Jackie Pollock
Aug 7, 2017 · 2 min read

Mencap reckon that there are 1.4 million people living in the UK with a learning disability, defined as a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities which affects someone for their whole life.

The Office of National Statistics (2015) recorded the self identifying LBG community as 1.5% of the total UK population. Combine those two statistics and it works out as around 21,000 people across the whole of the UK who have a learning disability and who self identify as being either gay, lesbian or bisexual.

At Carrickfergus Junior Gateway we try to build confidence, self esteem and freedom of expression into our group as much as possible so when a member asked about the possibility of visiting Belfast Pride we knew that we had to do better than just a day trip to watch the event.

So that’s why on Saturday 5th August 2017 we were proud to take our places alongside the many companies and organisations marching within the parade to show Belfast and the world that people with a learning disability exist and that they also consider themselves part of the LBGT community.

As we walked the response from the general crowd was incredible, even more so from people with a learning disability who were thrilled to see representation of themselves among the many people who were taking part in the event. We may not have been the largest group nor the loudest but for the community that we represent I’m so glad we were there for them.

For the member who had originally asked to attend Pride they were amazed at the number of people who had come together “just like me” and surely that’s what the whole day was truly about — being able to acknowledge the true person inside and the comfort that comes from the acceptance from those around you. The knowledge that perhaps you aren’t alone in the world after all.

Setting off from Custom House Square
Flying the flag for both LGBT and learning disability

Carrickfergus Junior Gateway

Posts from Carrickfergus Junior Gateway — a voluntary charity providing social opportunities for young people with learning disabilities

Jackie Pollock

Written by

Advocate for learning disabilities and mental health. Technical Consultant @KainosSoftware, and passionate about my faith, books and coffee

Carrickfergus Junior Gateway

Posts from Carrickfergus Junior Gateway — a voluntary charity providing social opportunities for young people with learning disabilities

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade