Double success for Sinn Féin reps at Belfast Pride awards

RECOGNITION: Carál Ní Chuilín, Mary Ellen Campbell and Pride board member, Dwayne Farrell RECOGNITION: Carál Ní Chuilín, Mary Ellen Campbell and Pride board member, Dwayne Farrell
By Evan Short

NORTH Belfast Sinn Féin representatives were honoured at the 2017 Pride awards for their work with the LGBT community.

Mary Ellen Campbell was awarded the PA Mag Lochlainn Memorial Award – Pride’s highest honour – and the Political Advocacy Award, while Carál Ní Chuilín claimed the People’s Choice award.

Speaking to the North Belfast News, Mary Ellen said she was shocked to have been awarded two awards.

“To be honest I’m pretty overwhelmed at winning the PA Mag Lochlainn Memorial Award because that’s decided by the members of Pride and is the only award not voted for by the public.

“It’s great for the work that our party does to be recognised because it’s not just me who is campaigning – our party has been at the forefront of LGBT rights.

“As Deputy Mayor I worked hard to push LGBT issues up the agenda and keep the visibility high. Things are getting better and even though it’s getting much easier to come out because of the high profile role models we have, there is still a lot of hate crime taking place.

“Everyone looks at marriage equality as being the LGBT community’s main issue but it’s not, mental health and anxiety due to homophobia in our society is probably a bigger issue.

“That makes it important for people like myself who have a profile to be out and proud.”

The politician said she wanted to thank everyone who voted for her and Carál.

“To even be nominated is a great honour so to win is unbelievable. Carál and myself want to wish everyone a happy Pride and we look forward to seeing you there,” she added.

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