Taking you inside the parade, from Outhouse and Parnell to Merrion Square.
Pride this year was hot and angry.
Assured young men in drag walked tall in heels, with folding knives tucked into their bodices – the ultimate booby trap. Handsome women broke out the hair clippers and chunky belt buckles. All around the city, hairdressers and piercing studios surfed the wave of Pride preparation. Cling film became Dublin’s hottest fashion accessory in the weeks before the date, the biggest pulling and political event of the gay calendar.
Plucked, preened, waxed, shaved, oiled and gelled, sales of coconut-scented lube and body glitter had their annual boon.
Even for the jaded, Pride is special. Rainbow flags are dusted off, memories rekindled, and into the bag goes the sun cream and raincoat.
The event begins in Outhouse in the morning, with breakfast and breathless excitement. Affectionately termed “baby gays” up from the country, stare awe-stuck at muscled men in hot-pants, and mohawked lesbians holding hands with lipstick ladies. It’s like showing a starving pup a prime steak.
The veterans smile, and remember the dizzying rush of their first ever Pride, up there with the Leaving Cert and your ‘first time’.
The boys watch the boys and the girls watch the girls that watch the gays go by. Everyone is decked out for the inevitable camera flashes and lightly perspiring RTÉ camera-men. “Mammy, I’ve somethin’ to tell ya!” is called to the camera when it passes, followed by a wave of cheering and laughter.
For the baby gays, their hearts are hammering – each and every step they take on the parade is one towards growing up and being happy with who they are. At the time it feels like every step could also be off a cliff. After a few minutes they forget the cameras, and focus on how unbelievably hot person xyz two rows to the left is.
As they march along Kildare street, the noise is deafening. A riot of colour and light calls out for equal treatment under law. The inevitable security checks are passed without a murmur, but everyone can have a legitimate moan about the extortionate price of pints. At the speeches, we have representatives from prominent members of the community; drag queens; activists; lobby groups; musicians and more. Each had something to offer, to cheer us on and up with.
The sight of what looked like more than 20,000 gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people and others, waving rainbow flags in the sunshine was truly memorable.
The next morning brought sore feet, but a sure sense of Pride.
For all the best Hot Press photos of the Pride parade this year, click here.
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