ONE OF Waterford’s most iconic landmarks has undergone a powerful transformation in support of the local LGBTQ+ community.
Mount Misery has now been re-christened Pride Rock after being painted the bright vibrant colours of the movement’s rainbow flag.
It comes after a difficult few weeks for the LGBTQ+ community in Waterford following several recent acts of “homophobic hate.”
Pride flags were initially flown in the city to celebrate “Pride of the Déise” - a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community in the county.
However the flags, which were located outside the Menapia Building, on The Mall, had to be twice replaced after being cut down and burned.
Last week, disturbing images also surfaced on social media showing that so-called “straight pride” posters had been put up throughout the city.
The poster depicted a man and woman in wedding outfits alongside the caption: “It’s natural, it’s worked for thousands of year. And you can make babies.”
— Laura Miskella (@lauraannecleary) June 19, 2021
LGBTQ+ campaigner Debbie O'Rourke was among those to condemn the actions of those behind the posters.
"My first reaction was just shock, like, 'what is this?' And then it was like where are they?” she told extra.ie.
"They were all along the Quay. The picture was of a poster on a phone box, but they were all along the Quay on poles. They were all around the town.”
"They were A4 sized posters, printed quality, all over the inner city. People are getting in touch to say they’ve seen them, but we think we have most of them down now.
"Straight pride is just not a thing. The language included in the poster, it’s not new, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before, they’re common things that are used against the LGBT community," Debbie added.
"It’s similar to the messaging we saw and was used against us in the marriage equality campaign — that focus on family and on babies.
"There’s just a preoccupation with the sex that queer people have, it always comes up. We don’t have the same fascination with straight people’s sex lives."
The posters were reported to gardaí, and those that appeared have now been taken down, but Debbie says she fears there'll be more.
"There are people in Ireland who hold those beliefs and are willing to act on them and that’s what’s scary," she explained.
"We have to be wary, but it’s about not letting that fear win. That’s really important. For young people, they have much more fear than adults around coming out and things like that."