Updated: Aug 30, 2021
AN Omagh woman wants make history in the town by organising its first ever Pride parade this summer.
Envisioning cabaret acts by LGBTQ+ perfomers, a powerful atmosphere of inclusion, and flamboyant rainbow flags as far as the eye can see, Cat Brogan, who identifies as queer, said that it is ‘about time’ that the townspeople come together to celebrate love in all its forms and riches.
Speaking to the Ulster Herald, Cat and her fellow organiser, Lorraine Montague, are now appealing for anyone interested in helping to organise the maiden parade to come forward.
“As a queer person growing up, I didn’t have any queer representation – I felt very alone,” Cat, who has attended Pride parades before in Belfast, London and even Manilla, capital city of the Phillipines, said. “I also felt that I needed to hide who I truly was; and I suppressed myself for a long time.
“It was painful, and over time, it became very damaging.
“Not only did it take me so much longer to figure out who I truly was, but I also tried – and failed – to fit a mould that I just didn’t fit.
“Eventually, I left Omagh and moved to London, where I could be openly queer, and it was then that I felt like a whole person for the first time in my life.”
However, in mid-April, Cat made the decision to move back here, with renewed fervour to make positive changes in the town.
And that brings us to today: As June is national Pride Month, Cat, said there is ‘no better time than now’ to begin rallying local people together to organise what she hopes will be the first of many LGBTQ+ events in Omagh.
“Times are changing, but there are still people living in Omagh who currently feel the same way that I did,” Cat said.
“Thankfully, I didn’t receive any backlash when I came out, but there are other people who perhaps feel like they will be harshly judged or ostracised.
“It has been an ongoing struggle in this country for people to be treated equally: You shouldn’t have to go to the Big City because you feel like there is no life for you here.
“However, regardless of where you are living, it is so important to remember that there is no shame in being a member of the LGBTQ+ community: There is no shame or guilt, or any other negative connotation,” Cat continued.
“And that’s where a Pride parade in Omagh will truly shine: Walking through your home streets with others makes you feel powerful; supported; heard and understood.
“It will help you to feel seen; wanted; and accepted. But most importantly… At home.”
If you are interested in helping Cat Brogan and Lorraine Montague organise Omagh’s very first Pride parade, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org