Thousands of LGBTI people, friends and allies will attend Pride Glasgow, Scotland’s largest parade and celebration.
Pride Glasgow’s this year’s theme is inclusive education asking the government to commit to teaching diversity and tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Scottish schools.
This year’s Pride Glasgow is expected to be the biggest ever with potentially over ten thousand people braving the rainy weather to attend the march and festival.
Pride Glasgow will also honour the victims of the hate crime shooting against the Pulse club in Orlando, Florida, that claimed the lives of 49 people and dozens more injured.
Equalities Secretary, Angela Constance, is due to speak at the Equality Network’s float later today, reflecting on the significant progress made tackling prejudice in Scotland over the last decade, she also highlighted future plans to review and reform the gender recognition law.
Ms Constance said: “Pride Glasgow is an opportunity to celebrate LGBTI communities and to present a unified front by standing and marching together against hate crime.
“Showing this solidarity is even more important in the wake of recent atrocities in Orlando and the persecution LGBTI people in other parts of the world face on a daily basis.
“Scotland should be proud of the progress we’ve made to tackle LGBTI inequalities but we cannot be complacent. To eradicate hate crime we all need to take responsibility for challenging any prejudice and discrimination in our society.
“We will continue to work to address any inequalities that exist by uniting against hate crime and updating our gender recognition laws.”
Director of the Equality Network Tim Hopkins said: “We are happy to welcome Angela Constance to address the Pride marchers today. Together we celebrate the progress we’ve made towards LGBTI equality in recent years, but recognise that there’s more to do before LGBTI people can feel truly equal and welcome in Scotland.
“The event today is themed around the vital importance of making our education system LGBTI-inclusive, to address prejudice and ensure that LGBTI young people know that their identity is fully respected and valued.
“We also very much welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to bring our gender recognition law up to international best practice, and we look forward to helping the Government ensure that Scotland retains its place amongst Europe’s leaders on legal equality for LGBTI people.”
Speaking with KaleidoScot, Justine Smithies, who recently came out publicly as trans and promotes equality as a trans role-model in Stonewall Scotland, said she is excited and proud to attend, along with her family, Pride Glasgow for the first time.
She said: “This is my first pride and I’m really excited and proud to be here. A few years ago and I wouldn’t have been so keen being the recluse that I used to be because of coming out as trans and not feeling comfortable about myself or how society would take me.
“But now I’ve become a visible role model and I’m proud to march with everyone and say look at me. Hopefully sending a message to others in the LGBTI+ community that’s it’s ok to just be yourself. Be proud and live your life as you are only here once.
“Pride Glasgow also highlights the plans for the gender recognition act, and I want to say how important it is for Scotland on this occasion. It will allow trans people to change their birth certificate and other official documents to recognise their gender status without having to appear before a tribunal of psychiatrists, which, as I’ve previously said, is a difficult and sometimes agonising process.
“In addition it will offer legal recognition to younger transgender people, allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to change their birth certificate without requiring the permission of their parents.
“In addition it will recognise people who identify as neither male nor female.”
Pride events in Glasgow are held by both Pride Glasgow and Free Pride with the pride march starting at noon.
Pride Glasgow will be holding events in Glasgow Green, while Free Pride will be hosting events in Glasgow’s Art School, throughout the weekend.