Belfast Pride needs proper status

Honestly, going on parades of any kind just isn’t my thing – in the same way rock concerts or road racing aren’t. However, the Twelfth is clearly a significant event and television coverage reflects this; events such as Tennents Vital are well trailed; and the just past North West 200 and upcoming Ulster GP are given appropriate “major event” status by the Tourist Board.

This weekend another well-established and huge gathering takes place in Northern Ireland – a day of fun and frolics to be attended by thousands. Indeed, there is potential in future for it to grow, one year, into Europe’s showpiece event in a not dissimilar way to the MTV Awards or Giro Grande Partenza. I speak, of course, of Belfast Pride.

Much is made of this politically, and rightly so; but much could also be made of it socially and economically. It attracts people to Belfast. It brings people into shops, leisure facilities and cafés they would not otherwise frequent. Hotels can be booked out. In short, it is a significant boost to the city centre and its traders.

So you are left to wonder – why no “major event” status? Why so little trailing well in advance by the mainstream? I trust an evening’s coverage is being planned by BBC NI as I write? I ask these questions genuinely – but they do need answers. I wouldn’t like to think a Pride event would not be treated even-handedly…


2 thoughts on “Belfast Pride needs proper status

  1. other paul says:

    Although I consider myself a liberal, I’d quite happily not see a belfast pride parade, (or for that matter any and all annual (/periodic) parades or marches in Belfast/northern ireland). I’d like to qualify all this by saying I’m completely for equal rights for LGBT’s, marriage, adoption, blood donors. I think the LGBT community has been shamefully treated throughout our recent history.

    Having said all that, perhaps someone could enlighten me but I’d like to know how pride parades help advance the LGBT cause,because to me they’re too polarising for their own good.

  2. As I said in the article, I’m not keen on parades generally.

    That said, it so happened I was in the City Centre today and so attended the Pride parade for much of its route. I thought it was fantastic; the whole atmosphere in the City Centre was great. In fact, I got the impression it was more to do with young people wanting to come together and have a good time in the name of common citizenship than anything else.

    I think we need to move on from this notion that a progressive, fair, equal future means the abandonment of all culture. On the contrary, I think St Patrick’s, Orange and Pride Festivals all have the potential to strengthen the city. What we need to do, in each case, is remove the divisive, negative aspects and focus on the positive, fun factor.

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