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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Belfast Pride 2015

"Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start."
Jason Collins

Yesterday I attended my first gay pride event, Belfast Pride. The closest I'd come before that was battling my way through the crowds in London a few years ago on my way to see Avenue Q. I remember seeing these two super hot guys dressed as a devil and an angel. Nothing but shimmery hot pants and the various props that made up their costumes. Sigh. We were then rudely accosted by a woman who wanted followed us the whole way trying to teach my dad the cure to my disability. Who knew the cure to my muscle wasting disease was something as simple as reading the Bible morning, noon and night? Literally her words. But I digress. after that one glimpse into how fun a Pride event could be I always wanted to go for real. 

I've always felt very close to the LGBTQ community as I've always had a lot of homosexual, bisexual and trans friends. And although I haven't spoken about it before and uhm, family if you're reading this I'd appreciate you not bringing it up, I've struggled with my own sexuality for quite a while. Which sounds ridiculous even to me as I'm so passionate about everyone else being able to openly express who they are. Fuck everyone else! But growing up very close to my Christian grandparents and aunt I've always been much more comfortable defending other's sexuality while not really fully accepting my own. Not because I think it's wrong in my own mind but because of what they would say. It even feels scary writing this despite my immediate family being very accepting. I've never discussed this fully with anyone. I've always identified as straight. I've only ever been with guys so that just feels right. However, I'm a big believer that sexuality is fluid. Much like gender. In my teens I started to question my gender along with my sexuality. For a long time I thought I wanted to be male but that never quite felt right either. Again, this is something I've never really discussed. This almost feels like a weird coming out! Haha. It's only now that gender fluidity is becoming more well recognised that I'm starting to feel more comfortable in myself. I understand myself more. 

As I said, I've only been with guys and it might be that that's all I'll ever experience but I would be lying if I were to say that I would ever limit myself where love is concerned. Love is love and I truly believe we do ourselves no favours by forcing ourselves into a box and shutting out all the wonderful possibilities out there purely because of gender. And as I grow up and feel more comfortable in myself and less like I have to be a certain way because I was brought up a certain way, I feel even closer and passionate about LGBTQ issues. And why I was glad to be able to attend my first gay pride event, which in turn encouraged me even more and helped me gain the courage to open up a little more about myself. I know it's okay to go as an ally but I wanted to acknowledge the fact I didn't just want to go as a fun day out and an excuse to get drunk. It meant more than that, whether I fully realised it at the time or not. Anyway! I hope any of that made sense and wasn't a little too intense. Now on with how the day went and some photos! You know, the part you actually wanted to read and see.

I went with Eva and her friend Rhys. Being the late risers we are we knew we wouldn't make it in time for the parade and decided not to rush ourselves. I'm glad we didn't because it gave me time to get a good old Ulster fry up into me which set me up for the day of drinking. I'm not sure I would have survived without it. We met Rhys at the train station and headed up to Belfast. We planned to hit Alley Cat for a few drinks before heading over to where Pride was being held. Well, we learned Alley Cat was no longer there but instead it's been renamed Bootleggers. That didn't stop us from starting off our drinking there!

We stayed here for a while for a couple of drinks while we chatted. Well, Eva had a couple. I had a half pint of Guinness and Rhys had a pint, I think. It wasn't long until we then made our way to Pride and my FIRST drenching. The heavens opened and I looked like a drowned rat. There were food vans and the woman, that can be seen behind me, made space for me and helped Eva pull my hoody up over my shoulders to keep me dry. She even found tissues in her bag so Eva could dry me off! It got sunny after that and it didn't take us long to dry off. We left our shelter and made our way down closer to the stage, where Rhys talked some people into giving us balloons to attach to my chair.

We basically just hung out and enjoyed the entertainment on the stage. They had a bunch of awesome acts. Finally even seen some drag performances! Does that mean I can tick 'attend a drag show' off my bucket list? 

After watching the stage for a bit I needed the bathroom. I was worried we'd have to leave but we decided to try another first. My first time using a portaloo! I decided to document this experience. I used a regular portaloo, leaving my wheelchair outside, because we didn't realise there was a wheelchair accessible one until later when I needed to go again and two girls took us to it. On the way out of the first one Eva wrecked my knee of the door and then I wrecked it again on the inside of the wheelchair accessible one. Wasn't until we got home that we realised it was bleeding. Another first! Alcohol related injury. 

Not actually going to the toilet here... that would be weird.

When we came out of the toilet it was pouring again. So that was my SECOND drenching. Thankfully, I think it was also the last. We headed down to near the front of the stage and stayed there quite a while enjoying the music. One of my favourite moments of the whole day was when one act sang Sissy That Walk by RuPaul. We sang and danced and bumped into so many lovely people and I met some of Eva's friends from when she was younger. I loved how friendly everyone was. Someone even gave me their flower necklace and I got a photo with a drag queen. We also taught Rhys about feeling his fantasy. Here's another assortment of photos from throughout the day. 

As I said, I met so many lovely people. Around three separate people offered to help me get my coat on when it was chucking it down. I also got so many compliments on my new hair! Someone even said I look like a mermaid, so that's pretty much a life goal met. I had such an amazing day and the feeling of love, openness and acceptance all around was palpable. 

The day did come to a less than stellar end as all my drinking and dancing got to me. I did make it to the end of the event in Custom House Square but then everything hit me like a train. I didn't eat all day, apart from one Dinky Donut, and felt pretty worse for wear and the dancing gave me neck pain and a migraine. I almost threw up on the way home on the train. Luckily I was able to avoid my third dose of alcohol related vomiting. I just had to get some food into my stomach. Namely tea, toast and a chicken wing. I'm a tiny bit hungover today but yesterday was totally worth it! I had an amazing first Belfast Pride and I hope to go to many more. 


  1. Love you Sara! Well done for writing this - I can imagine it being slight weird for you to actually type, but you know it changes nothing and everyone still thinks youre amazing.
    Must say - you and Eva really do look like beautiful mermaids with your hair.I love it.
    So glad you had a good time!!


    1. Love you too, missus! Thank you. After talking to my sister about it I felt a lot better but mostly I'm just worried about certain family members reading it. I knew my beloved blogger friends would be supportive! That's why I love you guys so much! <3

      Haha. Well that's a life goal met! Now I just need to purchase myself a tail. ;D xo

  2. This is such a wonderful post and it looks like you guys had so much fun!
    Northern Ireland's changed a lot in the past years (thank GOD!) but I do understand where you're coming from when you say that you struggled yourself with your own sexuality. I attended my first Gay Pride event when I was about 13, it's such a necessary and eye opening experience, the energy there is so contagious!

    Your photos are great too doll and I'm so sorry that you felt poorly - however, it was hopefully only the means to the end as you had such a great time! :)

    Claire xo

    1. Thank you! We really did! :) Yeah, the problem for me is that my extended family haven't changed. I don't really care about anyone else. lol. I always just felt it was better not to think about it too much just so I could keep the peace. :D I always wanted to go but I never had anyone to go with. My sis always went with her friends and it seemed so fun! I'm glad I finally got to go but I'm bummed out I've missed so many years! I'll have to make up for it. :D

      Thanks! They turned out all right considering how drunk we were. LOL. But yeah, totally worth feeling a bit crappy. :) xo

  3. Oh I love this post! You look amazing and I love all of the awesome shots you got. I believe that love is love and should be celebrated accordingly and while I myself as straight I've always firmly believed in celebrating all forms of love and friendship so this is just brilliant! - Tasha

    1. Thank you! I was feeling pretty good too. LOL. I'm surprised I got as many photos though since I was hella drunk. xD I wish everyone felt the same as you! xo

  4. That's a shame it rained on you (twice!) but that's awesome you got to celebrate your first pride! :D

    1. Haha, yeah! It wouldn't be an outing in Northern Ireland without getting rained on! Didn't ruin the day though. :) xo


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