Scotland's premier LGBT festival and gay pride parade draws unprecedented amount of party-goers
This weekend saw Scotland’s biggest ever LGBT event in history with over 6,000 marching and partying, claims event Pride Glasgow director Ross Stevenson.
Saturday’s (15 July) Pride Glasgow kicked off at noon with the parade march from Kelvingrove Park, in the West End to George Square, in the city center.
Upon arrival participants took part in a political rally and then were treated to a fantastic street party at the square.
X Factor pop stars gay Joe McElderry and Lloyd Daniels preformed on stage, as well as Scotland’s new boyband Superova, dance band The Cheeky Girls and more.
Partying continued until the early hours of the morning with a fabulous after-party at Glasgow’s AXM club.
Speaking with Gay Star News, Ross Stevenson said: ‘I am so glad the parade and festivities were such a success and happened without any major problem. We estimate that a record number of around 6,000 people participated.’
Stevenson also thanked AXM which was the main sponsor of the event and was crucial to Pride Glasgow’s success.
In addition Stevenson announced his departure from the role of festival director as he is moving to Manchester.
He said ‘the event will always hold a special part in my heart’ and he will contiue his work for several months to ensure a smooth transition to Aliastair Smith, who will take over the role.
Haydn Pope from AXM said: ‘We’ve opened the Glasgow club in April, and what a fabulous city, and one great street party! We stepped in as a sponsor, and it’s really important to me that we are part of the community and we’re giving back. Everyone is here having a great time partying, but also here demanding equal rights.’
The event was also politically important with the Scottish government expected decision on equal marriage legislation expected this Tuesday (17 July).
Many community groups, organisations and even represenatitves from religious groups, such as the Episcopal Church in Scotland participated calling for marriage equality in Scotland.
However the parade did see stewards remove anti-Catholic placards from the Secular Scotland group as they were deemed offensive to people of faith.
Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) from across the political parties spoke at the rally, and more politicians and councillors from throughout the West of Scotland marched demanding that the Scottish National Party (SNP) government holds firm to its commitment to equality.
Speaking with GSN, Colin Mcfarlane, director of gay campaign organization Stonewall Scotland, said: ‘We are thrilled to be here and its fantastic to see so many people celebrating LGBT equality.
‘We’re still waiting for the government to make their announcement on equal marriage. Everyone here, gay or straight are absolutely clear they want the Scottish government to deliver equal marriage.
‘Educational authorities also need to work with us to combat the homophobia, with many students committing suicide and suffering bullying as outlined by Stonewall Scotland’s recent report.
‘This is why we think it’s really important that Glasgow City Council becomes a member of our Education Champion programme in order to deal with this enormous problem more effectively.’
James Dornan, SNP MSP spoke on stage against homophobia and for equality, mentioning the fact that his brother felt years ago that he had to leave Glasgow because he felt he couldn’t live in the city as an openly gay man.
‘No one should be in that position, and that is why we are here calling for equality. I know Scotland is up for it, I know you are and so I am,’ he said.
Drew Smith, Labour MSP spoke about his distress hearing homophobic remarks during his high school years only to hear similar opinions now about equal marriage.
He said: ‘Pride is not just a party, it’s a demonstration. We’ve made progress through the years, and the next has to be equal marriage.
‘This is not a debate about "gay rights", it’s a debate about equal rights.’
Scottish Green party co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP called upon the Scottish government to commit themselves for equality.
Tim Hopkins, director of Scotland’s Equality Network, told the rally: ‘We are over here to demand to be treated with dignity and equality. What we are demanding today is equal marriage.’
He added that even if the government announces on Tuesday (17 July) its decision to legislate for gay marriage, as expected, the work must continue to ensure that it does deliver on its promise.
Several events, parties and shows will be still animating Glasgow tonight and into the early hours of Monday (16 July), as part of the city’s week long Pride Festival.
See our photostream of Pride Glasgow here: