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Dublin Pride – Asking Queer Questions on Methods of Celebration & Representation

Posted by: Joseph Kelly | June 29, 2017 | 1 Comment |

by Shannn Haas

One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in Dublin so far was attending the Dublin Pride this past Saturday (June 24th), which marched proudly and loudly through the streets of Dublin led by a rainbow balloon covered float. The influence of larger American pride events and pride parades was evident in the whole production, especially the thrumming American pop music and tracks from American drag queen and queer icon, RuPaul, blasting from the lead float over the crowd.

I couldn’t help but notice, however, that while the parade and surrounding pride festivities were a great deal of fun, there appeared to be a lack of representation of queer identities outside of the “L” and the “G” of the LGBTQ(IAPK+) acronym. This phenomenon isn’t unique to Ireland, of course, as many members of queer communities all across the States have expressed their frustration and disappointment with the seemingly missing representation of those who identify outside of “typical” (immense scare quotes here) queer identities. Looking out over the sea of happy, rainbow-covered parade goers, I struggled to spot a single flag besides the classic rainbow pride flag. This was shocking, as the pride events I’ve attended in the States are oftentimes a sea of the many, many empowering flags that have been created (attached list is by no means exhaustive) to represent those underrepresented gender identities and sexual orientations.

So, where were the pansexuality flags, the bisexuality flags, the trans flags…? And why were they strangely absent from an otherwise typical pride march? This is just one of the many potential problems one could raise about Dublin’s pride events this year. Countless articles and exposés have been written about problems with the way that we celebrate our pride months each year, such as the corporatization of pride events, the feeling that pride events are “too straight” or “too cis,” or the whitewashing of greater queer communities that many pride parades and celebrations seem to emphasize. Many of the issues raised about American pride events could also be applied to Dublin’s festivities. Notably – I wondered about the new route of the parade this year, altered to accommodate the city’s construction. While perhaps the pride parade usually travels a route closer to the City Center, this year’s route steered clear of working class areas, instead favoring more affluent areas of Dublin. How does this avoidance of certain neighborhoods affect the inclusion of working class members of the LGBTQ+ community?

While my short time in Dublin hasn’t allowed me any time to get to know the queer community on a deep level, an impromptu conversation with a DCU student the day after the pride parade shed some light on what could be cited as one of the reasons why Dublin pride’s representation was so lacking. “We’re dealing with a lot of issues right now,” the DCU student explained, “Especially with regards to repealing the Eighth Amendment, and women’s issues in general … You’re asking good questions, but I just don’t think we’re there yet. This year’s parade was a pretty big deal, with the float … I think Dublin Pride has a long way to go … but I was happy to see so many people turn out this year.”

I had indeed noticed many signs calling for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution, which emphasizes “equal protection of life of the mother and the unborn.” Pride events are inherently political in nature, and Dublin’s pride parade was no different. I was happy to see Dublin’s pride tackling women’s issues and banning together to push for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. The knowledge that Dublin’s pride events are, at least in the minds of many queer Dubliners, in their infancy and actively evolving, both give me hope that future events will welcome an even more diverse celebration of queer identities.


under: News, Student posts, Study abroad, Uncategorized

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Shannon, a great report and reflection on the event. You know of course what I’m most interested in–your observation that the parade avoided working class neighborhoods. Something territorial is going on, though I’m not sure what. Good blog that provokes thoughts and questions.

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