Category Archives: Pride

A little bit DUP Belfast Pride history

For the first time in the history of Belfast Pride Talks Back (an event were our political leaders answer questions on LGBT issues) an elected member of the DUP was on the panel.

That person was the DUP Lord Mayor Alderman Gavin Robinson. Here is him being interviewed by UTV after the event.

We’d like to congratulate the DUP on taking this important step on actually engaging with Belfast Pride. It was only last year that one of their MLA’s called anyone whop was involved with Pride repugnant. I trust that that does not not apply to his parties Lord Mayor who was merely engaging with others.

Engaging is only the first step, as Robinson said in his interview he was putting an alternative view in an atmosphere of tolerance, but there are things that the LGBT community feel there needs to be action on. There have been no steps to greater LGBT equality under devolution, civil partenerships only came in under direct rule from Westminster. Yet the other devolved powers in the UK have taken further steps as have Westminster but Northern Ireland is lagging behind in terms of equality in this one area far more than equality elsewhere.


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One year resbite for Laganside events

Festival of Fools

Festival of Fools

Earlier this week we posted about the removal of the Laganside Events Grant without any prior consultation with the groups who have applied for funding in recent years.

Today there is some good news.

The Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has found £200,000 in the budget and the DSD is providing an extra £50,000 for one year.

By the looks of things the organisations that run events in the Catherdral Quarter and elsewhere will need toi find fresh funding and sponsors for 2013-14 and onwards but at least there will be funding to put on the events this year some of which were as early as April having only 7 weeks notice of the grant ending at the end of April.

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Belfast Pride amongst festivals affected by end of Laganside Events Fund

The news that the Department of Social Development DSD is to totally cut the Laganside Events Fund may lead to hard times or the cancellation of many festivals in Belfast’s eclectic Cathedral Quarter.

Those organisations that took funds from 2011-12 include Belfast Pride and Outburst the Queer Arts Festival. Also included are Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Festival of Fools, Black Box Events, Open House Festival, Belfast Children’s Festival, Out to Lunch Festival, Summer Sundays and Culture Night.

As the above list shows the groups benefiting from fund were diverse and covered many aspects of Belfast and the wider Northern Ireland community. DSD decided to tell these groups that the funding would cease from 31 March 2012 to give them time to find alternative funding. But as ant fundraiser or organiser will tell you, the planning and financing of an annual event will have started as soon as the previous event finished. Festival of Fools happens in April and have been told that some of the funding they were relying on has been taken from under their feet with less than 2 months notice.

A statement from a spokesperson at the DSD said:

“Due to funding pressures within the Department’s budget we have had to close the Laganside Events Grant from 31 March 2012. We have notified those organisations which usually apply for this grant in order to provide time for them to identify other potential funders for events planned for later this year.

“The Department remains committed to promoting the Laganside area and has earmarked £530,000 to support the initial operations of the new MAC when it opens in April 2012. We also have a funding commitment of £100,000 to support the work of the Cathedral Quarter Steering Group.

“The Department will also continue to accept applications for the Laganside Community Activity Grant during the 2012/13 financial year. This grant enables local communities to use the amenities in the area.”

The new MAC does look good, but it is rather establishment like the Lyric, the Opera House or the Ulster Museum. One of the things I loved about working in Edinburgh was the eclectic mix of its festivals through the year. Of course there were the Fringe and International Festival in August but there were others spread throughout the year, some big and some small. That was a sense of what the Cathedral Quarter was becoming. The Quarter plays some part in the Belfast Festival but it carries on its bohemian role beyond that brief part of the year. The MAC magnificent though it looks (and I have yet to be inside) when it opens in April will not be able to compensate, sponsor, nor accommodate all the various festivals that are being affected.

The Cathedral Quarter has been a buzzing part of the city in recent years. If this lack of funding causes some of those events to scale back or cancel for 2012/13 it may make it harder for them to pick up and carry on once they can sort out alternative funding. The cut this late may have been a result of dallying that the Assembly took to finalise their budget. But to pull funding this sharply, so completely, so late in the planning cycle of many is bound to have consequences.

We will have to wait and see just how disastorous this will be to the lifeblood of the quarter. But in the meantime many with a diversity of interests are up in arms at the sudden withdrawal of this funding from DSD.

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To appeal to liberals DUP have to be liberal

Pride on the Hill 2011 lacking a DUP presence

Cross posted from Stephen’s Liberal Journal

Apparently Peter Robinson’s moves to attend GAA games are to woo liberal unionists according to today’s Belfast Telegraph.

If the DUP really want to woo liberals, why don’t they start to send a representative to the discussion panels that form part of the Pride weeks around Northern Ireland. Until they are seen to be listening to everyone they cannot be seen as ‘liberal’.

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It may be Free Derry, but she’s not free to come speak there

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera denied access to UK to speak at Foyle Pride

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesra may have won the the 2011 Martin Ennals award for Human Rights but she has been denied entry into the UK to be a keynote speaker at Foyle Pride.

This lesbian campaigner was due to kick off the Foyle Pride festival on 24th August. The limited resources of the Pride committee of Northern Ireland’s second city were looking to increase on the spalsh they made last year with the first Pride Parade in the city. They booked and paid to get the Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda, a main lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organization, to the festival. But the UK Borders Agency has denied her a visa to enter the UK.

In the run up to the election one of the main party’s spokespeople on overseas aid and development at the CADA hustings, said he had no position on the dichotomy of the abysmal LGBT rights record of Uganda nad providing aid. Now somebody from the ground in Uganda has been denied access to share her story of what it is actually like, something that the future Health Minister as DUP spokesperson on the subject of aid and development would have to sit up, take notice and take a position on.

There is a petition online that seeks to overturn, if possible this decision in the days left before Kasha is due to speak. Please go along and sign it.


Notes: The Foyle Pride Festival in various guises is 18 this year. There is a whole calendar af events from the 24th to 28th of this month, with the second parade crossing the river and ending in Guildhall Square on the 28th.

In Uganda homosexuality is criminalised, and those who engage in homosexual acts could be jailed currently for up to 14 years. Correctional rape is carried out on lesbians. In 2009 a private members bill by David Bahati looked to broaden the scope of anti-homosexual law in Uganda and for Ugandans. Under the proposed bill any repeat offenders, HIV Positive males, anyone suspected of “aggravated homosexuality”, or has same sex relations with someone under the age of 18 could be put to death. Also Ugandans who have same sex relations overseas could face extradition back to Uganda to face these charges and sentances. Also anyone who fails to turn in anyone suspected of such activity within 24 hours could face prison of up to three years.

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