Up to 60,000 people attended last weekend’s Belfast Pride parade through the city centre with 135 different organisations and groups taking part.
Whatever one’s moral outlook on homosexuality or LGBT+ lifestyle, it has to be said that the organisers ought to be commended for bringing huge crowds onto the streets in a colourful, entirely peaceful, almost universally welcoming atmosphere.
However, not everyone was invited to the giant open air party. The formal terms of the Pride march stipulated that any campaign group that is critical of gender self identification would not be allowed to participate. This meant that traditional feminists and some lesbian activists who insist sexual identity is defined by biology were barred from the festivities.
Even veterans of past feminist struggles and some in the gay liberation movement, who do not believe that anyone who says they are a woman (or man) should be accepted as such without question, are regarded as heretics in the new trans activist ideology. It seems Belfast Pride has adopted a position of “biological facts are not sacred and comment is not free”.
‘Squalid revisionism’ of Sinn Fein’s Garrison branch condemned
Liz Truss declines to commit to passing the Northern Ireland Protocol bill in full; Sunak pledges to stand up to EU over NI
Feile 2022: Tourism NI indicates it could pull funding for West Belfast Festival unless organisers live up to ‘responsibility to promote good relations’
Cliftonville FC stonewalls questions after Ronan Hale pictured with arm around player wearing republican rifle slogan
Man in his 20s dead due to lorry crash on rural Co Tyrone road near Ulster American Folk Park
Just as we support the right of Christian believers to protest on the fringes of Pride, it is imperative that the rights to speak out by “gender critical” feminists, lesbians and other LGBT+ refuseniks should also be defended. The censorious attitude of Belfast Pride towards those “gender self-identity” dissenters begs the question: what exactly are they afraid of?
That community has spoken out against the silencing invisibility for decades of LGBT+ people in the Northern Ireland of old. It is a supreme irony that they are now seeking to silence some of their own.
Long before Belfast Pride 2023, they should remember the Enlightenment dictum: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
That goes for “gender critical” feminists as much as traditional conservative Christians. Tolerance cuts both ways.