The Long Road To Pride

Pride is known as one of the most inclusive events of the year. However, one group is notably absent: the LGBTQ+ elderly. In 2018, fewer than 1% of Pride’s attendees were over the age of 65. Despite their crucial role in carving out LGBTQ+ rights in Ireland today, they are often forgotten about and disconnected from their community.

The LGBTQ+ elderly are some of the most vulnerable members of society. They are 50% more likely to be living alone compared with heterosexual people and are 5 times more likely to have mental health issues. So, even though they’ve never needed the LGBTQ+ community more, they can’t find a way in, even at Pride.

Dublin Bus are one of the longest-standing supporters of Pride and their inclusion policy is held up as the gold standard among European transport providers. Building on the success of their 2018 activation, Proud Dads, in 2019 they wanted to shine a light on an issue from within the LGBTQ+ community.

They decided to encourage LGBTQ+ people over the age of 65 to come to Pride. We paired older LGBTQ+ people with younger members of the community so they could attend the celebration together. The pairs all had something in common; whether they came from the same place, shared a similar experience, or occupation, so their friendship began with a common ground.

We captured the activation with an emotive documentary-style film. In it, we meet four of the bus’s elderly passengers before we introduce them to their younger buddies. Through conversation with them, we hear about some of the issues the older passengers faced growing up in an Ireland that was far less progressive than it is today. We learn about their personal journeys before the video culminates in a joyous celebration at the Dublin Pride Parade, 2019.

With over 30 articles written about the piece globally and more than 121 million impressions online, the piece was hugely successful. More than that it served as a heart-warming, if occasionally poignant reminder, of the struggle the LGBTQ+ elderly went through so that the next generation could enjoy the freedoms they do.