On the 28th July, Dublin had its first annual Trans Pride. It was organised from the beginning as a grassroots protest by and for trans people, trying to bring Pride back to its radical roots as a protest movement and rejecting the corporate taint that suffocates most establishment Prides, with companies that carry out queerphobic policies allowed to march or take part in what for them is nothing but an exercise in corporate pinkwashing.
It has been three years since the momentous victory of the marriage equality referendum in the South of Ireland, and four years since The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 was passed in England and Wales. Yet Northern Ireland is still waiting
The first Trans Pride in Belfast was held on Saturday 2nd June, reflecting the need for transgender, non-binary and intersex (“trans+”) rights. While the spectrum of sexuality is for the most part something that is becoming more accepted and understood, gender is a whole other story. Awareness and advancement of the struggles of trans+ people is something that is growing, but ultimately this progress can only go so far, as the system in which it is taking place is not truly compatible with what is really needed.
In November, Australians voted to endorse same-sex marriage by 61.6%, putting the reluctant government under huge pressure to make it legal. As we go to press, the first same-sex marriages are now taking place. Northern Ireland is becoming increasingly isolated in denying this right, lagging behind Britain and the South.
At the start of August, Ali Feruz – trade unionist, LGBT+ activist and journalist for an opposition newspaper in Russia – was unjustly arrested and threatened with deportation to Uzbekistan. Through his position as a journalist, he exposed how migrant workers and national groups are discriminated against in the country. […]
A majority of DUP voters now support equal marriage. The DUP’s support is not primarily based on support for their fundamentalist agenda but – like Sinn Féin – upon being seen as the strongest voice for ‘their’ community. They are not impervious to pressure from below, as was reflected in the sacking of Jim Wells as Health Minister after making outrageous homophobic comments.
It has been two years since the demonstration in Belfast which brought 20,000 people to the streets in support of marriage equality. Prior to this point, the issue had been brought up a number of times in Stormont, but was repeatedly rejected by elected representatives.
The gains made over the last few years, both North and South, show what can be achieved when we stand up and make our demands known. Progress has come about as the direct result of organised, mass campaigns involving ordinary people.