Wicklow Pride Festival takes place this June, also known as Pride Month, which celebrates the diversity in our communities while also reminding us that society will be a better place when we have full inclusivity for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Non-binary and others.
“It’s a time to celebrate what has been achieved over the years and a time to create awareness that we do not have full acceptance of all, which is a major issue in Ireland and around the world.” Says filmmaker, Wicklow Pride Festival founder and LGBTQ+ activist Dave Thomas.
“The laws against Homosexuality date back to Victorian times in 1861. It wasn’t until 1993 Ireland decriminalised Homosexuality thanks to Senator David Norris. This was a significant positive development in Ireland. In 2015 we passed a referendum by popular vote that enabled Marriage Equality for same-sex couples. The same year, we had the Gender Recognition Act passed which meant that people could apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate to have their preferred gender recognised by the state. So Ireland has come a long way.” says Dave Thomas.
In recent years, there appears to be an increase of hate crimes against minorities in Ireland, often felt by the LGBTQ+ community. As Dave points out, “We do not have Hate Crime Legislation passed in Ireland yet. But it will happen. It is needed badly.”
“Flying the Pride Flag represents us all in the community. It’s a beacon of hope, inspiration, and a physical sign that tells young people afraid to come out to family and friends that they are not alone, they are part of a community that loves and supports them.”
This year, they will not be alone.
“I am delighted to announce that all Wicklow County Council Library Service are looking at doing something to mark Pride month. For the first time, the Coral Leisure Centre Arklow will fly the Pride Flag, many thanks to its Manager Michael for supporting this. The Arklow CBS will also fly the flag for the month of June. I can also announce that my good friend, local Arklow man Peter Fitzgerald has coordinated with the Management and Staff of the Bridgewater Shopping Centre where they will fly the Pride Flag also for the very first time.”
Dave is inviting all businesses and organisations across the County to participate by either flying a Pride Flag or creating rainbow artwork or anything that will show support for the month of June.