The first ever Pride House to feature at a Commonwealth Games has been has been praised for its impact on LGBTI rights, during its closing ceremony on Saturday night.
After a fortnight of events, Pride House Glasgow celebrated its farewell featuring Scottish entertainers such as the singer Horse McDonald and the comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli.
Pride House has welcomed over 6,000 people through its doors over the course of the Games – including athletes, politicians and celebrities, raising the profile of homophobia and transphobia in sports.
Hugh Torrance, Chair of LEAP Sports Scotland told KaleidoScot: “As well as an evening of celebration, this was also an evening to contemplate the equality and human rights issues which have been raised and discussed throughout the Games.
“LEAP Sports has been proud to contribute to the continued legacy of the Pride House movement and will support future Pride House organisers.
“Our work will continue with our partners on the LGBT sports charter, training and support for sports governing bodies, and sports development work. We have reached a wider number of volunteers, supporters and other stakeholders and will seek to maintain that engagement.”
In addition, a number of prominent leaders and supporters of Pride House Glasgow recorded messages of thanks and solidarity that were shown at the closing ceremony party.
In a video message, The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, said: “Pride House Glasgow has helped to ensure that the Glasgow Commonwealth Games haven’t just been the greatest sporting and cultural festival Scotland has ever seen, they’ve also been the greatest celebration of diversity that we have ever seen.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu paid tribute to Pride House, saying it contributed “materially to the worldwide campaign against homophobia”, and went on to say “I share Pride House Glasgow’s vision of a world free of prejudice.
“God made human beings, all human beings, for interdependency and love. To discriminate against people on the basis of their sexuality is equally repulsive as discriminating on the basis of their race, gender or religion. Together we can win the fight against homophobia, let’s go for it! God bless you.”
Tutu also used his message to thank the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council for their support.
John Bercow MP – Speaker of the House of Commons applauded and congratulated Pride House for LGBT equality in sport. He said that the anti-LGBTI laws and sentiments throughout the Commonwealth Countries clearly needs to change, “it is a matter of essential human rights.”
Bercow said he looked forward to the day when discrimination ends and equality achieved and celebrated throughout the Commonwealth.
Leader of Glasgow City Council, Gordon Matheson, paid special homage to Pride House, saying it was an honour for him “as [a] leader of the city and as a gay man to be a patron of Pride House.” He further said Pride House helped welcome everyone and provide a place for LGBTI people across the commonwealth.
Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games and Equalities, Shona Robison said: “I am delighted with the reception Pride House has received from people across the world. Scotland is already a world leader on LGBT equality and being able to share or journey with other countries has been an important part the Games.”
Alison Johnstone Scottish Green Party MSP said she was honoured to be a patron of Pride House and that its work was “a real commitment to LGBT equality.”
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told KaleidoScot that he wished to congratulate and thank Pride House and the Equality Network “for the amazing, extraordinary success they’ve had in raising LGBTI human rights at the Commonwealth Games,” which had an impact worldwide.
“It’s been incredibly successful and inspiring. Well done Scotland”, he remarked.
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, said: “We have sought to use the power of the Games to change attitudes by celebrating diversity in everything we do, including the Opening Ceremony, and by delivering a truly inclusive sports programme. Pride House Glasgow has been a wonderful addition to the city and to the spirit of celebration surrounding the Games and it has been a privilege to have them as both our partners and our neighbours.”
Jenny Kermode, of KaleidoScot and TransMedia Watch praised “brave” LGBTI campaigners working “in difficult circumstances” throughout the Commonwealth Countries to improve and raise awareness public awareness of sexuality and gender identity issues.
She further underlined that despite the struggle there has been progress, adding, “so let’s stay in the commonwealth spirit and let’s make things happen.”
Ewan Platt, the Executive Co-ordinator of IGLYO praised Pride House and LGBTI activists across the Commonwealth Countries for their work to promote equality.
Celebrity and advocate Olivia Newton-John, who strongly supports same-sex marriage, thanked Pride House for its work supporting LGBTI Equality.
Saskia Hampele, who plays Georgia Brooks in the Oz soap Neighbours, thanked Pride House for its work towards LGBTI equality and said she looked forward to continue its legacy during the Commonwealth Games to be held in Australia in for years time.
Watch the Closing Video of Pride House Glasgow here: