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The BelTel: The story of Belfast Pride - from RUC stings to street parades

Gay rights veteran explains how RUC sting operations aimed at 'cottaging' led to suicides

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Belfast Pride in 1996, just five years after the first march in 1991.

Belfast Pride in 1996, just five years after the first march in 1991.

Belfast Pride in 1996, just five years after the first march in 1991.

Tens of thousands of people now take part in the Belfast Pride as the annual celebration of the LGBT+ community.

But that wasn’t the case when the first Belfast Pride was held in 1991 when a handful of people took part.

It was held in a Northern Ireland which was much less tolerant and understanding, a gay rights veteran explains, telling the BelTel how RUC sting operations aimed at 'cottaging' led to suicides.

How did Pride grow into the massive event it is now and why is it still so important to the LGBT+ community?

Ciarán Dunbar speaks to Terry McFarlane, who was a volunteer with the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association and one of the few people on the first Belfast Pride March, and John O’Doherty who is director of the Rainbow Project and is involved in Pride today.

The history of Belfast Pride

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