Sydney Mardi Gras Is Heading To Newry

Newry will host this year's Ireland and UK Pride Festival and Parade and a contingent of Sydney expats will bring Mardi Gras to the border county.

Sydney Mardi Gras Is Heading To Newry

Last October, Newry was selected as the host of Ireland and UK Pride Festival and Parade 2019.

The Sydney Queer Irish group showed their solidarity and sent their love to the group yesterday in Sydney, Australia outside the Opera House.

Paul Savage who is originally from Newry is a former Co-Chair of Sydney Mardi Gras and plans are underway for a group to travel from Sydney to Newry in August.

Paul commented on how far Newry has come since he left 15 years ago: “I’ve been watching what the Newry Rainbow Community and Pride In Newry have been doing over the last 7 years and I think they have done an amazing job that Newry and NI should be very proud of. Changed times since I lived in Newry 15 years ago…”

There are also talks of Drag Race star Courtney Act joining the Sydney contingent who are hoping to run their own event as part of the festival.

Speaking of this show of support for across the globe, Chairperson of Newry Rainbow Community, Rory Rafferty said, “It’s absolutely amazing to receive such a tangible expression of support from the other side of the world. It’s extremely heartening for me and the team to know that our message is being received far and wide! We look forward to welcoming Sydney Mardi Gras, Sydney Queer Irish and Channel 7 News Australia to Newry in August for the UK and Ireland Pride”.

 

Same-Sex Marriage Celebrated On Belfast Stage, But Still No Equality In Northern Ireland

A play celebrating Ireland’s 2015 marriage equality referendum comes to the stage of Belfast’s Lyric Theatre on Thursday night, in a city where same-sex couples are still waiting for the right to marry.

‘A Day In May’ is the story of the long campaign that led to the Republic of Ireland became the first nation in the world to introduce marriage equality by popular vote.

One of the real-life personal stories featured on stage is that of Noel Sharkey, in 2015 a medical student and a Yes Equality campaign leader in his native Donegal.

Four years on, he’s now Dr Noel Sharkey and working in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital. Alongside his partner, a Northern Ireland-born lawyer, he finds himself living on the side of the Irish border where same-sex marriage is still banned by law:

“The marriage equality campaign in 2015 was one where the personal became public. By sharing our vulnerability and experience, LGBT people were rewarded with the affirmation of the Irish electorate that they were no longer going to be treated as second class citizens.

“Victory for the campaign in Donegal was somewhat bittersweet, knowing that change in law would not apply to Northern Ireland. My partner is from Belfast, a city we both call home and where we both work as a doctor and a lawyer. We put a lot into society here and I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be able to get married here, without having to knock on more doors for the privilege.

“It is incorrectly assumed that Northern Irish attitudes are behind others when it comes to marriage equality, but this assumption really only applies to some politicians here.”

‘A Day In May’ will be presented for one night only at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast on Thursday April 11, 7:45 pm, in association with the Social Change Initiative, Love Equality and Pat Moylan productions, with profits going to the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland. Get tickets here.

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