Thursday, July 24, 2014

film, faith, fostering, dancing, bopping and parading … Belfast Pride Festival (25 July-2 August)

It’s the middle of the summer and Belfast will shortly host a couple of large festivals.

Amongst the dancing, music, drinking and parading, Belfast Pride Festival throws in film, plays, comedy, debate, faith as well as workshops on fostering, adoption, health and well-being workshops. The festivals tagline this year is Diverse - Equal - Proud.

The Lark in the Park and Family Fun Day will be held in Ormeau Park from noon on Sunday 27 July with circus performers, storytelling, face-painting, Segways as well as a basketball free-throw competition, tennis, roller derby, soccer, GAA and an egg and spoon race.

There’s a singalong screening of Mamma Mia! on the City Hall’s big screen on Sunday 27 July. Gates open 6pm, film starts 7pm. The event is free, but you need to pre-register for a ticket.

All Souls Church on Elmwood Avenue will be open for prayer and reflection from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Monday 28, Wednesday 30 and Friday 1 August. It will also be the venue for the Annual Pride Service on Sunday 3 August at 3pm.

GLYNI (Gay & Lesbian Youth NI) are holding their annual debate/question time in the Black Box on Monday 28 July at 7pm. The panel and audience, chaired by William Crawley, are expected to cover religion, transgender rights, gay cakes, HIV stigma and more. The panel will include: Fr Timothy Bartlett (Spokesman for the Irish Catholic Church), John O'Doherty (The Rainbow Project), Marie Quiery (Psychotherapist), Ellen Murray (Trans activist), Rev Chris Hudson MBE (Non-Subscribing Presbyterian minister).

Action for Equality replaces Pride Talks Back this year as the Equality Commission-supported event aims to move beyond political discussion to give a wider range of voices a chance to share and discuss practical ideas about speaking up for change and delivering equality in their communities. Ulster Hall Group Theatre at 7pm on Tuesday 29 July.

An Educating the Educators workshop takes place in UU’s Belfast Campus on Wednesday 30 July at 6pm, with GLYNI, BELB and UU School of Law combining to help those working with young people best support people coming to terms with their sexuality or gender identity. Registration required.

Pádraig Ó Tuama will host An Exploration of Christian Voices in Uganda in the Black Box on Wednesday 30 July at 6pm. Pádraig travelled to Uganda in 2013 and will explore some of the roots and international connections of the anti-homosexuality bill. Immediately afterwards at 7pm the Tenx9 storytelling event will give nine people up to ten minutes to tell a real story from their lives abut labels chosen, labels imposed or even the importance of redefining or rejecting labels.

Panti Bliss came to prominence with her powerful Noble Call post-show speech on the stage of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. The drag persona of Rory O’Neill will take to the stage of The MAC at 7.45pm on Thursday 31 July to deliver the Amnesty International Pride Lecture to challenge discrimination and persecution. [There might be a couple of tickets left!]

As part of Féile an Phobail, the Rainbow Project host Different Jurisdictions and Different Roads to Equal Marriage in St Mary’s University College at 12.30pm on Friday 1 August. A panel will discuss international trends - eg, France passed federal marriage statutes whereas some American states have relied on judicial review to guarantee citizens’ rights - and ask how this affects the marriage equality movements on the island of Ireland?

Rhoda Cameron will escape the Commonwealth Games to be amongst the comics at Comedy Night in the Black Box on Friday 1 August from 8pm. And at the same up the road in University of Ulster’s Orpheus Building, the UUB LGBT society are running a movie night with tea, coffee, popcorn and sweets thrown in with an as yet unadvertised movie for £3.

The 24th Belfast Pride Parade leaves Custom House Square at noon on Saturday 2 August, and will snake down Donegall Street before marching the length of Royal Avenue and Donegall Place, anticlockwise around the City Hall, down North Queen Street and along Castle Street and High Street to return to Custom House Square.

The largest cross-community festival parade in Belfast is followed by Party in the Square with Stooshe, Misha B, The Björn Identity and many more from 1.30pm onwards. There’s a family zone in the Pride Village in Buoy Park (between the UU Art College and St Anne’s Cathedral) with stalls, children’s entertainment and coffee.

Check older posts about previous Pride festivals and interviews back in 2012 with Christian groups supporting and opposing the parade.

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