There is still a long way to go here in the ongoing battle for genuine LGBT equality in society today
After the prosecution of thousands of gay men over many decades (such as war hero Alan Turing), homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales on July 27, 1967. Last Thursday marked the 50th anniversary.
Northern Ireland had to wait (as per usual) until 1982, following Dudgeon v UK. While we continue to fight for a number of important, but absent, legal protections, the injustice of ongoing homophobia and transphobia experienced by LGBT people must not be overlooked.
Until we have a society which welcomes, accepts and values LGBT people as truly equal citizens many will be left to live a life uneasy with their own sexuality and identity, unsafe and unwilling to hold their lover's hand in public, unable to be fully "out" and with some tragically seeing suicide and self-harm as a solution. I've seen all of this far too often.
The work of LGBT organisations and volunteers to combat homophobia and transphobia and deliver change in the face of hostile views from some political leaders (and lack of funding) must be commended. Until all LGBT citizens are treated equally and enabled to lead open and confident lives as they desire, the battle has not been won.
That's why Belfast Pride was important when founded in 1991, and still remains so today in 2017 as we continue to raise visibility of these issues with support from our families, friends, colleagues and allies.
Cllr Andrew Muir (Alliance)
Ards and North Down Borough Council