The result of the marriage referendum has had an enormous impact on the sense of security in the LGBT community, former Government Minister, Kathleen Lynch, claimed yesterday as she attended the 11th Cork LGBT Pride parade on the Grand Parade, Cork.
Ms Lynch said she remembers early Pride parades which were attended by just 30 to 40 people.
Members of the public often stared at the group and the parades were subdued affairs, whereas now thousands take part in a joyous celebration of acceptance and tolerance. The former Labour Party TD said the parades are really about a newfound sense of confidence.
“I most definitely think that the referendum has had an enormous impact on people’s sense of security in themselves. And really that is all it is about. It is about being confident. It is about being secure in yourself. The amount of people that left this country because they were different, and now that difference has diminished so much.”
Ms Lynch added that the atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance was of huge comfort to parents as, in times past, they would have worried about their offspring being victimised as a result of their sexuality.
The entire length of the Grand Parade was covered by a huge rainbow flag as the festivities got underway at 1.30pm yesterday. Attendees wore rainbow face paint with balloons and banners making for a colourful scene.
Attendee Rebecca Fitzpatrick said she had fully come to understand her sexuality in the last year and was ready to celebrate it.
“I can be myself. I am bisexual and bisexuals are always left out because people think it is a phase. I am fifty-fifty. I like both.”
Saidbh Boyle from Crosshaven, Co Cork, said she attended the parade to support her gay and lesbian friends.
“I know a lot of people who identify as gay or lesbian. Today is about having freedom to show who you are in public because it was illegal in Ireland until the 1990s.”
Sophie Lehane from Ballincollig, Co Cork, said the day was about being comfortable in your own skin.
“I came because all my friends are here and I myself am gay. It’s important because it is about being happy with who you are.” Dylan McCarthy, also from Ballincollig, said it was a good opportunity to gather in solidarity with friends.
“I came for the same reasons (as Sophie). It is to support being ourselves. I am gay myself.
Some 30 events took place in the week-long Cork Pride festival, whose theme this year was ‘The Original Rebels’. Thousands attended the Parade. And to help get the city in the spirit, Cork City Hall was lit up in the colours of the rainbow in honour of Pride.
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