2017 marks twenty years of Outwest! As a tribute to those founder members, the people who took part and those who attended their events, the current committee of Outwest wanted to do something really special. Something more than just a birthday party, because it’s quite the achievement for an LGBT+ organisation to survive twenty years. Especially during a time when homosexuality had only recently been decriminalised and equal marriage rights didn’t exist!
The committee decided they wanted something that would last. Something that the LGBT+ community of the west would remember. Thinking about the different LGBT+ events that go on in the west of Ireland it soon became apparent that there has never been a Mayo Pride so what better way to celebrate than by marching down the streets.
The plan is to organise a Pride festival that Outwest can hand over to a committee and say “there you go. This is for the LGBT+ community, with love from Outwest.”
Outwest have made it very clear this is not an Outwest event. This is not a cruise along the Shannon or a disco in the TF. This is a community event and people are invited to join them along the way. As no one has ever organised a Pride festival in Mayo before Outwest are just acting as the main contact and are uniting people with a common cause. So far a few groups have come in to help out including members of the committee from the hugely successful Galway Community Pride Festival. If you’d like to get involved why not take a look at the events page for the date of the next planning meeting? All the meetings are public and everyone is welcome. There is no official committee so you’ll be able to have your say but they do structure the meetings to ensure that the planning of the event goes smoothly.
In August/September, once the accounts have been finalised an AGM will be called to elect a committee prepared to organise the 2018 event. They won’t be dropped in the deep end though. They’ll be given all the paperwork the current organisers have as well access to all the social media, the website and access to whatever funds are left over once any debts have been covered. Essentially they’ll be given everything they need to organise the event in years to come.
“We’re not just celebrating Outwest but the LGBT+ community too!” said Cathy Blake, current chairperson of Outwest, “Mayo Pride is a gift from us and the people who helped organise this inaugural event to the LGTB+ citizens of Mayo, their family, friends and our allies.”
Mayo Pride is taking place on July 21st, 22nd and 23rd and YOU’RE invited!
See ya there?