Thousands attend Foyle Pride parade

On Saturday, August 24, thousands brought rainbows and sparkle to the streets of Derry for the annual Foyle Pride parade.

Foyle Pride 2019
Image: @brendanjharkin

Thousands of people turned out for Derry’s celebration of Pride as they took to the streets for the annual Foyle Pride Parade on Saturday, August 24.

There was a festive atmosphere as spectators lined the streets, and the message of many marchers was political, highlighting “Pride is a Protest”.

Marchers retraced the steps of the original Civil Rights march of October 1968, carrying the rainbow flag from Waterside railway station to Guildhall Square.

At the front of the parade, people held letters spelling out ‘Stonewall’ – the theme of this year’s festival. Under each letter were messages including: “Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much” and “You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down”.

Sara Canning, the partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, marched alongside many of their friends carrying a sign bearing McKee’s name. Sara wrote the foreword for Foyle Pride’s program this year detailing how this year’s Pride is bittersweet.

“Last year, I celebrated with the love of my life, and she was cruelly taken from everyone who loved her on Holy Thursday.

“Lyra McKee was a force for good and a passionate connector. She brought people together and had difficult conversations to help broaden hearts and minds.

“So here’s to Foyle Pride 2019, may we be proud, loud, filled with hope, unafraid to stand alongside our LGBT+ brothers and sisters and demand equal rights, and brave enough to have those difficult conversations that bring people together.”

The parade’s end saw the start of the evening’s festivities with music and dancing in Guildhall. There was entertainment throughout the day with a family fun day in the Peace Garden on Foyle Street.

The Pride parade was the finale in a week of fantastic events that entertained, educated, and empowered festival-goers.

Several film screenings and theatre performances took place as well as talks focusing on personal interpretations of the LGBT+ community’s journey to Pride and spoke about keeping the protest in Pride.

Other highlights included a Drag Story Time of Oscar Wilde’s Short Stories, Football vs Homophobia and various other outreach programmes and workshops, which all saw very healthy attendances.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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