Dublin Pride 2021 – Everything You Need To Know

Eva O’Beirne speaks to Dublin Pride representative Jamie Kenny about this year’s virtual festival

On June 25th 1983, the first official Gay Pride Parade occurred in Ireland. Organised by the National LGBT Federation and consisting of 200 people, the parade marked a hunger for justice and recognition felt by the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland. According to Jamie Kenny from the Dublin Pride Team, this year is no different – despite being the second virtual Pride.

Speaking to Trinity News over Zoom, Kenny described what to expect from this year’s Dublin (virtual) Pride; “Last year we had an entirely virtual festival due to the restrictions we faced at the time, but 2021 is very much a hybrid festival.” For those looking for an in-person Pride experience, there are numerous exhibitions now on display in several Dublin locations such as St. Stephens Green Shopping Centre, EPIC and the National Library of Ireland.

As for the virtual parade on the 26th of June, Kenny described the current headliners and notable acts; “We are delighted to be hosted by Ru Paul Ryder & Phil T Gorgeous from the illustrious Round Room of the Mansion House once more and we’ll have drag performances by Viola Gayvis, Carrie Déway, Regina George and Dylatrix as well as musical performances by Linda Martin, Luke Thomas & The Swing Cats, Brian Kennedy, Niamh Kavanagh and more.”

When asked about how Covid-19 has affected the outreach of Dublin Pride, Kenny acknowledged that the pandemic has been tough on everyone, “A virtual parade and online events cannot replace the energy and excitement as an in-person Pride but Pride is never cancelled. When many services and venues were forced to shut their door for an unprecedented time, we felt it was more important than ever to mark Pride, not just in June but throughout the year.” 

Kenny underlined the importance of Pride as an opportunity for improvement – “to demand change, celebrate our achievements, and call for a fairer and more compassionate Ireland for all people.”

To explain a virtual Pride month and why Ireland needs one is no easy task. In order to help those who may not understand why Pride is necessary in 2021, Kenny underlined the importance of Pride as an opportunity for improvement – “to demand change, celebrate our achievements, and call for a fairer and more compassionate Ireland for all people.” Kenny noted how Pride in Ireland originated in a similar manner. “Ireland’s first Pride Week was held on June 25 to July 1, 1979, organised by the National Gay and Lesbian Federation. The 10-day event was established to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots and to draw attention to the difficulty and oppression that members of the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland faced.” Furthermore, many LGBTQ+ activists consider the death of Declan Flynn in 1982 and the suspended sentences of his murderers to be one of the catalysts for the modern-day gay-rights movement in Ireland.

In response to those who ask why Pride is needed after the 2015 Marriage Referendum, Kenny outlined that it will be needed “as long as there are people made to feel shame, stigma, embarrassment or fear based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.” 

In terms of issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community, rainbow capitalism and corporate use of the Pride flag have been recent areas of debate. When asked if a lot of Pride activism is performative by companies, Kenny explains that Dublin Pride, although unable to control the use of the Pride flag, can control who they partner with. Kenny also notes that corporate donations don’t purely go towards the June events, noting how Dublin Pride is happy to partner with those who support other organisations such as LGBT Ireland, ShoutOut, Transgender Equality Network and BeLonG To Youth Services. “Anything that helps the community,” Kenny commented. 

“Be open, be inclusive, don’t just be an ally for a Parade – make it part of who you are.”

But how can people really help the community? What activism is worthwhile? When asked if there is a “right” way to be an ally, Kenny keeps the answer simple but clear; “Be open, be inclusive, don’t just be an ally for a Parade – make it part of who you are.”

Eva O'Beirne

Eva O'Beirne is the Deputy Life Editor of Trinity News and a Junior Sophister History student.