A country transformed

A lot has happened in Ireland since the country’s very first gay pride demonstration in Dublin on 27 June 1974.

In the space of 50 years, our country has been totally transformed from a land of overwhelming and deep-seated conservatism to a nation that has become a global beacon for liberal values.

Having only legalised homosexuality in 1993, Ireland has since hit milestone after milestone and in 2015 became the first country in the world to legalise same sex marriage by popular vote, with Australia following soon after.

The campaign for homosexual law reform in Ireland was founded in the 1970s by Senator David Norris. Other founding members included future Presidents of Ireland Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson. Together they fought for the decriminalisation of homosexual activities and in 1988 saw the European Court of Human Rights rule that Ireland’s legislation was not in line with that of the EU.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are currently 29 countries around the world that have legalised same sex marriage. Ireland and Australia are the only countries to have done this through popular vote.

This year Cork raised its newly designed rainbow flag gifted by sister city San Francisco to launch LGBTI+ Awareness Week 2021 and to mark Cork becoming the first city in Ireland join the Rainbow Cities Network, an international group of local authorities committed to LGBTI+ progress and equality. Although the pandemic may have hampered this year’s Pride Week celebrations, we can be sure it will be back and better than ever when the time is right.