Belfast man Dean McCullough's pride as the host of London gay festival
A Belfast man has been selected to host London Pride in Trafalgar Square later this month.
Dean McCullough (22) says he cannot wait to be an ambassador for Northern Ireland on June 27 when he welcomes more than 30,000 equality activists from all over the world to the annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Dean moved to London when he was 17 to pursue his dream of acting, singing and dancing and just a year after appearing with the Glambassadors on Britain's Got Talent - "head to toe in diamantes in front of Simon Cowell" - he will take to the Pride stage in the heart of the capital.
"I am a gay man with traditional values and want to be an ambassador for Northern Ireland," he said.
"I plan to be myself. I am proud of myself. I hope I inspire other young people to do the same." Dean told the Belfast Telegraph the line-up for the London Pride event has yet to be revealed but will include top music acts.
"I am so excited to have been picked as a host of London Pride," he said. "I will be interviewing all of the stars, getting all their gossip and talking to them about Ireland and the referendum and what might happen in Northern Ireland. I am proud of being from Belfast and want everyone to know.
"It will be a lovely day."
Dean was thrilled to learn of the Yes vote in the Republic's same-sex marriage referendum and hopes Northern Ireland will be next to extend civil marriage rights to LGBT couples.
"I am happy the vote in Ireland succeeded," he said.
"It makes me very proud being here in London when people say 'you can go home and get married' and then it is embarrassing to admit Northern Ireland is out there in its own. Hopefully one day I will fall in love and be able to get married in Belfast."
Dean says he firmly believes in a positive future for Northern Ireland but admits it is upsetting to him that equality is being denied to its LGBT community.
"My family is Catholic but I was raised in Christian, Protestant and Catholic schools so I have done the rounds when it comes to backgrounds," he said.
"Politics has never been a massive part of my life. I've been to Mass and to the Twelfth of July. I enjoy celebrating all cultures.
"I have always been gay, I came out of the womb gay, so it upsets me to hear people saying it is a choice."