Wexford embraces first Pride event
As gay pride took over the country and rainbow flags were brought out as part of the annual celebration, it was a significant one for Wexford as the very first pride event took place in Redmond Park.
The event was greeted with great enthusiasm from Wexford's LGBTQIA+ community and on the day, over 100 colourfully dressed people gathered in the sunshine to celebrate. Such was the positivity on the day, that it also inspired the creation of the Wexford LGBTQIA+ Collective - an all inclusive group dedicated to creating a safe space while planning future social events for members within County Wexford.
The inaugural picnic commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots - a pivotal point in the fight for gay rights in the US - and was a real family event with a lovely atmosphere. The collective plan to expand on this with monthly meet-up events, family activities and workshops. Membership is free and available through the Facebook group 'Wexford LGBTQIA+ Collective'.
'It's about visibility, a show of support within and towards the LGBTQIA+ community,' said founder of Wexford Pride, Robert Crookes. 'Pride day normalises and humanises the community to those ignorant of difference in gender and sexuality within their own community.'
Wexford resident Niamh Riabhaigh commented how far things have come in recent years.
'I went to Dublin Pride parade for the first time at the weekend and I was so heartened by the number of young people there, unafraid, unashamed' she said. 'I would love young people in Wexford to feel that pride and that freedom to be who they need to be. We have come so far. The generations who are growing up now will never experience the same level of doubt as those that have gone before. But that will only happen if we now stand up and be counted and be a visible presence and positive role models.
Similarly, Taghmon resident Thomas Fitzgerald said: 'Wexford Pride for me at least, is an amalgamation of time, essence and substance, in Ireland it is the large city's that insight a warm glow in one's chest of being proud and gay, however what we have in Wexford, although largely unknown until now, is a burning aura within our souls that as LGBTQ brothers and sisters we shine on those that may not understand what it is to be free and without shame.'
Co-chair of the newly established collective Ruby O'Connor urged those who were interested in participating or helping out with future events to check social media or email WexfordLGBTQIACollective@gmail.com