IT IS heartening to see the level of support for the idea that Fermanagh should host its first ever gay pride festival.
When readers were asked about their view on the issue the response on the Herald’s Facebook page was hugely in favour.
For too long the North of Ireland – and particularly rural areas like Fermanagh – have been a cold house for gay people.
In Fermanagh we pride ourselves for our friendliness and common decency, but unfortunately there has long been an element of intolerance towards those who are seen as not conforming to traditional value and lifestyles.
Many of us know of gay people who have chosen to leave Fermanagh, partly for that very reason.
The world has changed and Ireland has changed. Dublin is now one of the most gay-friendly cities in Europe and whatever your views on the recent same sex marriage referendum in the South there is a wide acceptance now that the inequality and prejudice which the gay community has suffered for generations here needs to be consigned to history.
We too can play our part in Fermanagh…
Fermanagh set to host first gay pride celebration
By Emma Ryan
PLANS are underway to stage Fermanagh’s first ever gay pride celebration and when contacted by the Herald readers were unaminous in their support for the move.
Last weekend, people in cities and towns around the world, including Dublin, turned out in colour to take part in the annual event which celebrates LGBT+ culture and identity. In recent days, a suggestion has been made to hold a similar pride parade in Enniskillen next summer 2020.
Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh and Matthew Beaumont have been gaging public opinion to find out if an Enniskillen Pride would be supported and so far, they are delighted with the response.
Mr Beaumont said, “It has been a fascinating insight. The idea came about because Fermanagh gets left behind when it comes to large scale nationally renowned events.
“We looked at Dublin Pride and others around the world and we thought why can’t Fermanagh have something like this. We decided to find out if the public want this to happen and the response has been truly phenomenal.”
The idea of Enniskillen Pride is building momentum and while the majority of the responses have been in support of the event, others are not so keen on the event.
“Hundreds of people have replied in various ways, with the vast majority of people being very positive and upbeat about it but there is a significant proportion who are negative about it. One person said why does the ‘LGBT community have to have something to shove their agenda in our faces.’
It is sad that some people are against having the event and it has been a real eye opener into what the community has to experience themselves. It is sad but it has made us more determined to make Enniskillen pride happen,” said Mr Beaumont.
The organisers now aim to create a committee with the view of creating Enniskillen Pride to hold the inaugural event in the summer of 2020.