The 'Silent But Not Silenced' Protest Parade will be held to show solidarity with those who have been silenced and oppressed.
On Saturday September 19, a very special Mid Ulster Pride Parade will take place with strict adherence to COVID regulations. It will also be the first ever completely silent parade in Northern Ireland.
Organisers described how the ‘Silent but not Silenced’ Protest Parade will be held “in complete silence to show solidarity to those who have no voice, who have been silenced and oppressed for no other reason than being themselves”.
With only 15 people taking part in the Parade and attendees wearing a face covering and separated two metres apart, safety is very much a priority.
Chairperson of Mid Ulster Pride, Jonathan Campbell, shared, “We were so disappointed not to hold our Parade on Saturday 13th June but we have followed carefully the safety guidelines of the Northern Ireland Executive and been in constant liaison with the Parades Commission and the PSNI. Keeping ourselves and others safe from coronavirus is an immediate priority, but our overall aim is to contribute to the safety of the LGB&TQ+ community in Mid Ulster by making a stand and reassuring people they are not alone.”
The march will be attended by Reverend Andrew Rawding, who recently spoke out against the Church of Ireland for their “homophobic, discriminate and prejudiced stance” on same-sex marriages.
In an interview with the Tyrone Courier, Rawding had shared “I would love to conduct same-sex marriages in Brackaville, Donaghenry or Ballyclog churches. It would be a joyful celebration of the unconditional love of God. As it is written in the Bible: The commandments are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Eli Hughes of Mid Ulster Pride celebrated the diversity of the community and the necessity to have a space for all; “”We’re silent but never silenced. However we identify ourselves we should all have an equal and valued voice in the local community. Today we chose to be silent using a non-auditory and socially different way of raising awareness of issues within our LGBTQ community – feelings of isolation, being unheard, overlooked and underestimated. We’re equal, we may be silent today, but our actions are very loud! WE are the new normal!”
Queer Heritage Officer Molly Farrell added, “We have a very strong message for the LGBTQ+ community of Mid Ulster: We hear your silence. We celebrate you, we love you, and no matter how isolated you might feel, you always belong to the family of Mid Ulster Pride.”