Pastel blue, pink, and white were the colors of Edinburgh Pride today (22 June) in a city disgruntled and impatient over the Scottish parliament’s sluggish approach to trans rights.
Just a day after Scottish lawmakers put an update to the Gender Recognition Act – which would have smoothed and made easier acquiring a gender recognition certificate – on hold to criticism from trans rights groups.
Despite concerns from Pride organizers and talk among locals, transphobes were notably missing from the parade led first by pro-trans groups holding a ‘Pride Scotia’ sign.
The country’s oldest Pride of over 22 years, Edinburgh Pride-goers assembled at 11.30am sharp outside the Scottish Parliament Building on Parliament Green by Horse Wynd.
Standing in the gray grounds lit up by countless glitter, rainbow gowns, and dogs in Pride flag collars were Kerry and Becca.
As they eagerly awaited the parade to kick-off, the couple, who have dated for more than a year, told Gay Star News their excitement.
26-year-old Becca said: ‘It’s our first Pride together, I only came out last year thanks to her.
‘Pride is about us being happy together with one another, and showing our support for other people in the community who are less represented than us.’
As the parade began, things quickly perked-up.
The colorful procession followed a route uptown up the Royal Mile before turning on to George IV Bridge and wrapping-up at Edinburgh University Students’ Association campus.
Pride-goers wound across cobblestone avenues, and shopkeepers stood outside to wave. One was Macraes of Edinburgh manager, Eleen.
Standing outside her wool and tweeds garment shop on 208 Canongate, she told me how she was recently come back from a trip to Western Africa.
‘I look at Edinburgh, and I see how open everyone is and can be here. It’s beautiful, the culture gives us all comfort.’
Why were trans rights at the forefront this year?
As a specter of statistics haunts the UK – with anti-LGBTI hate crimes rising by 144% in England and Wales across five years – people felt tense.
Scotland is no exception here. There were 1,216 hate crimes against queer folk recorded in the country from March 2018 to 2019.
— Pride Edinburgh (@PrideEdinburgh) June 22, 2019
Moreover, plans to reform legislation that would make it easier for people to change gender were postponed by lawmakers in Holyrood.
Trans people who want to change their legally recognized gender are able to apply under the GRA.
However, trans people quickly become tangled in bureaucracy to ‘prove’ they are trans. Such as satisfying a panel to prove they have gender dysphoria, and must prove they have lived in their true gender for at least two years.
Parliament pitched to move to a self-identification system, but amid criticism from transphobic groups, the legislative postponed it for a public consultation.
Parliament ‘dropped the ball’
One trans person leading the parade was Jamie. Speaking to me – their stomach painted in the trans Pride flag and sporting a top hat in the colors from Flying Tiger – told me their frustration.
The 27-year-old told me: ‘This is my fifth Pride and in the last couple days, the Parliament have dropped the ball with the GRA.
‘I’m here at the front with a giant 15-meter trans flag to raise visibility and show we’re still here.’