Large crowds attended today’s Pride Edinburgh parade, which paid tribute to the victims of last month’s fatal attack on Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.
Speeches were made prior to the parade setting off at the City Chambers in which the tragedy was remembered and calls made to “reject the politics of hate and division”. A minute’s silence was also held.
The parade took in the Royal Mile and the Scottish Parliament, finishing at the top of Leith Walk.
The march started a little later than usual due to the official opening of the new Scottish Parliamentary session by the Queen. The rainbow flag flew above Holyrood to mark the occasion, and many of Scotland’s politicians attended Pride including Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and SNP MEP Alyn Smith.
Ms Dugdale, addressing the crowd, said: “”I’m here to march with you today in pride and solidarity for those who lost their lives in Orlando who we continue to grieve for today. We march in pride and anger at all those countries around the world where it is still illegal to be gay and we must redouble our efforts every single day to change that.”
Mr Smith also spoke to those gathered, warning of complacency. He said: “We live in troubled times but have come so far for our community and minority communities everywhere. Scotland is a great place to be but there are a lot of people feeling nervous in Scotland right now… Pride is important to celebrate where we are but also to remember how hard we had to work to get here and to remember that change is not irreversible. Let us say loudly and proudly that Scotland rejects the politics of hate and division and we are a welcoming European nation.”
Mr Rennie’s speech also focused on the “brutality” of the shootings in Orlando as well as the need to keep moving forward, insisting that we should never settle for what we’ve got when there is still progress to be made.
Brett Herriot, chair of the Pride Edinburgh committee, said: “We have Orlando in the forefront of our minds this year. The entire event is dedicated to them. One of our venues is having a tribute to them where all 49 names will be displayed.”
These sentiments were echoed by Stuart, a gay man from Renfrewshire, who told KaleidoScot that today’s Pride Event showed “everything that was positive about Scotland”. He said: “I was very impressed by the message of this year’s Pride…it was absolutely right that we remembered the Orlando tragedy in this way. There’s been a lot of talk about hate crime and intolerance, so what better way could there be of showing that we’re not going to accept it… that we’re going to stand against it whenever and wherever we find it.
“It made me very proud of the community and Scotland. Proud to have been marching in solidarity today.”
Hannah, who also took part in the parade, told KaleidoScot: “it was fun as Pride should be and it was a nice day for it. I even walked with Scottish Labour for a bit towards the end and it was great to be united around a cause at a time like this.”