At least 12,000 people took to the streets to participate in the 2023 Cork Pride parade. The march and subsequent afterparty on Sunday, August 6, culminated the week-long festival which kicked off on July 30.
The parade assembled on Grand Parade at 1pm, and marched over Eamon DeValera Bridge and toward the Marina Walk. It featured a massive Pride flag stretched across the street while on-lookers cheered and a range of rainbow, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans flags waved from the sidelines.
The theme for the 2023 festival was ‘30 Years On…’ marking the 30th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Irish law. Chairperson of Cork Pride, Clive Davis said that the theme for 2023: “…reminds us how far we have come as both a community and a country, as consecutive Governments have legislated to progress, protect, and enshrine the rights of LGBT+ citizens across the State.”
Cork Pride Business Development Manager, Kery Mullaly, said: “There were people lining the streets, four and five deep. It was really just incredible to see such an outpouring of love and kindness and warmth.”
‘In Brazil, there’s a lot of fear. Here, for the first time I felt peace, no one’s going to kill me for being who I want to be,’ Jean Lucas, part of the Brazillian #CorkPride23 parade group said pic.twitter.com/8XPv5E19JD
— Liz Dunphy (@LizDunphy1) August 6, 2023
This year’s attendance was an increase from the estimated 8,000 people who participated in 2022. Many allies showed up to support their LGBTQ+ neighbours and stand up to hate, especially in light of the recent anti-LGBTQ+ library protests that have happened this year where members of the far-right have objected to the presence of LGBTQ+ books and harassed staff.
Last week, an anti-LGBTQ+ rally was held in front of the library on Grand Parade, Cork, where roughly 60 people ordered the library to remove LGBTQ+ books from their shelves. Cork libraries were temporarily forced to close, apologised for the temporary disruption, and issued a response clarifying that they did not endorse or give permission for the banners placed over the buildings which read: “There are only two genders: male and female”.
One of Ireland’s youngest drag queens, Karma O’Hara, said: “It’s so important to create a safe space for people to come out together and to get away from the stigma we all experience. Hate crimes have been increasing, so it’s important to come together at a time like this and celebrate. We’re here to show that we’re here too.”
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The official Cork Pride ‘Party at the Port’ afterparty took place at The Pavillion at the Port of Cork, Kennedy Quay and featured a live performance from Irish Eurovision act Wild Youth. Crowds of people sang and danced along well into the early hours, enjoying the brilliant weather and atmosphere.
Lord Mayor Kieran McCarthy addressed the crowd from the stage saying: “I have two messages. One, love who you want to love. And secondly, be who you want to be. Why? Because life is too short.”
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