Belfast Pride Parade is set to be the city’s biggest to date, with a 25 per cent increase in applications since 2022.
The 2023 festival, held from 21-30 July, will hold its annual parade on Saturday (29 July).
This year is expected to be bigger than ever, with more than 250 groups and agencies signed up to take part the parade, which has been described as “unapologetically trans-inclusive, by its co-chair John O’Doherty.
“With over 250 groups registered for the Belfast Pride Parade, 2023 promises to be the biggest Belfast Pride Parade ever showing the ever-increasing support for LGBTQIA+ equality in Belfast and across Northern Ireland.
“The theme of Belfast Pride 2023 is ‘stand by your trans’. Belfast Pride and the Belfast Pride festival are unapologetically trans-inclusive.”
Research by the Police Service of Northern Ireland found a 24 per cent increase in transphobic hate crimes in the country in 2022-2023.
‘Recycled homophobia from the past’
O’Doherty added: “The moral panic being expressed by those who oppose the rights and inclusion of trans, non-binary and gender diverse people and the presentation of LGBTQIA+ as dangerous – is nothing more than recycled homophobia from the past.”
The parade will be led by trans, non-binary and gender diverse people and their families.
Kirsty Mulholland, co-chair of Belfast Pride, said the event also aims to support the LGBTQ+ community in fighting homophobia.
“The ever-growing support for Belfast Pride and the inclusion of the diverse groups and communities from across Northern Ireland shows the important role Belfast Pride plays in making Belfast the city we all know and love.
“At Belfast Pride we seek to platform and amplify the voices of trans, non-binary, and gender-diverse people and to share the true stories of people and families around inclusion, healthcare, and human rights.
“Belfast Pride wants to support the entire LGBTQIA+ community and our allies in opposing transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia in all its forms.”
Over the last 30 years, since its start in 1991, the Belfast Pride Parade has grown to be the largest parade in Northern Ireland, according to Belfast Telegraph.
Ulster Rugby was banned from attending the 2023 Belfast Pride Parade due to its governing body’s trans sports ban.
Th team, which is governed by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), had its 2023 application to be part of the parade rejected due to the IRFU’s 2022 policy of excluding trans women from playing contact rugby on women’s teams.