Tens of thousands take part in Pride in Dublin on 25th anniversary of decriminalisation


60,000 people marched as part of Pride this year in Dublin according to the organisers. This would make it  the largest to date, this year was also significant as it was marking 25 years since the 1993 decriminalisation of sex between men. 

25 years after the government finally removed the 10 year jail sentence for sex between men the Irish army marched near the front of parade, with many in the army band wearing rainbow angel wings.  There was one lone counter protester marching along the route 100m ahead of Pride with a cornflakes box on the end of a umbrella.   He had stuck a religious icon and the slogan ‘Sodomy is Sexual Abuse’ on the side of the box! While that was pretty laughable we do not forget that on the eve of the pride there were homophobic attacks in Dublin and Laois so we have a lot to fight for even if Pride today can  feel more like a corporate sponsored carnival than a protest. 

This year WSM members marched with the Abortion Rights Campaign bloc and the groups it facilitated including Queer Action Ireland’s (formerly Working Class Queeroes), the Migrants and Ethnic-minorities for Reproductive Justice - MERJ group, the anti-racism network - ARN, the Queers for Sex Workers Rights, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other pro-Palestine activists.

Nearly at the end of the march some of these groups moved onto the pavement all together chanting against the corporate involvement and sponsorship in the pride, against deportation and the pinkwashing as the rest of the march passed.  Chants included “Queer Liberation, Not corporations. We will not be quiet, Stonewall was a riot. Sex Work is Work. End Direct Provision. No Banks, No Cops, Just bottoms and tops” ( see video  )

Some of our members present added their impressions below of the day;

Konstantina - The atmosphere was amazing and our bloc mood felt more like a march than a capitalist party. The queer soldiers with the banner were definitely the ‘highlight’ of this year's pride as apparently they defend with pride!

Nic - We were all made to wait next to the corporate busses breathing diesel for an hour waiting to march.  On the way one of our friends was used as a gay pride prop for a selfie. They even asked him to turn around so they wouldn't have his face only his flag cape. Not so radical on the route with few chants. I’m happy we left the procession to chant with Queer Action Ireland

Andrew - seeing the army head up Pride felt strange as I’ve taken part since the late 1980’s. That was  before decriminalisation when Pride was very small, a couple of hundred people from the radical Lesbian and Gay movement supported by the far left.  The radical bloc did a good job of reproducing the spirit of the Pride’s I remember from the last 80s and early 90s but this time in a context where much but not all that was demanded then has been won in the years since.  I found the army involvement jarring and the huge corporate t-shirt blocs reminiscent of St Patrick’s day but both demonstrated how far Ireland has been changed by struggle over decades. But also how the anti-capitalist challenge that was part of those struggles has now largely been defused by the retreat of state and capital from the theocratic ‘family values’ agenda under which so many were previously criminalised.

See the WSM photo album from Dublin Pride 2018 on our Facebook page