The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, will deliver a talk as part of Amnesty International Northern Ireland’s annual Pride Lecture this evening (4 July).
The annual pride lecture is part of a week long series of events under Belfast – Ireland’s largest LGBT Festival, which began last Friday 28th June and will run to Saturday 6th July, with the Belfast Pride Parade and Party in the Square being on said Saturday.
This year’s pride theme in Belfast is ‘Bright colours and bold statements for equality’, something which resonates with Mr Bercow whose official coat of arms depicts rainbow flags and pink triangles around the words “All Are Equal”.
Although Mr Bercow’s role as Speaker of the House of Commons requires him to act impartially and not comment on party political affairs, he is a well-known supporter of LGBT rights.
Mr Bercow is also the Honorary President of the Kaleidoscope Trust, which works to help LGBT people and rights movements around the world. It does this by encouraging the UK Government, the Commonwealth, the EU and others to fight anti-gay prejudice and discrimination, especially that experienced by those who live in the 78 countries where homosexual activity is illegal or where it is impossible for LGBT people to live openly and safely.
Speaking ahead of the event Mr Bercow said: “I am very pleased to be coming to Belfast at the invitation of Amnesty International and to offer my support to the Belfast Pride Festival.
“Such festivals are especially important to allow us to stand in solidarity with those who are denied such basic freedoms. It is important to remember that discrimination, abuse, threats, incarceration, violence, torture and death are still very much part of the daily diet that is meted out to many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in countries across the world.”
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said: “Amnesty is delighted to host Speaker of the House of Commons at this year’s Belfast Pride. John Bercow has been a positive voice at the heart of UK politics in speaking out against discrimination and persecution of LGBT people around the world.
“Violence, persecution and discrimination are still facts of life for millions of LGBT people. With the Speaker’s help, this year Amnesty will be asking Belfast Pride supporters to take action for justice in the cases of two people murdered in South Africa and Turkey, both apparently because of their sexual orientation.”
The free lecture, on ‘Human Rights and Human Wrongs’, is to take place at Belfast’s Europa Hotel at 19:30 in Belfast city centre.