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Northern Ireland Comes Out For Change at this year’s Belfast Pride parade

Northern Ireland Comes Out For Change at this year’s Belfast Pride parade

Two women waving the rainbow flag at Belfast Pride 2017. Northern Ireland, marriage equality

Belfast Pride returns to the Northern Irish capital for the annual parade on 4 August.

Ahead of the parade, an LGBTI festival started on 27 July running more than 100 events across ten days.

Belfast Pride parade has changed its route

Pastel pink hues at Belfast Pride 2017. | Photo: Belfast Pride/Facebook

The usual highlight of the festivities, the parade starts at 1pm on Saturday 4 August. This year’s theme is Come Out For Change.

Belfast Pride Parade has a new route for 2018. The departing point is Custom House Square. Marchers and floats will then pass High Street, Bridge Street, Waring Street, Donegall Street, Royal Avenue, Donegall Place, Chichester Street, Victoria Street, and finish off in Custom House Square.

The change is due to the high attendance, which completely outgrew the old route. Belfast Pride said they ‘had to find a way to fit everyone in, keep everyone safe and still get maximum visibility’.

The organizing committee also stated the route is subject to further changes ahead of the big day. Head to their website to find out more.

The street party

Alexandra Burke
Alexandra Burke will headline Belfast Pride street fest. | Photo: Courtesy of Bristol Pride

The annual street party will follow the parade.

Kicking off at 5pm, the concert will see The X Factor winner Alexandra Burke take the stage. Burke will perform alongside The Diva Dolls, Barbara Bryceland, Gok Wan, David Jackson and more.

LGBTI rights in Northern Ireland

Equal marriage campaigners at Belfast Pride 2013. | Photo: Wiki

Pride parades in Northern Ireland are crucial protests for equality.

Although part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland has different laws regarding some key issues, such as LGBTI and women’s reproduction rights.

Despite civil partnerships became legal in 2013, same-sex marriages are still not recognized in the country.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has voted on a law proposal to legalize same-sex marriage five times. However, the Democratic Unionist Party has consistently vetoed the law.

As Northern Ireland has been without a devolved government for eighteen months now, the urgency for Westminster to intervene on issues of equality and human rights in the country is increasing.

Ahead of a speech for Amnesty International’s Belfast Pride lecture on 2 August, openly gay Scottish MP Ged Killen expressed his frustration with the lack of equality.

‘When I take off from Glasgow Airport I am a married man, but when I step off the plane in Belfast my marriage will no longer be recognized under Northern Irish law, he said.

‘It can’t be right that people separated by a small amount of sea are treated so unequally. The law must change to make sure everyone, no matter where they live, has equal access to marriage.’

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