At Carrickfergus Junior Gateway we try to build confidence, self esteem and freedom of expression into our group as much as possible. So, when one of our members asked about the possibility of visiting Belfast Pride, we knew that we had to do better than just a day trip to watch the event.
On Saturday 5 August, we were proud to take our places alongside the many companies and organisations marching within the parade. We showed Belfast and the world that people with a learning disability exist, and that they also consider themselves part of the LBGT community.
As we walked, the response from the general crowd was incredible, even more so from people with a learning disability who were thrilled to see representation of themselves among the many people who were taking part in the event.
We may not have been the largest group, nor the loudest, but for the community that we represented we made a real difference. I’m so glad we were there for them.
For the member who had originally asked to attend Pride, they were amazed at the number of people who had come together that were “just like me”.Surely that’s what the whole day was truly about — being able to acknowledge the true person inside and the comfort that comes from the acceptance from those around you.The knowledge that perhaps you aren’t alone in the world after all.