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First ever Omagh Pride parade to take place in September

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

The inaugural event is due to take place on September 25

The first ever Pride event to take place in Omagh has been scheduled for September 25.

While the Belfast version of the LGBT celebration event took place virtually at the weekend, the Tyrone event organisers are planning to hold the event physically in the town next month.

The origins of the event began with a small organising committee who are keen to show that Pride events should be extended to areas outside of major cities.

“We just thought to ourselves we don’t have a lot of rural Pride events outside of the city that we knew of,” said Emer McCool, one of the event organisers.

“There are ones in Mid Ulster, Newry, Derry, but we thought it would be really good for rural dwelling queer people to have something to look forward to.”

“We had our first Zoom meeting online with 20 odd people that came and we kind of just promoted it on Facebook and Twitter and things like that.”

“Some people were just looking to volunteer however they could, we had some elected representatives, people from CARA and people from the Rainbow Project and other charities looking to know how they could help.”

Ensuring that people from the LGBT community in rural areas feel safe in their local areas is a key reason for the setting up of this new event, according to Emer.

“The premise of it was for visibility of queer people in the countryside, because I know growing up as a queer woman in a rural area you always felt like you were the only gay in the village.

“It took me to go away and live in Manchester for nine years to realise that it’s OK to be who you are.

“We will be having a small parade through the town centre of Omagh and then we will be ending it at the South West College in Omagh. We want to have a pop-up stage where we can have some performances so it will be a really good day for people to get out and get involved and meet the community.

“For young people in the countryside there are those who maybe feel a wee bit isolated and the only solace they can get is in the bigger cities.

“I don’t think it has to be that we need to go into the bigger cities and urban areas in order to feel safe.”

Emer added the organisers are already starting to think about how they can make the parade an annual event in the town.

“We’re already having those discussions about next year when we have more time. We’re trying to rush things a little this year but for next year we want to form a proper group of people who will sit on a board with a chair and a secretary and things like that.

“We’ve been taking advice from some other smaller organisations like Mid Ulster Pride who are based in Cookstown, and they gave us a bit of footing as to how to get things started.

“I have no doubt in my mind that we will get a big turnout, as it’s been spread really well so far on social media.”

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