DUP refuses to sponsor ‘disgraceful’ LGBT Stormont event again

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has said it will not sponsor an LGBT+ event, held in Stormont’s great hall, again – describing it as “disgraceful and not at all respectful.”

The DUP’s MLA Paula Bradley had acted as a co-sponsor for the Alternative Queer Ulster event in Belfast on July 28, along with Sinn Fein MLA Megan Fearon, with South Belfast Green Party MLA Clare Bailey acting as the main sponsor.

The event, organised by Queer Greens, a subdivision of The Green Party in Northern Ireland, included speeches from 20 LGBT+ people about “issues that they feel are not being addressed.”

One of the speakers was local drag queen Electra La Cnt, whose appearance was criticised by TUV leader Jim Allister in an article in the Belfast Telegraph. 

Allister previously questioned the DUP leader Arlene Foster’s decision to speak at the PinkNews summer reception in Stormont in June, which was also sponsored by the party. She became the first DUP leader to speak at an event focused on LGBT+ rights.

Electra La Cnt, who wore a tiara coated in HIV+ blood to Belfast Pride in 2016 to help fight stigma against the virus, posted a video of her seven-minute speech at Alternative Queer Ulster, in which she criticised both Allister and Belfast Telegraph for their response to the event.

Addressing Allister’s comments at the event, she said: “Your opinion is invalid and your smear campaign against me only highlights a deep rooted bigotry that I refuse to try and change anymore.

“And that is exactly why I’m here to speak this evening. I refuse to ask for acceptance from those who oppress us.”

Later in the video, the drag artist added: “Acceptance isn’t good enough anymore. Acceptance is an admission that something is wrong, like we’re people you have to put up with, to be tolerated.”

Electra La Cnt’s video has been viewed more than 46,000 times.

Watch Electra La Cnt’s speech below: 

PinkNews has contacted Alternative Queer Ulster, The Green Party in Northern Ireland, and Electra La Cnt for comment.

A DUP spokesperson told PinkNews:”Comments made at this [Alternative Queer Ulster] event were disgraceful and not at all respectful.

“Paula Bradley co-sponsored the event without knowing many details about the event. Neither Paula nor anyone else from the Party would act as a co-sponsor for the Alternative Queer Ulster event in the future.”

“The Assembly Commission may wish to review the event alongside the Assembly’s protocols for using the building.”

Although Bailey went to the Alternative Queer Ulster event, both Bradley and Fearon were not present.

The DUP is supporting the Conservative government in the UK through a confidence-and-supply deal.

Belfast Pride took place on Saturday. (jandraderocha/twitter)

PinkNews understands that a future version of the event could take place, provided that an MLA from another party acted as one of the co-sponsors, and so long as the Assembly Commission did not rule that it broke the rules for events held in Stormont.

Generally, events at Stormont require sponsorship from three political parties if they are to go ahead.

In the video, Electra La Cnt also criticised newspapers for labelling the event as a “drag queen event”, saying that this was an “absolute insult to the queer voices of all those people speaking this evening.”