Over 500 LGBT+ Young People will march with BeLonG To Youth Services and Youth Work Ireland at Dublin Pride

Over 500 LGBT+ young people from across Ireland will march under the banner ‘Transforming Young LGBT+ Lives’ alongside BeLonG To Youth Services and Youth Work Ireland.

young people Youth Work Ireland
Image: Youth Work Ireland

Pride is a time to focus on LGBT+ equality and rights, according to LGBT+ young people as they prepare to march this weekend at Dublin Pride. With growing numbers of organisations, community groups, and corporations joining the event, we asked LGBT+ youth what Pride means to them:

“Pride is about celebrating who I am and fighting for the equality for all LGBT+ people. It is a space for us to embrace our community and identity,” says 19 year-old, Jayson Pope.

Speaking in advance of Pride, 17 year-old, Deborah Fakeye says: “To me, Pride is the chance to exist loudly and proudly. LGBT+ identities are not the standard in our society, and it can be easy to forget that we are such a massive network of strength, character, colour and courage all across the world. Pride is a reminder of the diversity and adversity that joins us. It is the perfect place for LGBT+ people to be celebrated and visible. Representation matters.”

According to 22 year-old Michael Conway: “Pride to me is a protest – it always will be. It is about feeling safe and seen, and having Pride in who we are.”

As part of this year’s Dublin Pride, over 500 LGBT+ young people from across Ireland will march under the banner ‘Transforming Young LGBT+ Lives’ alongside BeLonG To Youth Services and Youth Work Ireland. Pride this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising – the birthplace of the LGBT+ rights movement.

Moninne Griffith, CEO of BeLonG To Youth Services says: “The LGBTI+ community is made up of a rainbow of many communities and voices. Pride is a time for every LGBTI+ person to celebrate and protest however their choose. For many of the LGBTI+ young people who travel from all over Ireland for Dublin Pride, the parade is about being visible, valued and celebrating who they are with their community. We are excited to march with young people and youth workers from some of the 45 LGBTI+ youth groups we support across Ireland.

“It is positive to see so many allies supporting the LGBT+ community and LGBT+ young people in a meaningful way and showing their Pride. However, flying a rainbow flag for one day is not enough. LGBT+ young people who face high levels of mental health challenges because of bullying, rejection and exclusion need support, safe spaces, and allyship today, tomorrow, and every day. This Pride, let’s commemorate the brave activists who paved the way for LGBT+ rights in Ireland and around the world, and let’s also recommit our efforts to the work we still have to do to achieve true equality.”

Patrick Burke, CEO of Youth Work Ireland, says: “Youth Work Ireland is proud to co-host the Pride Breakfast with our colleagues from Belong To and thrilled this event has become a regular feature of the annual festivities. Our building located close to the start of this year’s parade provides a great launch pad for young people taking part. In a similar way all our youth services around the country, particularly in more remote and rural areas, have acted for a number of years as launch pads for young people who have been coming to terms with their sexual identity.

“We must also remember that LGBTQ+ youth work is not just about the Pride even, the real work happens in local communities all year around where our youth services provide safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ young people in which they can grow and develop into who they are. This work continues to be underfunded – a real celebration of Pride would be for the Government to announce a significant increase in funding for LGBTQ+ youth work.”

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