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Michael O'Flaherty: A highlight of every year for me is to attend a Pride event. This year, hopefully, I will get to the EuroPride in Belgrade; last year, it was the World Pride in Copenhagen.
What I love about the Pride days is the fact that, for just that one day of the year, everybody can be themselves. People come out on the streets in their own identity, unafraid, celebrating with everybody else who they are. I want it so that every day of the year is a Pride Day – a day in which we not only tolerate but we celebrate the astonishing diversity of our societies.
But we have got a long way to go. We have got to tackle the pressure to conform: to be a certain way; to act, to look, to dress a certain way… that is so deeply rooted in so many of our communities. But we also have to acknowledge and struggle against the extent to which we allow our communities within our societies to not get along. We even see elements of hatred from one community to another. That needs to be tackled.
We tackle that by building bridges – we build bridges by actively listening to, by understanding each other. It is only if we all make personal and social commitments to this project that we can realise a society as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights where everybody is free and equal, in dignity and in rights.