Thousands defy anti-LGBT+ petition to take part in biggest ever Pride parades in the Scottish highlands

Scott Cuthbertson

Thousands of LGBT+ people and allies have taken part in the biggest LGBT+ event to be held in Inverness in 16 years.

Organisers Highland LGBT Forum said 3,000 people marched in Proud Ness parade, with a similar event being held in Stornoway – the first Pride event ever to be held in the Hebrides.

Rainbow flags flew above the Town House in Inverness and Highland Council's headquarters to mark the events. Remarkably, Church of Scotland minister the Reverend Peter Nimmo was on the speakers list – which would have seemed unthinkable just a few years ago.

Speaking before the parade, he said:

I feel honoured to be invited and pleased to hear that a number of clergy from the Church of Scotland and other denominations will be attending.

I would encourage as many ministers as possible to come along.

Member of Scottish Parliament Maree Todd also praised the organisers of both events.

She said told the BBC:

To me, these events in both Stornoway and Inverness are about freedom of expression, being proud of your identity, and telling everyone 'you are welcome' here in the Highlands and Islands.

Though it wasn’t all rainbows and glitter, as Proud Ness was opposed by a petition launched by a man who said the event was against his religious beliefs. Thankfully, the petition did not meet Highland Council's rules on petitions, so was not considered.

In response, two petitions were launched in support of Proud Ness, which were promoted by famous faces including actor Alan Cumming.

Following the event, Highland LGBT Forum called the event a success, saying:

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped make #ProudNess such an amazing day.

From everyone involved in organising to everyone who took part. We well and truly turned Inverness rainbow!

Scott Cuthbertson of Equality Network, Scotland's leading LGBT+ organisation, told indy100:

The Scottish Highlands are not always the easiest place in Scotland to grow up as an LGBTI person. Social isolation, having to travel long distances to access LGBTI services and little visibility of LGBTI issues are all part of daily life.

This weekend over 5000 people came together to send the message that the highlands is a welcoming place for LGBTI people, and that intolerance and invisibility were to be consigned to the past.


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