This weekend saw Dublin Pride 2016. Ireland might seem forward-thinking after saying yes to same-sex marriage, but it’s still a country where the tomfoolery of the Catholic Church influences every sphere, and there are women-fearing laws that the UN describe as a violation of human rights. At the risk of sounding a bit patronising, I think it’s courageous to stand up and be different, and shout out for change, in a conservative country with a tiny populace that all seem to know one another. The banners of the Pride parade speak of inclusiveness, generosity and rationality: what’s not to love?

Anyway, how other people’s relationships and life choices can impinge on someone else’s wellbeing is something I’ve never been able to get my head round – being raised by an ultra-right-wing policeman in the badlands of Lancashire can have that effect on you. Appropriately, the theme this weekend was Rebel Rebel.

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I had a clapping fit and might have cried a bit when ROSA (Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism & Austerity) passed by. They advocate tirelessly for women’s rights in Ireland, and are campaigning for the repeal of the 8th Amendment (an article in the constitution which causes great trauma to vulnerable women by not permitting an abortion in severe situations of distress – according equal rights to the fetus and the mother in cases of rape, incest and nonviable pregnancies, for example). They also do much to expose the hypocrisy of Ireland’s abortion laws and the fact that abortion is exported from here to England on a daily basis. They sometimes give out cool badges on Henry Street. Here are the lovely ROSA, below:

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The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC), below, are also seeking a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment. ARC promote the belief that it’s every woman’s right to be trusted to choose for herself (don’t we all? Apparently not) and that abortion in Ireland needs to be decriminalised now.

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The Anti Austerity Alliance were also sensibly chanting for the separation of Church & State, and you cannot disagree with the message on their banner on Saturday:

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I love these two glorious ladies who brought some Old Hollywood glamour to O’Connell Street; they had a touch of Marilyn and Jayne in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes about them:

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Behind them are Positive Now, who work to challenge stigma and discrimination against people in Ireland living with HIV. I’m not sure who the crew below are, but they were perky and having a great time:

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Atheist Ireland is another Irish advocacy group that promote an ethical, secular society where the State does not support or finance or give special treatment to any religion. They promote atheism and reason over the jiggery-pokery of the Church, and as a proud heathen I’m always happy to see them and I enjoy their Facebook page.

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Below are some more of the marchers, generally having a good time and bringing cheer:

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Vegan LGBT Ireland, above.

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Geared are a club that looks like tons of fun (above), and the lads had smiles for everyone.

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Apparently there’s a petition out there to get Frozen’s Elsa a girlfriend (above). If she gets one I might finally have a decent reason to watch it.

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 Queers for Sex Workers’ Rights, and lovely dog, showing solidarity:

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Bi+ Ireland (below): “Not at all straight. Not at all gay. Probably in Ireland”.

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Family fun at Pride:

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The Scouting Ireland Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Fellowship Patrol (below) was recently created by Scouting Ireland as a support mechanism for their members. But where were the Girl Guides on Saturday, did I miss them? Damn.

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Amnesty brought the sunshine too:

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All in all Pride made a grey Dublin day a gay Dublin day, and who wouldn’t want that?SEPIA Desat Women 2 075_edited-1

By the way, is an ‘Auntie’ a thing – this bag I was carrying (below) drew some very positive affirmations from a couple of burly chaps in the parade. Apparently ‘aunties’ are REALLY good?? Just curious.