"Others criticise the Pride parade due to the revealing nature of the attire that some choose to wear. It is important to remember that many people choose to express their sexuality in many different forms... who am I or anyone else to judge?"
This year’s Dublin Pride parade will be one of historic magnitude. Tens of thousands will walk through the streets of Dublin on Saturday, 27th June with Marriage Equality now a reality.
Following the decisive result of the referendum on equal marriage in late May, Ireland has become a beacon of hope to gay people all over the world who reside in countries where they are cast aside in societies who treat their fellow LGBT citizens with disdain instead of delight.
I have seen a number of people question the need for a Pride parade since the gay community now has constitutional recognition with respect to equal marriage.
While this point has some logic on the face of it, if one is to delve deeper into the daily experiences of gay people in Ireland, they will realise that being technically equal and being treated equally are two entirely different things.
Many still face discrimination on a daily basis. Teachers who are employed in religious schools cannot be open and true about who they are in their place of work for fear of losing their job.
Gay people still cannot give blood due to outdated medical practices and beliefs and sadly some still fear to do the most natural thing in the world - hold their partners hand while they walk down the street.
Pride is needed because the gay community, despite all the advancements in such a short space of time, still face persecution and discrimination in a number of different ways.
The Pride parade originated as a march for civil rights and recognition with a more austere and serious tone that was applied to their marches.
This is in vast contrast to the modern Pride parade which has now become an occasion of colour, joy, festivity and celebration of who we are as community.
We now live in different times, and as such, our parade must reflect this reality. In the earlier marches, it is important to remember how much of a taboo being gay was. The stigma associated with being gay is something I will never fully be able to understand simply because being a gay person in twenty-first century Ireland is much easier.
Being gay in Ireland once meant there was a serious risk of your family disowning you, your friends shunning you, your work colleagues jeering you, your country turning its back on you.
While I’m not saying that some of these things no longer occur, the risk of this happening has greatly reduced and many gay people now live a really positive life where they are welcomed and embraced by their family, friends and by their country.
Others criticise the Pride parade due to the revealing nature of the attire that some choose to wear. It is important to remember that many people choose to express their sexuality in many different forms and at the end of the day, if a person wants to wear nothing but underwear and high heels, once they’re enjoying themselves and living a happy life, who am I or anyone else to judge?
The LGBT community is a very open, creative, expressive and diverse one. It is, in effect, a broad church made up of many different people who all express themselves in many different ways.
However, what is amazing about the LGBT community is our refusal to easily judge others. It is important that this beautiful trait is retained.
I finally draw towards the topic of alcohol consumption during the Pride parade festivities and the criticisms leveled by some. I don’t condone excessive drinking, but I understand that people want to celebrate with their community on a day dedicated to the struggles of the past and the hopes for the future.
I will however make a point that on the night of the Marriage Equality referendum result, a Garda officer told me that despite the extremely large presence of people in Dublin city centre, there was not one public order offence reported by those celebrating the result.
The need for Pride is greater than ever. Ireland is now seen as a country where equality is at the forefront of our minds as a nation.
Pride allows us to every year recognise the efforts made by so many who came before us, to recognise those who have died while dreaming for their right to be recognised as citizens, not criminals.
Let’s not turn our back on the past, let us continue to remember it, celebrate what we have achieved and dream for the future.
To read another student's alternative opinion of the Pride parade, just click here.