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Ulster Rugby and GAA line out for Belfast Pride parade

Sports bodies to take part as event back following pandemic

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The Pride parade outside Belfast City Hall in 2018

The Pride parade outside Belfast City Hall in 2018

John O'Doherty

John O'Doherty

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The Pride parade outside Belfast City Hall in 2018

Ulster Rugby and GAA representatives will take part in Belfast’s Pride parade on Saturday.

It returns for the first time since 2019 after a gap due to the pandemic.

Belfast Pride co-chair John O’Doherty said: “It is so important that we have this sporting representation, so we are very excited to have these organisations on board, who are supporting inclusion and diversity in our society.”

More than 60,000 attended the last event and organisers are hoping to beat that and attract the biggest crowd since Pride was inaugurated in 1991.

Organisers have seen a 35% increase in applications to take part compared to 2019.

Mr O’Doherty added: “We are so excited to be back this year. We are hoping we will also see a substantial increase in people spectating too.

“It has been a difficult few years for everyone over the pandemic, so we are hoping to celebrate some really momentous achievements from our LGBTQIA+ community, such as the introduction of equal marriage, as we missed our 30th anniversary parade last year.”

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Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets

Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Translink supports this year’s Belfast Pride Festival

Picture by Brian Morrison

Translink supports this year’s Belfast Pride Festival Picture by Brian Morrison

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets

Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets

Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets

Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets

Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets

Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets

Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets

Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets

Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets

Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets

Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

/

Belfast Pride returns in full to the city's streets Photo by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

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John O'Doherty

John O'Doherty

John O'Doherty

Mr O’Doherty said organisers wanted to help highlight ongoing inequalities.

“There are many issues still not addressed here. For example, last year we had the highest number of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes ever reported to the PSNI,” he said.

“People normally experience these hate crimes in their homes, where we have been stuck for the past two-and-a-half years.

“We have certainly come a long way over the past few years, but we can’t forget that we still have plenty to do,”

The campaign to ban conversion therapy, the failure of the Assembly to publish its LGBTQI+ strategy, and the mental health crisis within the community are other issues the festival hopes to highlight.

More than 135 events have been taking place over the past two weeks as part of the festival, which culminates in the Pride parade and party afterwards.

The build-up begins at 11.30am with the march starting at 1pm at Custom House Square, making its way via High Street, Bridge Street, Waring Street, Donegall Street, Royal Avenue, Donegall Place and Chichester Street, before finishing at Victoria Street. There will then be a post-parade party back at Custom House Square, finishing around 6pm.

The Public Health Agency this week urged those taking part in the celebrations to be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox amid rising cases, with the majority of those being among gay and bisexual men.


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