The celebration of LGBTQ Pride takes all sorts of different forms around the world. What began as a political movement, demanding equality and human rights for LGBTQ people, has evolved in many places. Today’s Pride events often include festivals, parades, and parties of all shapes and sizes.
What’s undeniable is that the focus and character of a Pride event is very much shaped by the city and people that it represents, and you see this best illustrated in smaller communities.
The Foyle Pride Festival - which brings together the people of Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland for celebrations each summer – is a great example of how smaller Pride events can often pack the biggest emotional punch.
2019 will be the 26th anniversary of LGBTQ Pride celebrations in Derry-Londonderry. Each year, the Pride events are in August.
The city of Derry-Londonderry has a bit of a broken history. The fact that it’s a place called different things by different people is an indication that religious and cultural differences run deep and time heals slowly.
This is also a socially conservative part of the world. Northern Ireland is the one part of the UK that hasn’t yet embraced marriage equality.
The first LGBTQ Pride celebrations in Derry-Londonderry were started in 1993 by a couple of community leaders, who advertised in the classified sections of local papers to get people involved. Everything is organised by a volunteer committee – the success of each Pride is dependent on the energy that people bring to the organising committee.
Around 15,000 people participate in some way during the week-long Pride celebrations each year, with about 8,000 people actually marching in the parade. The route followed by the Pride parade is the Bloody Sunday route – an historic and highly significant route in terms of the civil rights history of this city. Every year there is a small group of anti-gay protesters.
A lot of LGBTQ people move away from Derry-Londonderry, but increasingly people will return home to celebrate Pride.