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.
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.
Filed under Pride, Stormont
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’.
Filed under Pride, Stormont
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.