I had the best time at Pride 2016: my whole family joined us in the march, I didn’t vomit on a rollercoaster and I danced to Kylie behind a float full of drag queens during the Pride march.
It is time to start getting excited for this year’s Pride Glasgow celebrations. Each festival offers something totally unique to each location, and our city’s own is no exception. Pride Glasgow is Scotland’s largest LGBTQ+ Pride festival, and takes place between Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th August.
My favourite part of a Pride celebration is of course the march, which sees thousands take to the streets of Glasgow and celebrate everything we love about the LGBTQ+ community. The Pride Parade is one of the most exciting and vibrant parades in the city’s calendar, as one of the few parades still to go through the city centre it is seen by around 100,000 people and with over 4,000 people talking an active part in the parade. The Route is the same as 2016 and starts at Glasgow Green continuing onto Greendyke St, Saltmarket, Trongate, Albion St, Ingram St, South Frederick St, George Sq South Aspect, St Vincent Pl, St Vincent St, Renfield St, Union St, Jamaica St, Clyde St, Bridgegate, Steel St, Turnbull St and Greendyke St before arriving back at Glasgow Green. The Parade starts at 12pm and participants must be at the Parade Point in Glasgow Green by 11:45am at the latest. Everyone is encouraged to wear bright colours, hold banners and show off what Pride means for you.
This year’s line up features Irish cult heroes B*Witched, the four piece pop group who brought us ‘Rollercoaster,’ ‘To You I Belong,’ and a little ditty called ‘C’est La Vie.’ Joining them are Finnish Eurovision pop sensation Saara Aalto, most famous for coming in second in this year’s The X Factor, and dance music icon Kelly Llorenna, whose tracks ‘Set You Free’ and ‘Tell It To My Heart’ were probably the highlights of your primary school discos (provided you’re as old as this humble writer…).
This year also sees the return of the Pride Dog Show, the amazing Pride March and an expansion of the Village Square. And the fair ground, which is pretty much my favourite part.
The history of Pride celebration can be traced back to the Stonewall riots, an event largely agreed to have launched the LGBTQ+ rights movement in 1969. Taking place at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Manhattan, the six day riot came as a result of impending friction between the authorities and LGBTQ+ civilians. The first event, fittingly, was the LGBT Pride March in New York on 2nd November 1969 and ever since the festival has become a global event to celebrate being proud to be LGBTQ+. Whether the march is largely political or a celebratory, Mardi Gras-style affair, there is no better way to unify people behind the cause of equality.
Our community faces much adversity, even in 2017; 74 countires still ban homosexual relationships, women (straight and gay) continue to objectified and vilified in the media and the leader of the free world just stated he does not want transgender soldiers protecting his citizens. Pride may not be for everyone, but there’s no argument to suggest we don’t need it anymore: while we in the UK and the rest of Western Europe have achieved so much in the way of LGBTQ+ equality, it’s too easy to overlook countries in which being queer can cost you your life. Pride Uganda 2014, for example, went ahead despite homosexuality being illegal and the recent invalidation of the Kill the Gays Bill. We shouldn’t take Pride for granted: it’s the perfect platform to celebrate queer culture and al we have achieved as a community. Also, face paint.
Pride is massively important. We need space to promote inclusion within the LGBTQ+ community, celebrate the progress we have made in achieving equality for all and ensure future generations do not take their history for granted. Whether you join the parade, take part in one of Glasgow’s various Pride celebrations or, as our house will be doing, creating the gayest playlist known to humanity and throwing an enormous Pride Party of our own, take this opportunity to show pride in yourself and your community.