Tánaiste Leo Varadkar spoke on the Bellissimo files today to mark Pride celebrations across the country.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON The Bellissimo Files PODCAST 2021 PRIDE SPECIAL: https://www.spin1038.com/podcasts/plan-b/pride-special-leo-varadkar-monet-x-change
When asked what Pride meant to him, the Tánaiste said first and foremost it's a time to catch up with friends.
"Dublin is a small city, and a lot of us who are in the LGBT community do know each other
and don't necessarily see each other all the time and I'm hoping to bump into people over the weekend."
The Tánaiste went on to speak about the roots of the festival, and how those core values should not be forgotten.
It's also a protest, and we shouldn't forget that. That's how it started off, and while is has become almost a mainstream festival, it's still a protest.
When you see what is happening in Hungary at the moment or the fact that people have taken it upon themselves to take down Pride flags in various spots around the country kind of shows why this isn't over."
The Tánaiste is speaking in reference to new legislation brought in by Viktor Orban's government in Hungary banning education about homosexuality while Hungarian fans at EURO 2020 are investigated for homophobic chants and banners.
Closer to home the issues are prevalent as well. Once incident showed homophobic graffiti being displayed near Dublin's PantiBar.
The graffiti was painted over and in response the Dublin City Council re-painted various pedestrian crossings to show rainbow colours.
In another case a number of Pride flags were removed in the city centre of Waterford and subsequently destroyed.
"Equality before the law is not the same as equality in everyone's hearts and minds," the Tánaiste said, "Sadly there will always be people who are misogynistic or racist or homophobic."
The Tánaiste's words ring true that the long fight for equality is far from over.
People often ask “Why does Pride take place?” — Damien Geoghegan (@damiengeoghegan) June 7, 2021 The flags were re-raised by Waterford's Mayor Geoghegan displaying the solidarity of the vast majority of Waterford people with the LGBT+ community
Someone lowered the Pride Flags overnight & burned them. The majority of Waterford people will be disgusted by this act.
I won’t be deterred and it’s my intention to replace those flags. Waterford is a warm/inclusive place pic.twitter.com/yZzeFiEwnj
People often ask “Why does Pride take place?”
— Damien Geoghegan (@damiengeoghegan) June 7, 2021
The flags were re-raised by Waterford's Mayor Geoghegan displaying the solidarity of the vast majority of Waterford people with the LGBT+ community
One way of combating the anti-LGBT sentiment still present in some minorities is the increased representation and visibility in the media and in politics.
"I think for a democracy to be whole, your politics, your parliament, your politicians have to reflect the society that they represent." The Tánaiste continued:
"We are by no means there yet. We don't have gender balance in the Dáil [...] The pool of is still quite small of women in politics, the same applies to ethnicity, the same applies to the LGBT community. If we're somewhere between five and ten percent of the population we should have between 16 and 9 TD's, we don't. So we're still under-represented."
Finally on advice to anyone who would wish to celebrate Pride but is too afraid to, Minister Varadkar had this advice:
"Maybe talk to one or two people you're very close to, tell them your story. Chances are they know already, if they don't they'll almost certainly be 100% behind you, and in the unlikely event they're not they're not really your friends anyway."
YOU CAN WATCH THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW IN THE VIDEO BELOW: