Belfast Pride parade goes online for virtual celebrations

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Belfast Pride hosts Gareth Woods and Trudy Scrumptious

By Aine McMahon PA

Belfast's LGBTQ Pride parade is being held online this year with a virtual celebration instead of the usual colourful street parade.

The city's 30th LGBTQ celebration was postponed due to the pandemic and an online event will be broadcast instead from 1pm on Saturday at facebook.com/belfastpride.

Last year's parade was the biggest to date with more than 50,000 people taking to the streets.

Media Partners of Belfast Pride 2016

For 2020, the organisers have asked people to send in a short video instead about how they are celebrating.

Parade hosts Trudy Scrumptious and Gareth Woods will present a four-hour live show featuring the best of the videos sent in.

From 7pm, an online Party In The Square will take place featuring music and talent from Northern Ireland's LGBTQ community.

(Hosts Gareth Woods and Trudy Scrumptious)

Public Health Agency spokeswoman Fiona Teague said Pride is an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the organisations working to support the health and wellbeing of the LGBTQ community.

"Due to the Covid-19 restrictions we, like so many other supporters, are unable to take part as usual in the Pride parade.

"We want to send a message of support to the LGBTQ+ community and let them know there are support services available for their needs, and to not struggle on their own with whatever they are going through.

"Research has shown that overall, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender community are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and other mental health issues due to discrimination and social isolation."

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said Pride is a chance to reflect on positive changes for the LGBTQ community in Northern Ireland.

In a video posted on Twitter, Ms Long said: "While we will certainly miss having the gathering of the Pride parade, it is still nevertheless very important that we focus on what we have achieved over the past few years as a community and what we can achieve in the future by working together."

"Obviously we have had big wins with equal marriage but we still have work to do to ensure those in civil partnerships can transfer them to be marriages if they wish to do so."

The first same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland took place in February.

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