Richard Lynch, PRO Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017, Cllr Vivienne Crowley, Deputy Mayor of Limerick pictured with some the inspirational young people who form the Youth Advisory Panel on the LGBT Youth Strategy at the Limerick LGBT Pride Parade 2017. Picture: Álex Ricöller/ilovelimerick.
Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017 is huge success with inspirational youth pride of place
By ilovelimerick correspondent Frances Watkins
This year the focus of Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017 was youth with inspirational young people taking pride of place in the celebrations. The Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017 Grand Marshals were the incredible young people who form the Youth Advisory Panel on the LGBTI Youth Strategy. This strategy is the first of its kind in the world focusing on the needs of LGBT young people in Ireland. The young people came from all over Ireland to represent the youth strategy team. Seven members of the group travelled to Limerick to take part in the LGBTI Pride Parade as Grand Marshals.
The young people were delighted to be involved in Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017. The group were keen to focus on gender recognition. During their speech at Pride Fest following the parade, one member of the group said “In this country, if you are under 16 you can’t be legally recognised for your gender. If you are between 16 and 17 you can but you have to go through loopholes. Right now we are trying to fix that so that everybody can have legal gender recognition”.
The amazing young people spoke candidly at Pride Fest with another member saying “When we were talking to young people while doing our consultations we found out that some of the words we use all the time in our community are not words that everybody knows. When I say my pronouns are she/her that means that is how I would like to be addressed, when people use those pronouns with me that is them respecting me”.
The aim of the group is to develop a strategy which addresses the challenges and needs faced by young members of Ireland’s LGBTI community and will work with young people from all over the country to do so. The strategy will ensure that all young LGBTI young people can achieve their full potential in terms of their physical and mental well-being, being safe and protected from harm and are respected and contributing to their world.
Members of the group also spoke about their experience of being involved in the strategy and what it means to them “I am lucky I live in Dublin it’s a very friendly and open environment but other areas of Ireland are not like that and those are the people that I am trying to help. Those people who are younger than me and who will grow up after me deserve to be represented”.
The group were passionate about their work and one member spoke about the inclusion of the I for intersex in LGBTI. “I stands for intersex, an intersex person is someone who was born with ambiguous genitalia or chromosomes. That means that they are not classed with what would traditionally be a male or female body. Often these babies have surgery to make them ‘normal’ and we would like to put a stop to that with our involvement in this strategy”.
Overall, Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017 was a huge success with events running throughout the week. The main celebrations took place on Saturday with the Parade, Pride Fest at performances at Dolan’s. The parade saw hundreds of people line the streets of Limerick to celebrate Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017. This was followed by a huge Pride Fest held at the Hunt Museum which featured performances from legendary drag queen Shyanne O’Shea, Unity Gospel Choir Limerick amongst others. Saturday night saw Dolan’s filled with Pride as they hosted the Pride Climax party.
X Factor star Saara Alto took to the stage and gave a dazzling performance. Other performances on the night came from Limerick native Doreen Grimes, Shyanne O’Shea, Madonna Lucia and Paul Ryder.
Richard Lynch, PRO Limerick LGBTI+ Pride 2017 said “People have been asking now that Marriage Equality has been passed in Ireland, why is there a need for a Pride Festival? There will always be a need as long as others in the global LGBTQ community are not as fortunate as us in terms of equal rights. We must fight for our brothers and sisters throughout the world and take a stand for human rights for all. That’s why our theme this year is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBTQ) Youth. It was an event supporting LGBTQ young people in Limerick and beyond and we want Pride to be an inclusive, open and integrated event welcoming all people regardless of their sexual or gender orientation, religion or race.
For more on Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017 click here
For more on the LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy click here