I attended my first Belfast Pride parade on Saturday.
Incidentally I came out for the first time as gay to a friend just as the parade was about to begin.
It was the most fun I’d had in years as I marched alongside my friends proudly gay for the first time.
I felt accepted and valued for the first time in a long time. Up until this point I had felt marginalised by our political system.
As someone with a keen interest in NI politics, I came to believe the DUP were not exactly accepting of people like me judging by comments made by certain members of the party.
Some of the comments made were not only unacceptable but distressing.
Having a political interest, I developed an interest in the same-sex marriage issue. Seeing the DUP, the party that claimed to represent me as a unionist, use a petition of concern to block legislation to give me the right to marry made me realise that this is a party that does not represent me.
I voted for the first time in March and I never as much as gave a preference to my local DUP candidates nor do I plan to in the future.
My passion for achieving same-sex marriage in NI has never been to give myself that right but to give elderly LGBT couples that right before they die.
The thing that angers me most is that many LGBT people have died before even seeing this fulfilled as the rest of Western Europe has done so.
I often think of those people who were never fully liberated and it makes me angry.
I of course recognise that there are people in this Province with genuine religious convictions that make them oppose same-sex marriage and I hold no bitterness as a result of this.
It is just a pity that many LGBT couples were unable to marry in an age where it should have been possible.
When marriage equality does finally come to NI I shall never take it for granted. The marginalisation of previous generations I shall never forget.
From Save Ulster from Sodomy to the largest Pride Belfast has seen, we have come so far.
Mr J Kennedy, Co Antrim