Limerick LGBTI Pride Festival 2016 got under way last week with a number of special events held for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities in the city, as well as the wider Limerick public.
As always, there was an educational aspect to the Limerick LGBTI Pride Festival 2016. Support meetings will be held throughout the week for youth, adult and transgender groups.
The main event, of course, was the annual Limerick Pride parade, which kicked off last Saturday from City Hall.
The theme of this year’s festival was #UnitedColoursofLimerick and the Parade was led by Broden Giambrone, the chief executive of Transgender Equality Network Ireland. Broden brought many friends from Dublin and after the Parade made an inspirational speech at PrideFest 2016, a showcase of local LGBT culture, held in a beautiful marquee on the grounds of the Hunt Museum.
In 2015, Ireland saw the Marriage Equality Referendum passed as well as a Bill on Gender Recognition; Broden said that although these are welcome changes and are massive steps in LGBTI history in Ireland there is still a lot to be done. Broden says there is a need for hate-crime legislation, increased supports nationally and the revision of the Gender Recognition Act to include all members of the trans community.
“More broadly increased positive visibility is what we need, that is what changes people’s views. Legislation is important but we need to show that as trans people, we are part of Irish society, we are your siblings, your co-workers, your friends, we are your family. We are one element, one aspect of human diversity.”
Pride festivals are a celebration of history, community and acceptance said Broden, who also believes it is the perfect platform to educate society on the LGBTI community, “A lot of people at Pride come from within the community, but you also get a lot of friends, families and allies coming as well, so it is the perfect platform to be talking about these issues and the diversity of the LGBTI community.”
“Being trans is part of the human condition, we should be able to accept that and celebrate it like we do all diversities. Positive visibility is a big part; supporting people in being able to live true to who they are.”
I was honoured that Broden said yes when I asked him to be the Grand Marshall for this years Limerick Pride. There is a need for LGBTI Pride festivals, as long as others in the global LGBTI community are not as fortunate as us in Ireland in terms of equal human rights. We must take a stand for human rights for all. That’s why our theme this year is #UnitedColoursofLimerick. We want Pride to be an inclusive, open and integrated event welcoming all people regardless of their sexual or gender orientation, religion or race. This year we aimed to put the T back into LGBTI, with a focus specifically on advancing the rights and equality of trans people and their families and we succeeded admirably. It was thrilled to be able to see transgendered people walking through the streets of Limerick with the people of Limerick put on the streets waving them on with love.
The Limerick Pride LGBTI Festival 2016 took place starting on Monday July 11 until Sunday July 17 with the Parade on Saturday July 16 and featured a multitude of events from workshops, support meetings and discussions to evenings of music and club nights, to cater to the Pride needs of everyone.
A Day in May photograph exhibition was launched in The Belltable, 69 O’Connell Street on Monday, July 11 to coincide with Limerick LGBTI Pride.
Limerick Pride’s official Launch night was on Monday July 11 and finished off in Strokers Gay Bar on William Street with champagne, finger food and dance floor musical treats. Strokers are opening 7 nights during Pride to offer something different on every night of Pride.
On Tuesday July 12 from 1pm to 4pm, Strokers Gay Bar hosted a Trans Workshop. Whether you’re interested in learning to put on make up, pick out high heels or how to create a realistic beard, this was a very special event. Experts were there to show all who attended the skills you need to present in your gender.
On Wednesday July 13, the Pride Wedding Show, a wedding fair established in 2014 as part of Limerick Pride Festival, took place from 6pm to 8pm, venue TBD. Sharon McMeel, an award winning wedding planner, said about the fair: “We’ll have different suppliers and vendors there, so all couples regardless of their sexual orientation will have a good opportunity to get answers to their important questions if they are considering getting married. With the historic ‘Yes’ vote last year for the marriage referendum, it’s great to be able to look out for all the people who have gotten newly engaged.”
Wednesday after the Pride Wedding Show, Cobblestone Joes was home to the Limerick Pride Open Mic night. The inclusive atmosphere of one of Limericks top music venues was the perfect fit for the #UnitedColoursofLimerick theme with all singers and musicians welcome for this fantastic music celebration.
On Thursday July 14, Mezz Ladies Night at the Red Hen saw the comeback of the hottest night for girls who like girls with a prosecco reception, DJ and late bar with free admission.
On Friday, July 15 the now traditional event ‘T’was the night before Pride’ took place at Mickey Martins from 9pm-11.30pm. Running since 2008, Mickey Martins returned for another year to host the pre-pride party with guest DJ Aoife Nic Canna. Afterwards it was off to Club Milk’s 3rd Birthday Bash with DJ Gary G.
The annual Limerick LGBTI Pride parade began on Saturday July 16, and brought some extra colour and music to Limerick City Centre, gathering at City Hall at 1.30pm, the Parade made its way at 2.30pm sharp up O’Connell Street, across Mallow Street to Henry Street, past Arthurs Quay Park and returned to the Hunt Museum for PrideFest 2016.
PrideFest 2016 was a showcase of local LGBT culture in Limerick in a lavish marquee in the museum gardens with host Paul Ryder, with special guests Hands in Harmony Deaf Community Choir and back by popular demand Patrick James, Voice of Ireland 2015 winner. Limerick legend, actor, director and playwright, Myles Breen held his annual tea dance, which for many is a highlight of the festival.
That night after Pridefest, the main Climax Party at Dolan’s Warehouse, featured Queens of Limerick, Madonna Lucia and Sheila Fitzpatrick taking to the stage with local acts and with the Dublin queens of “Dragged Up” including Gala award entertainer of the year Victoria Secret, Paul Ryder, Regina George and Pixie, followed by DJ Ruth on the main floor, a “Saved by the 90s” party upstairs and Madonna Lucia hosting her monthly party at Confessions with DJ Bugsy. Three rooms packed with colour, vibrancy and music for all.
On Sunday, June 17, a Prideful Recovery Event was held at GOSHH, 18 Davis Street from 1pm – 5pm with holistic therapies including Reiki, Tarot and angel card readings.
A full line-up for Pride week can be found at www.LimerickPride.ie with updates at www.facebook.com/limerickpride. Tag your photos and comments about this years Pride with #UnitedColoursofLimerick.
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