MID ULSTER PRIDE
Northern Ireland's pioneering Rural LGBTQ+ organization,
'We did it, against a backlash from Churches across Northern Ireland, in the midst of a pandemic and without the assistance of outside help from established organisations”.
- Andrew (2019)
Mid Ulster Pride was established in 2019 to advocate for and enhance LGBTQ+ resources in the Mid Ulster region. Quickly embraced by the local LGBTQ+ community and their allies, the core values of Mid Ulster Pride are encapsulated in our enduring motto: Belonging, Love, and Celebration.
The inaugural Rural LGBTQ+ Pride event, initially scheduled for June 2020, faced a temporary setback due to the global pandemic. Undeterred, we adapted our plans, and in September of that year, a socially distanced Mid Ulster Pride emerged, taking to the streets. Since then, our organization has evolved and expanded, dedicated to better serving the needs of the rural LGBTQ+ community.
"We have people who had moved away to London, Glasgow and other parts of the world who hadn’t been in the country in a decade come back to march in the event. That’s our main goal. People who have been too scared to come back or feel like they’re not welcome back are now becoming more proud of where they’re from."
- Jake (2022)
Mid Ulster Pride hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including coffee mornings and social evenings in major towns across Mid Ulster. These gatherings provide a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ individuals, their families, friends, and supporters. A highlight of our calendar is the annual Rural Pride Parade, a vibrant celebration of the unique qualities that define LGBTQ+ rural communities. We proudly assert that the countryside is not only prepared but eager for a Queer Revolution.
At its core, Mid Ulster Pride addresses and raises awareness of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals living in rural areas. Issues such as familial abandonment, isolation, religious persecution, and abuse, unfortunately, persist and are sometimes deemed acceptable in rural communities. This reality often compels young LGBTQ+ individuals to relocate, conform to lifestyles incongruent with their true selves, engage in self-harm, or, in extreme cases, contemplate self-harm. Our ongoing mission is to promote "Belonging, Love, and Celebration" within the rural LGBTQ+ community and the broader Mid Ulster community. By amplifying LGBTQ+ voices, we aim to shed light on the wonderful and diverse stories within our community, demonstrating that we have always been an integral part of rural life. The time has come for us to share our narrative and contribute to the rich tapestry of rural LGBTQ+ existence.