June is Pride Month, we're celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, together with our BeProud committee to raise awareness of the inequalities that still remain. This year has been a year that the Irish LGBTQ+ community has suffered greatly, with several attacks throughout the country, some, unfortunately ending in fatalities. It seems almost impossible to think that despite positive steps forward, we're still nowhere near the line of equality, where we should be. Anthony Cummins, chairperson of BeProud at Cpl reminds us of how Dublin Pride started and the tragedies that made people come and #StandTogether.
Remembering the history of the first Dublin Pride
We often think of Stonewall in New York as being the start of Pride's history. But here in Ireland on June 27, 1974, people marched from the Department of Justice on Stephen’s Green in Dublin to the British Embassy on Merrion Road, to highlight the criminalisation of homosexuality. This marked the first Dublin Pride march.
Regrettably, the 1980s in Ireland would be an even more difficult time for LGBTQ+ persons. Declan Flynn was brutally murdered in Fairview Park in 1983. Five thugs had attacked Declan and left him for dead. These assailants were between the ages of 12 and 18. Shortly after being apprehended, they admitted to what they had done, claiming that they were "cleaning the park of queers." The attackers were only given a suspended manslaughter sentence, adding to the indignation of this heinous murder.
This case brought to light the discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons in Ireland, which had formerly been hidden from the wider public. In both the Dáil and the Seanad, questions were raised and this was amplified across the media. In March 1983, a large-scale demonstration was organised by LGBTQ+ activists and several trade union groups. Hundreds marched from Liberty Hall to Fairview Park, the scene of the horrible murder. The protest was understandably filled with righteous anger but also with the demand for change.
On June 25, 1983, just a few months on, the first true Gay Pride parade took place in Dublin. Two hundred people walked from Stephen’s Green down Grafton Street towards the GPO. Despite this being a pivotal turning point, it was another 10 years until homosexuality was finally decriminalised in Ireland.
A lot of Irish LGBTQ+ people may have forgotten or had never known any of this. I am not an activist, I am not brave, I am just thankful. I am thankful to all of those who marched, protested, and fought for the rights that I have now and that so many of us take for granted.
Ireland overwhelmingly voted for change for same-sex marriage, but we still have a long way to go for equality. Whether that's Transgender rights, equal rights for women, or equality for people of colour, we still have more to do. We are good, but we are not great… yet!
We should also remember colleagues and friends in countries where they are not accepted, where they are not treated as equals, and where the fear to be who they are can be overwhelming. Show you support, be an Ally, support those around you, and show them they can be who they are and that they can. Be You, Be Kind, Be Proud.
Dublin Pride, The journey to Pride – Ireland’s dark past and brightening future, 2018.
The Independent, Sligo murders: LGBTQ+ community ‘deeply distressed and concerned’ following recent attacks, April 2022.