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17,000 Took Part In Belfast 21st Gay Pride Parade

17,000 took part in Norther Ireland 21st Belfast gay pride parade 2011 on Saturday. A small protest was held by a free Presbyterian Church group.

Irish Times has the report:

Belfast?s 21st Pride parade was a loud, proud and colourfully flamboyant affair. Rainbow flags fluttered in the breeze as the enormous parade made its way down Royal Avenue towards City Hall, to the sound of whistles, defiant chants and cheers.

The parade marked the culmination of the week-long Belfast Pride Festival, which claims to be Ireland?s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender festival.

Crowds of supporters, shoppers, tourists and children responded with smiles, curiosity or plain bemusement as men in green tutus and women in bumble-bee costumes danced by.

There were stilt-walkers in purple feathers, floats pumping out disco music, a samba band, and a man in a red Venetian frock-coat turning cartwheels along the street. An elderly woman in a wheelchair entered into the spirit of things with a leopard-print cowboy hat. And a tiny terrier, kitted out in a butterfly costume, marched proudly beside its owner.

One of the most striking aspects of this year?s Belfast Pride, which took place on Saturday afternoon, was the large numbers of young people ? especially teenage girls ? taking part, joining in with the Katy Perry song Firework at the top of their voices.

Belfast Telepragh adds:

the celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people saw 17,000 take part and line the streets for the largest cross-community festival parade in Belfast, as well as the largest individual parade in Northern Ireland.

One significant figure person celebrating the day of inclusion and equality at the carnival and funfair-themed event was gay activist Jeffrey Dudgeon.

He fought to have homosexuality decriminalised in Northern Ireland some 30 years ago and was honoured in 2011 as Pride Hero of All Time.

Read more via THE IRISH TIMES

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