LIMERICK Pride LGBTQ Festival 2017 is in full swing with this weekend’s programme featuring a multitude of events from workshops, support meetings and discussions to evenings of music and club nights, with X-Factor star Saara Aalto headlining the Pride Climax Party.
The Limerick Pride Parade on Saturday will bring an extra burst of colour and music to the City Centre. Participants will assemble at City Hall from 1.30pm with the parade making its along O’Connell Street, across Mallow Street to Henry Street, past Arthurs Quay Park and returning to City Hall.
The theme of the festival is to give the youth of Limerick a voice, with the parade grand marshals being representatives of the National Youth Advisory on the LGBTI+ Youth Strategy launched by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone.
Minister Zappone described the decision to appoint young people as the Grand Marshalls and the hosting of the annual Youth Party on Friday at Lava Javas Café as an example for other towns and cities to follow.
“The message being sent loud and clear from Limerick is one of fairness, equality and solidarity. In a world of intolerance, inequality and division the organisers of Limerick Parade are promoting hope. Young voices will be the loudest as Pride takes to the streets and that is something the entire Mid-West should be proud of,” she said.
Preliminary consultations with young people prior to the LGBTI+ Youth Strategy have already identified a number of issues such as one in five of those consulted experience bullying.
Recommendations have been made for further law reform – including hate crime legislation, gender recognition for under-18s and removal of obstacles to adoption and surrogacy; Improved sex education to include genders, relationships, sexualities as well as safe sex; and consent and all healthcare staff to be provided with LGBTI+ awareness training.
Following the Limerick Pride Parade, everyone is welcomed to the Hunt Museum from 3 pm for Pridefest 2017, a showcase of local LGBT culture in a marquee in the museum gardens with host Shyanne O’Shea and special guests Unity Gospel Choir along with musical performances, drag performances and Limerick Actor Myles Breen’s annual Tea Dance.
Later that night, X-Factor star Saara Aalto will headline the Pride Climax Party at Dolans Warehouse with support from Limerick singer/songwriter Doreen Grimes. The evening will be hosted by well-known Limerick drag stars Sheila Fitzpatrick and Madonna Lucia and will feature performances from Dublin’s Paul Ryder and London’s Shyanne O’Shea.
The event will feature 3 DJ’s with DJ Ruth on the main floor, DJ Jules in the Kasbah and Saved by the 90’s upstairs. Three rooms packed with colour, vibrancy and music for all. Doors open 9 pm and Saara Aalto takes to the stage at 11 pm.