I had the best time at Pride Glasgow last year.
Returning home, I found a queerer, prouder city than the one I left behind. The charity I run, MenTalkHealth, marched and the support was amazing.
Nothing could prepare me for the huge numbers of people marching. It might not have the numbers of São Paulo, London or New York. But, for me, seeing 16,000 proud LGBTI people coming together to celebrate was wonderful. It was the largest Pride parade Scotland had ever seen.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon even spurned President Donald Trump to be there with us!
But, this year, it’s just so complicated.
Why is there no official Pride in Glasgow?
Permission to hold a Pride Glasgow event was withdrawn by the council after organizers failed to repay debts.
Rival group Mardi Gla has also said the ‘challenge was too great’ to hold an alternative Pride event.
These are two well-meaning groups – all trying to hold the best Pride for the city. Both groups say they will hold a parade, on different days.
My understanding is Mardi Gla came about as a way to create something the community could support while allowing Pride Glasgow to fix issues and restore faith for 2020.
Somewhere along the line, someone put their own pride first at the expense of an official Pride event.
Pride Glasgow, like the event in Edinburgh, doesn’t just serve the city. Many people across Scotland travel big distances from small villages to attend.
Many of those people, living in rural areas and remote islands, need Pride. They need to see people like them.
We can move forward.
Pride, in its original form, is a protest. The first Pride was not about reputation, it was a riot. It was about fighting oppression – saying we are here.
This is just as important today as it was 50 years ago. No one organization can ever represent Pride, not really.
Planned Pride events can serve as a call to arms, a place to gather. But sometimes all it takes is one person, around other LGBTI people, to speak up and unite.
Glasgow’s LGBTI community will stand together – I believe this. We have Free Pride on 3 August, and I’ve already heard talk of little events happening all over the city.
Moments of celebration and protest will always exist, and I’m excited to see how we as a community can step up this year to make sure we do Pride our way.
Glasgow will still have Pride. Don’t worry about that. And in some ways, it may have more of the soul of the original Stonewall than most.
Davey Shields is a co-host of the MenTalkHealth podcast. Follow him on Twitter.