Sunday, August 07, 2005

[politics] Gay Pride in Belfast, Northern Ireland

While the description of Belfast Pride 2005 is interesting in and of itself (being one of Belfast's only major city-wide events that crosses sectarian lines, joining Protestant and Caatholic queers alike), what I found to be almost more interesting was the snapshot of gay rights and queerness itself in Europe:
Some costumes at the [Belfast] 2005 Pride may have been a bit risque but probably no worse than at the cabaret in the old French comedy La Cage Aux Folles. And certainly not a patch on the outfits I saw earlier this summer on a weekend in Cologne which coincided with its vast Pride events. Yet at the German event, straight people on the streets did not appear to bat an eyelid as gay men and women thronged the Old City where every other cafe or pub displayed rainbow flags. There was a feeling that these gay people were accepted as an organic part of the community, free to live differently but equally in modern Europe. By contrast, furious protests accompanied Prides in Riga and Bucharest while Warsaw banned its event, although Polish gays marched anyway. And a major test for gay rights is looming in May 2006, if Russia's gay community presses ahead with the first Moscow Pride - something the mayor has vowed to ban. In the event, Belfast's parade passed off without incident but its organisers remain determined to maintain public awareness of their pride in their orientation and their rights[.]
The article has an accompanying anecdotal piece about being gay in Belfast; one of the more interesting observations made in both articles is that as the Troubles have subsided, people are seeing more overt expressions of homophobia. Color me shocked. Not.

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