Foyle Pride 2019 staying true to activism roots

Plays, protest, and the annual parade are just some of the events planned for this year’s Foyle Pride Festival, which will run from August 17 to 24 .

The festival will include events marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York, when members of the LGBT+ community and others in support took a stand against oppression and sparked the global mainstream Pride movement.

Left to right: Philip Baxendale, Dee Abbott, Mayor of Derry & Strabane Michaela Boyle, Eimear Willis and  Martin McConnellogue of Foyle Pride.

Left to right: Philip Baxendale, Dee Abbott, Mayor of Derry & Strabane Michaela Boyle, Eimear Willis and Martin McConnellogue of Foyle Pride.

Family events, film screenings and discussions will take place throughout the festival. The annual parade will take place on Saturday, August 24 with people gathering from 1pm before departing at 2pm from Waterside Train Station and making their way through the city centre to Guildhall Square, where there will be live music and a family fun day in the Peace Garden. A quiet room in the Guildhall and a Mobi-Loo beside the Guildhall with a changing bench and hoist will also be available.

The 2019 Foyle Pride programme was launched at a special reception hosted by Mayor of Derry & Strabane Michaela Boyle in the Guildhall on Friday.

Speaking at the launch, Foyle Pride chairperson Éimear Willis said the programme built upon the successful events of last year and was staying true to the roots of Pride by being non-commercial and accessible to all.

“The theme this year is ‘Pride Is A Protest’ on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It’s important for us as a non-corporate Pride, a political Pride, that our roots are in grass roots activism and campaigning and the struggle for rights.

Left to right... Dee Abbott, Martin McConnellogue, Philip Baxendale and Eimear Willis of Foyle Pride pictured with Mayor Michaela Boyle.

Left to right... Dee Abbott, Martin McConnellogue, Philip Baxendale and Eimear Willis of Foyle Pride pictured with Mayor Michaela Boyle.

“Yes, it’s a celebration and we have the best time celebrating everybody’s identities, but we also need to stay true to where Pride came from and where we are still going. There’s a still a lot of road to travel.

“Foyle Pride has never sold out for money and never lost sight of what came before us and the civil rights movement.”

Mayor Boyle said she was looking forward to attending her first Pride as Mayor.

“I think it is going to be bigger and better this year,” she said. “We have a Mayor’s event, which is premiere of a new film in Strabane so I’m looking forward to that. There’s going to be a whole range of events happening and I really hope everybody comes out and support the events and the parade.”

Events include a play directed by local playwright Pat Byrne entitled ‘She Wants To Be A What?!’, Football Versus Homophobia at the Brandywell, seminars and talks on local LGBTQ+ people’s experiences over the last 25 years and Stonewall and Oscar Wilde.

There is also a comedy night, film screenings at the Nerve Centre, Trans Tea and youth activism through art at the Void. For full programme details check out www.foylepridefestival.com