illustrator and co-founder of Jill&Gill, @jillandgill

For me, Pride is simply the ability to express ourselves, unapologetically. Queer people often feel pressured to mute their identities, but Pride is when we celebrate at full volume, LOUD and PROUD! Pride will always be a form of protest too. Just because LGBTQ+ people have rights today, doesn’t mean we will have the same rights tomorrow – that is why we march! – Joseph Murray, author and TikTok creator, @j.f.murray

For Gay Project and our service users, Pride means being able to truly be yourself openly, honestly and safely. Pride is more than just a feeling or an event for one week or month of the year, it means being completely accepted and welcomed year-round at home, in the workplace, in the community, and on the street. Gay Project aims to provide a year-round space for all people to find their Pride. – Konrad Im, manager, Gay Project, @gayprojectirl

To me, Pride is a colourful celebration where everyone can embrace their fabulous selves. We know that love is love—whether it’s in a cosy pub or a dazzling parade. Acceptance here isn’t just about tolerance; it’s about fully celebrating everyone’s individuality in every weird and wonderful way. I love Dublin Pride as I get to see the beautiful ways people bring their individuality to the forefront and love even more so how everyone around them cheers and celebrates that beauty. – Mark Rogers, beauty expert and director of PR & Marketing at 23 The Agency, @m.rbeauty

The word Pride means to me not to be ashamed of who you are! It’s a celebration and a fight for freedom, authenticity, and equality. We have come so far, but we still have a way to go. – Megan Walsh, designer, @mnw_design

To me, Pride means embracing and celebrating who you are. It’s about being true to yourself and having confidence in your own uniqueness. – Meri Hernandez, digital creator, @irelandsfavouritegay

To me, Pride is about acceptance. At BeLonG To, we bring hundreds of LGBTQ+ youth to Dublin Pride each year. For many of these young people, Pride is the first time that they feel safe to be visible. Witnessing their joy at being accepted for who they are is magical and something to celebrate. We cannot forget however that Pride was born from a protest, and we still have plenty to protest about today, as the events in recent days and weeks have clearly demonstrated and the LGBTQ+ young people that we work with tell us. We have a lot of work still to do in order for them to feel safe in their homes, schools, and communities. In 2015, we told young LGBTQ+ people that they are safe, equal and valued. Things are very different today. So while Pride is a day to celebrate all of us in our diversity, it is a day to call for the changes that we so urgently need to make our young LGBTQ+ people feel proud, accepted and that they belong for the other 364 days of the year. – Moninne Griffith, CEO of BeLonG To LGBTQ+ Youth Ireland, @belongtoyouthservices

Pride to me means family. That doesn’t need to be your traditional family either. It can be the family you’ve chosen for yourself. The feeling of being loved and being in a community of people who want to support you, big you up, pick you up from a fall and shout about you from a rooftop, knowing that you’ll do the same for them. That’s what Pride means for me. – Paul Ryder, performer and broadcaster, @itspaulryder

As an overtly camp gay man (and very proud to be!) there is always a secret, hidden part of your brain that tells you to reign it in a bit. You don’t want to make family uncomfortable, you don’t want to make straight men uncomfortable, you don’t want people to stare. Or of course the worst option of all – you don’t want to feel unsafe. Gay Pride is that one, incredibly freeing time of the year when you can be AS GAY AS YOU WANT and that hidden, secret voice goes mute for the day. It’s a completely freeing, fabulous and important way to feel, even if it’s just for one day. – Rob Kenny, agency founder and director, @robkenny_

Pride for me is both a protest and a celebration of diversity and of difference. It is a call to action for everyone in our society to be an active participant in creating an inclusive Ireland. It is a time to come together as a community in solidarity and recognise both our wins and how far we have to go. On a personal level, it is a time for me to express my trans and queer identity, visibly, loudly and proudly in all its colours and facets. – Sam Blanckense, Chair, Transgender Equality Network Ireland, @tenipics

This year marks my 21st year attending Dublin Pride. That first year, I was so nervous to march on the streets thinking it would confirm to the world what they already assumed about me which I found terrifying. But what that first march did was really give me a sense of community and support. Seeing so many other people who were like me was empowering. Every year watching the march grow and seeing how our allies turn out in huge numbers to support us makes me so emotional. I cannot wait to take to the streets once again with a message of love. – Victoria Secret, drag queen and co-host of Petty Little Things, @victoriasecretdublin

For me, Pride has always been a time to reflect on the progress we’ve made and the resilience it has taken to get to this point in Ireland. It’s also a time to acknowledge that there are still countries where LGBTQ+ people are fighting for their rights to live freely and to be treated fairly. Marking Pride in our calendar is important because it reminds us that we are working towards a world without discrimination and equality! – Zainab Boladale, author, journalist, presenter and director, @zainab_boladale

Pride means expressing yourself without judgement,(whether it be internal or external. Obviously, in reality, there will be judgement if you freely express yourself, especially if you’re comfortable in your queerness but know you have a community of others who are like you. You’re not just one, you’re one of many. Celebrating Pride allows us a temporary respite from the craziness of the world. A freedom to be who you ARE not who you SHOULD be. – Zeda, director, writer and stylist, @notzeda

Happy Pride!

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