As the rainbow flags of another summers’ Pride events fade into memories and we wait out another cold Northern Irish winter, I have begun to wonder just why we feel the need to display gay pride in such a bold way.
The function of gay pride parades is open to interpretation. Some may argue it is for us to show who we are; while for others it’s just another excuse to party.
As people hold their banners high, both physically and mentally, it may seem a victory march - a memorial for what all homosexuals have come through, both personally and in the generations of prejudiced society. Perhaps, behind the feathers and glitter there is a sense of foreboding, of what is still to come. Gays escaped into the music that resounded about the streets of Belfast and around the world – ‘Some danced to remember, Some danced to forget.’
As a ‘closeted’ lesbian, Pride represented a turning point in my life – the realisation that I wasn’t alone. The rainbow colours washed away the loneliness, and replaced it instead with a feeling of extreme pride.
Gay Pride means different things to different people. While it may be a sharing in feeling, the feeling is still personal. To pick out a single reason why we continue to fill the streets with colour would be wrong.
As Belfast Pride moves into its 16th year, one thing is certain; Pride will continue to swell in Northern Ireland.