Every year Galway has a summer of non-stop action, festivities, and cultural and artistic show cases. At the end of typical that summer in Galway comes Galway Pride. This is no typical Galway summer but Galway Pride will still be delivering a week full of events like the 30 years that have come before it.
The Pride festival started off in 1989 with humble beginnings at a time when even the simple act of existing as an LGBT+ person was a protest against repressive attitudes at the time. Thirty-one years later and lots of positive steps have been taken but Galway Pride is still very much needed as a celebration and a driving force to move us forward.
In a world of isolation pre-Covid 19 a number of Prides across the country have either cancelled or gone completely virtual. Galway Pride, which will be on August 10 to 16, is following in the footsteps of other organisations and going online for its some 20 events throughout the week.
Galway Community Pride chairperson Scott Green says that planning a Pride is also an exciting challenge and 2020 is no different. "Galway Pride has had to adapt in ways it never has before and like many organisations we had learn on our feet. We had imagined a very different Pride before Covid-19 made everyone change how we did events like these. So with a mostly virtual calendar of events we have managed to deliver another Pride Week because we know how important it is for our community.
-"Our theme for Pride 2020 is 'Ní Neart Go Cur Le Chéile' which stands for strength through unity. It's a sign of the times in many ways. Never before have we all had to stick together by making choices and sacrifices not just to keep ourselves safe, but to keep others safe. It's why this year we have dedicated our grand marshal role to all healthcare care workers, for exemplifying these selfless principles."
"It's also an important mantra for us in the LGBT+ community. There are those who are increasingly trying to target the most vulnerable of our community and increasing incidents where a seedy underbelly in our society attack our community members with the utmost of bile. The LGBT+ community stands completely united, and united we will continue to progress as a society."
From August 10 to 16 Galway Community Pride will have 25 events taking place. On Monday evening the Pride Launch will take place where the Community Awards 2020 will mark important role models, campaigns, and community groups. Gaeilge will again be a core part of Galway Pride as it is a bilingual event with many Irish language events throughout the week.
Several panels will also take place across Pride with topics on anti-racism, mental health, workplace well-being, activism, and trans and non-binary voices. And, of course, there will be some much needed entertainment with music nights, movie watch alongs, and a rainbow cake tutorial.
Galway Pride however wanted to ensure a bit of the human touch that makes Pride so important remained intact. As such it has three in person events planned for the week. The first event of every year is the flag raising event in Eyre Square, which will be taking place again this year with social distancing and masks required. On Wednesday evening Galway Pride will also be hosting the annual vigil in Eyre Square, again happening with social distancing. And on Sunday morning a new event will see the community on their bikes for a coffee and cake session in collobration with the Galway Cycling Campaign.
Green says; "Having the chance to meet and come together in person, where safe, is really important for the community. Undoubtedly isolation is difficult for us all, it can be taken for granted that your home is a safe and welcoming place, for too many members of our community that safety is not guaranteed. We also know that many will still be unable to join us and we have not forgotten you. The safety of our community is paramount and so for those who cannot join us in person we will bring our passion and vibrancy to you digitally until it is safe for us all to meet again."
Galway Pride invites all people in Galway to take part in any and all of the events that interest them. While the focus of the week is on the LGBT+ community everyone is welcome so long as they come with an open heart.