UCDSU and UCD LGBTQ+ held their first ever on campus Pride March on Wednesday, April 12th, following a week that saw both groups have their posters torn down, in a seemingly homophobic attack.
The march was attended by an estimated 50 people, including Professor Aideen Quilty, from UCD’s Social Science department, notable LGBTQ+ activist Sara Philips, as well as representatives from the UCD Chaplaincy. The event was the first of its kind held in UCD.
The march was brought about by the current UCDSU LGBTQ+ Campaigns Coordinator, Eoghan Ryder. When asked why bring Pride to campus, Ryder responded “Last year, when I was elected into the role, one of the things I wanted to do was make sure there was loads of events for Pride Week, which is hosted in November. But I also wanted to make sure that something was happening with the SU that was queer related in the Spring trimester.”
“So I thought, as we’re getting closer to summer, as the weather’s getting warmer, why not, it makes the most sense. And also, it’s a way of bringing a bit of joy onto campus at a time where students might be stressed out or deflated and need a bit of cheering up.”
Ryder also said that he wanted something that would engage not just queer students, but allies, as with recent stories of harassment and book banning, “We need our allies more than ever.”
The event was postered for across campus at 2pm, Tuesday 11th of April. By 11am Wednesday morning, 5 of the 20 posters hung had been torn down, corners of the pages still visible under the tape that had not been removed.
Speaking in response to this, Ryder went on to say, “I’m personally disgusted by it, it’s quite pathetic in my opinion. Those posters were not harming anybody, those posters were not offending anybody, and if you are the person, or people, who tore them down, I honestly think shame on you.”
“There’s nothing to be gained from doing that, and I really do think it’s pathetic.”
Welfare Officer Míde Nic Fhionnlaoich echoed this statement, saying “I think for a lot of queer people in UCD it’s a bit of a gut punch. People like to think of UCD campus as being, I suppose, a safer place than the rest of society, but I think it’s an important thing that we are aware that homophobia and transphobia are everywhere and the people who rip down posters are the same people that scream things across the street at you. Now it’s more important than ever to take a stance against that, and to call on non-queer people to take that stand with us.”
“We’ve just passed the one year anniversary of the death of Michael Snee and Aidan Moffet, we’ve seen transphobic hate crime on the rise in Ireland and across the world. We’ve seen protests against a book on gay sex education. This is happening and we can’t ignore it.”
“We, queer people, have never been able to ignore it, because it’s part of their day to day lives, but we need other people to stand up and take notice as well.”