Foyle Pride 2016 ‘a great success’ say organisers

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The organisers of Foyle Pride 2016 have thanked all those who helped make the festival such a success over the past week.

Thousands of people took part in the finale celebrations at the weekend, including the annual march from Waterside Station to the Guildhall on Saturday.

The colourful parade and after parties brought to an end a week of talks, debates, exhibitions, music concerts and health and entertainment events across a range of venues in the city.

The Parade on Saturday was followed by a live concert featuring a number of local acts at Guildhall Square, followed by JD Samson at the Glassworks on Great James Street.

Foyle Pride Committee chairperson Eimear Willis said the diverse programme of events attracted people of all ages and all backgrounds during the week.

Eimear said: “The events were really well attended, including the talks and discussions. Generally people come to more of the fun events , but there were a great range of people and a lot of young people who got involved in the debates and talks.

“The parade was very dense, there were a lot of people there in the march, from babies at just a couple months old to older people, people in wheelchairs.

“There was also a good crowd of people watching the event with their mobile phones and cameras out taking photos. It was great to see people stopping to watch, smiling, clapping and cheering away, especially groups of youths.

“We see this event as very much a march- we are celebrating but it is also about demanding equality. That’s what Foyle Pride is about.

Eimear said it was important to note that while the focus is often largely on young LGBTQ people, it was important to recognise and honour the participation and vital contribution of older people.

Other highlights of the festival included the ‘Still Coming Out of Conflict’ discussion featuring a Palestinian LGBTQ activist living in Norway, and another discussion on marriage equality featuring leading advocates from Ireland and the UK, which followed an LGBTQ wedding performance art event at Void gallery.

The Comic Con at the Playhouse attracted people of all ages and the Rainbow Project’s Football v Homophobia tournament in Creggan saw around 20 teams taking part.

“It was a great success,” Eimear said, adding that one of her own personal highlights was getting to spend time with JD Samson over a Mandarin Palace takeaway at An Culturlann on Saturday.

“She was a dote, just an angel,” Eimear said.

Foyle Pride’s Annual General Meeting, hosted by the current committee members, will take place in December to elect the incoming committee for the 2017 festival.