People in fancy dress and their most extravagant outfits laughed and cheered as they celebrated what was Belfast’s biggest Pride parade in history.
The LGBT community were out in force supported by delighted onlookers revelling in the good spirits and craic for the first time since the pandemic struck.
The atmosphere was festival, there were smiles on everyone’s faces as they took part in the spectacular street show, a joyous celebration showing both diversity and solidarity for the LGBT community.
The Sunday World caught up with Pride host Trudy Scrumptious, AKA Gordon Crawford, the Belfast-based drag queen who said he was overwhelmed being asked to front the event.
“I am honoured and humbled to be one of the hosts. It’s absolutely amazing and it’s amazing for the LGBT community to be on the streets – thousands of people celebrating who they are,” Trudy told the Sunday World.
“This has taken months of preparation but it’s worth it and so important to show people we are proud of ourselves and who we are.
And he admitted he has spent weeks preparing for yesterday’s Pride.
“I am used to being watched but this is such an honour for me, it really is the pinnacle for me. It is my 24th Pride and my 23rd in drag. To be there hosting is a dream come true and I just know everyone will be having a ball.”
Gordon, who designs and makes all his own clothes, was working until the early hours of this morning to finish his stunning outfits.
“Sure somebody had to make sure they provided the eye candy,” he laughed.
The parade took off from Custom House Square and made its way through the streets of the city for what will be a weekend-long party for some.
Those marching said they were taking part to promote and celebrate inclusivity.
Trudy led the parade alongside Sinn Féin Lord Mayor Tina Black, who was followed by the party’s First Minister-designate Michelle O’Neill.
They were followed by members of the GAA, Ulster Rugby and the PSNI, with members of the Rainbow Project represented in full.
“I just think we should be living in a world where diversity is accepted. It is the norm and everybody, no matter their colour, creed, ethnicity or orientation, should be celebrated,” said Roisin from Belfast.
This is the first Pride in three years and it was also the first time a parade has taken place since the introduction of equal marriage in Northern Ireland.
“People in Belfast, in our community, are very happy to see the return of Pride and they’re ready to see it back on our streets,” Belfast Pride’s co-chair, John O’Doherty said.
“We’re so excited to have so many new groups joining us for the first time, not least of all the GAA and Ulster Rugby.”
This year the parade was also led by a group of asylum seekers and refugees.
“We want to send a very clear message that Belfast is a welcoming city for all, not least of all newcomers to our city.” John added.
Michelle O’ Neill said: “This is a celebration, this is a carnival of love. Love – that’s what it’s all about.”