It’s a fun-filled day, but it carries many important messages.
Northern Ireland is the only part of these islands where same sex marriage is neither recognised nor an option. More than 150 homophobic attacks were reported to the police last yea. Verbal abuse and discrimination against the LGBT community is commonplace.
Fifty years after the start of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland much remains outstanding. Among that list are the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. They are citizens of this country: they deserve the same legal protections, safeguards and rights as everyone else.
PRIDE is a celebration but it is also a protest at the inequalities and hatred which still persist.
The struggle for equality goes well beyond same sex marriage. Protection from discrimination in employment, health and housing, access to goods and services must be secured. Family rights must be safeguarded and upheld. Sexual orientation and gender identity should never be a case for abuse or prejudice.
Northern Ireland still has no Bill of Rights. That in large measure is down to the continuing refusal of the DUP and Sinn Fein to implement one. It is a major human rights issue for everyone in Northern Ireland and everyone including the LGBT community should contribute to the camapign for its introduction.