VIDEO: Solidarity and celebration at post-vote Cork Pride

Grey skies didn’t dull the rainbow colours at Cork’s 10th annual Pride parade yesterday afternoon.

A 200ft rainbow flag; colourful balloons; a DJ playing disco hits from a mobile float; and participants representing a wide variety of organisations joined Cork’s first LGBT Pride parade since May’s marriage equality referendum.

Although the weather may have had an effect on the turnout, which was closer to the 10,000 mark than the 15,000 expected, spirits were very high.

JP McCarthy, Cork Pride’s press officer, has been involved with the event since its humble beginnings a decade ago, when just 200 brave souls took to the streets.

“We had one small pick-up truck,” he said. “We talked about whether or not it was a good idea for ages. Some people really thought that Cork wasn’t ready for it.”

Evelyn Conwell, Helen Austin, Derek McCarthy and Kyle O’Loughlin, all from Cobh.

Despite problems with hecklers in its second year, Mr McCarthy said the Cork Pride parade hasn’t suffered from anything like the level of violence or abuse seen at similar events internationally. Six people were stabbed at Jerusalem’s Pride parade last Thursday.

Mr McCarthy is originally from Waterford and got involved with UCC’s LGBT society when he moved to Cork, aged 18. “After the Yes vote in May, some people are asking, ‘Is there still a need for Pride?’ What started historically as a protest back in the 60s has now become a celebration,” he said.

Gabriele Balciunaide, ‘Kitty Cartier’ and Rosemarie Murray.

“The events in Jerusalem, and other persecution in Russia and Uganda, mean that we’re doing more than just celebrating, though. We are showing solidarity with people who still face violence, persecution, and even death for their sexual orientation.”

For Joe Mulrennan, 30, and Ted O’Connell, 57, there was an extra reason to celebrate the event: They got engaged just two weeks after May’s referendum result, while on holidays in Spain. Ted, a publican and former owner of Loafers, opens a new bar on Cork’s Douglas St in two weeks and with Joe set to be head chef, they’ll wait until things settle before tying the knot in 2017.

Jacob Egan Morley and Orla Egan, Cork, and Myra McGuirk, from Dublin, with her dog Marilyn attend the festival.

Onlookers, not only from the LGBT community, came from further afield to attend. Paul and Joanne McGrath and their children Niamh and Cillian came from Co Tipperary to show support.

Former senator Colm O’Gorman, the executive director of Amnesty International and a vocal Yes-vote referendum campaigner, was delighted to be Grand Marshall of the parade.

Mark McCarthy, Chris Conway, Paul Deasy, Roland O’Connell.

“Pride has taken on a whole new dimension since the marriage equality referendum,” he said.

“It sends out a message internationally to people in other countries facingpersecution and it reminds us that visibility is important.”

Randy Rosie has her eyelashes adjusted by Cruelle DeVille.

Despite the weather, Mr O’Gorman said: “Nothing will rain on this parade.”

However, as celebrations continued in Deep South on Grand Parade after the event, news filtered through of the death of Shira Banki, 16, who was stabbed at last Thursday’s Pride march in Jerusalem.

Mr O’Gorman said: “It was incredibly shocking, and very sad to hear that she has died.

“Everyone’s thoughts will be with her family even as we celebrate.”

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