Tyrone’s first-ever Pride march going ahead ‘silently’

HISTORY will be made this weekend when the first-ever Pride parade in Tyrone is held to show solidarity with those members of the LGBTQ community who have been living in ‘permanent lockdown’.
However the colourful carnival of floats and displays will be absent from the main thoroughfare of Cookstown due to the coronavirus restrictions, and just 15 people will participate in what organisers have called the North’s ‘first silent Pride parade’.
Despite this, the Mid Ulster Pride group which was formed back in January, say the parade will send out an important message of support.
“We were so disappointed not to hold our parade on Saturday, June 13 but we have followed carefully the safety guidelines of the Northern Ireland Executive and been in constant liaison with the Parades Commission and the PSNI,” said Jonathan Campbell who is chair of Mid Ulster Pride.
“Keeping ourselves and others safe from coronavirus is an immediate priority, but our overall aim is to contribute to the safety of the LGB&TQ+ community in Mid Ulster by making a stand and reassuring people they are not alone.”
Eli Hughes who is the treasurer of the Mid Ulster Pride group said, “We chose to be silent using a non-auditory and socially different way of raising awareness of issues within our LGBTQ community – feelings of isolation, being unheard, overlooked and underestimated. 
“We’re equal, we may be silent today, but our actions are very loud. We are the new normal.”
The Pride parade has also been given the backing of the chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Cllr Cathal Mallaghan.
“The impact of the coronoavirus pandemic has been felt right across society and never has it been more evident how important a sense of community and belonging is to our overall health, well-being, confidence and self-esteem. 
“Our LGB&TQ community is no different and, with this event, Mid Ulster Pride is safely and clearly showing pride, celebrating progress towards equality and highlighting the progress still to be achieved.”
Up to 80 protestors turned up to oppose the Mid Ulster Pride group at its official launch event in Cookstown in January.

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