THE BIG DAY OUT
Thousands of gays and lesbians are preparing to gather in Edinburgh for the third Pride Scotland festival. As the year's biggest outing kicks off (below). we ask a select few what the
FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIANS WERE set to march round Edinburgh‘s Meadows praying for rain and there were rumours that a lOOft inﬂatable condom would ﬂy over Edinburgh City Chambers. Pride Scotland, the nation’s biggest gathering of lesbians. gay men and bisexuals, was about to be launched.
As it is, the giant condom will float above the Pride Scotland festival site on The Meadows and the rainbow flag. known as the gay ensign, will represent the Council’s commitment to ‘equality for all’. So far. the rain is holding off.
Organisers of the third annual Pride Scotland see the festival on 2] June as a much needed platform for Scottish lesbians and gay men. ‘lt is very much a one day focus for lesbian and gay rights throughout the year,’ says publicity co-ordinator Kenneth McGowan. ‘Although Pride Scotland doesn’t want to tread on London Pride’s toes. it is good to have something closer to home.’
The festival’s increasing attendance figures reflect this view that Scottish lesbians and gay men are choosing to celebrate north of the border, rather than head for the annual London event. Pride Scotland attracted 5000 to The Meadows in 1995. last year 7500 attended the event at Glasgow Green and this year, l0.000 are expected. There is also continuing speculation that the festival may incorporate Dundee and Aberdeen. as originally planned.
The festival kicks off with a march from East London Street to the Meadows. before seven hours of live music and celebrations. Surrounding this year‘s big day out are satellite events. including a national conference on 20 June, with contributions from the STUC and gay and lesbian rights group Stonewall. The aim is to highlight the campaign for equality in Scotland. an initiation publicly embraced by both Glasgow and Edinburgh city councils.
Tim Hopkins of the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Network is march co-ordinator for Pride Scotland. He sees the Labour election victory. and the planned Scottish Parliament as ‘a great opportunity to ensure our rights to equal treatment are fully enshrined in the new Scotland.’
The Equality For All Conference is at Edinburgh City Chamers, Fri 20 Jun, 10.30am-4.4Spm, £10. Lunch and refreshments included. Call LGB Equality Network on 0131 556 8822 for details. See Film page 24 for preview of the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
20 THELIST 13-26 Jun 199/
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Al N 'choll Club promoter and DJ at Edinburgh's Joy
’l’m really looking forward to Pride. It’s going to be a liberating, exhilarating experience walking down Princes Street this year. Pride is about being visible, not just at night on the scene but during the day, celebrating together for one day of the year. I think the festival will get bigger and bigger and yet hopefully retain its friendly and welcoming atmosphere. I'm also looking forward to the introduction of a dance tent which has always been difficult to justify financially but made possible this time by Virgin’s sponsorship.’
Dominic D'Angelo Editor of Gay Scotland magazine
'Every time Pride comes along I am constantly surprised by the variety of people who turn out for the occasron. It’s a confidence-building exerCise where people are given en0ugh spirit to turn up and celebrate no matter what else . is gomg in their life. It’s a day to celebrate who it we are as indiViduals. Even though we are marching with a crowd each person has made a personal commitment to be there. I think too that Wliil the increasing popularity of Pride Scotland and other regional festivals, people
will stop going to London Pride which I think — ' i ’~
has become a monster, overburdened With commercial concerns. Pride Scotland should be used by lesbians and gay men as a focus for celebration; a way of informing and a way of infusing political change within their own
community beyond the festival day.’
'lt is so much better being gay now. I remember much more oppressive times —- no bars, no scene, few ways of meeting people. I had to lead a double life, as did many people who lived in fear of losing their JObS, of police action against them. I remember my sexual awakening in Glasgow when l was fifteen, where at school I was strongly attracted to another boy, a '3 feeling which made me feel so good. ‘3 And a few years later I had experiences that underlined that these ' initial feelings could and did go deeper into love, and that the feeling has remained the same.’