Equality Commission back Foyle Pride

Last year's Foyle Pride Festival making its way up Carlisle Road on Saturday. DER3415MC062
Last year's Foyle Pride Festival making its way up Carlisle Road on Saturday. DER3415MC062

The Equality Commission has come out strongly in support of the upcoming Foyle Pride, which takes place this weekend in Londonderry.

Dr Michael Wardlow, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, described this year’s Foyle Pride Festival as: “A chance to celebrate the positives - and to look forward to overcoming the challenges.

Foyle Pride kicks off this Saturday, August 20, 2016 with the official launch and awards ceremony hosted by the Mayor’s office.

Thousands are expected to take part in the week-long festival, which culminates in a parade on Saturday, August 27.

In a message of support to Foyle Pride, Dr Wardlow said: “No one could be in any doubt that LGB&T people have a stronger voice now than at any time I can remember. Gradually that is bringing about an increase in the equality and the respect that they deserve alongside the rest of our society. Earlier this year we saw the lifting of the lifetime ban on blood donation by gay men and we’ve also seen the strength of public opinion in favour of equal civil marriage.

“The Commission is hopeful that the long-awaited Sexual Orientation Strategy will be progressed as part of the implementation of the Executive’s Programme for Government. In our response to the Programme for Government consultation in the middle of July, we called for a timetabled commitment to developing and implementing the Sexual Orientation Strategy, which would enhance the protection of the rights of LGB people in Northern Ireland.

“The annual Foyle Pride celebrations have grown, year on year,” Dr Wardlow concluded, “and it’s a day when all of us have a chance to speak up for equality, respect and dignity for all citizens, gay and straight.”

The Equality Commission will have an information stand in the Guildhall Square and will be taking part in the Foyle Pride Parade on Saturday 27 August.