A grand day out

Just a few brief reflections on last Saturday’s Gay Pride march in Belfast. It was a good deal bigger than in previous years – the 7000 figure quoted seemed a bit steep, but it was definitely in the thousands. All the recent media furore must have helped. Nice to see some marchers getting into the spirit of things by dressing up as Iris Robinson.

Apart from being rather large, the composition was a lot more working-class than you’d be used to. One expects the luvvies, but plenty of ordinary punters turning up to show their support, many of whom must not be gay themselves. This is all to the good. And lots of political banners – and, really, an awful lot of politicians, from every party bar the DUP. The nationalists might have been expected, but the intrepid Basil McCrea of the Official Unionists provoked a double-take. I also noticed a fair presence from Amnesty International, who weren’t much in evidence when they might have been useful here, but since the Troubles finished seem to have extended their mandate big time.

There was the usual picket of Free Presbyterians waving bibles and shouting about Sodom and Gomorrah, but they were relatively few in number and they don’t disrupt things the way they used to. Only two incidents worth mentioning arising from that. First was a lone fundamentalist rushing the parade, apparently with the intent of attacking a float featuring a papière-maché head of Iris Robinson. And one gay decided to moon the fundies. This last has led to the predictable outbreak of synthetic anger in the News Letter, which has been holding forth about Christians being subjected to abuse.

In general, though, quite a lively party atmosphere. The organisers seem to be going for the Mardi Gras style. And after years of tramping through damp streets in small numbers to the heckling of hellfire preachers, I suppose you can’t blame the gays for trying to have some fun for a change.

9 Comments

  1. ejh said,

    August 5, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    There was the usual picket of Free Presbyterians waving bibles and shouting about Sodom and Gomorrah, but they were relatively few in number and they don’t disrupt things the way they used to.

    I assumed they were laid on for entertainment.

  2. splinteredsunrise said,

    August 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    It just wouldn’t be the same without Rev McIlveen.

  3. Renegade Eye said,

    August 5, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    See this.

  4. Dr Paul said,

    August 6, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Blimey, isn’t that Iris Robinson on the left in that picture?

  5. Garibaldy said,

    August 6, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    SS,

    Did you see the claims on politics.ie (now removed) that a guy not only mooned by also started to knock one out and finger his own backside? I was wondering if you or any readers could say whether this was true or not. I’ve no objections to annoying the Free Ps, but that seems a bit much in public if it happened.

  6. splinteredsunrise said,

    August 6, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    I didn’t personally see the mooning, but that would seem to be a bit steep, yeah. I suspect some embellishment…

  7. Mike said,

    August 6, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Iris on the left and Splinty on the right. Oh Missus!!!

  8. Garibaldy said,

    August 7, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Cheers SS. I suspect some embellishment too.

  9. admin said,

    August 7, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    RE: indecent exposure allegation-it was front page Irish News-
    See http://www.hiddenireland.wordpress.com


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