Photo: ‘This Is Me’ – Pride Edinburgh 2019 | Credit: Thomas Anderson-Thatcher

Pride Edinburgh, now in its 24th year, took place on 22nd June in the heart of the city. The annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) event was a huge success and brought together thousands of people from all over Scotland, and beyond, to shout ‘This Is Me’ to the world.

2019 marks 50 years since the Stonewall Riots in New York, a moment in history that started the pride movement and was a catalyst for the fight for equality for LGBT+ people around the world. In recognition of this Pride Edinburgh dedicated this years event to LGBT+ activist Marsha P Johnson – one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising in 1969. The theme for Pride Edinburgh 2019 was ‘This Is Me’.

In advance of the event Brett Herriot, Chair of Pride Edinburgh, said: “We want to show the world the beautiful diverse people of this city and celebrate that we are all unique and special in our own ways and when we join, anything is possible.”

“We want to show the world the beautiful diverse people of this city and celebrate that we are all unique and special in our own ways and when we join, anything is possible.”

Pride Edinburgh got underway with thousands of people joining the huge pride march. It started at the Scottish Parliament with speeches from political leaders and community champions. The area was a sea of rainbows and people smiling with pride. It was a joy to be a part of it all, even if we were just watching on this year.

The march took place not long after the disappointing news that the gender identification changes proposed by the Scottish Government were shelved to allow for further consultation. What stood out this year was the support for the transgender community, with the march flooded with placards and banners adorned with supportive messages and calls to action for trans equality. Pride isn’t all about rainbows and glitter. It was wonderful seeing people of all ages protesting in a positive and engaging way. Pride is as much a protest as it is a celebration. Many people would say pride marches should focus on being a protest. What are your thoughts?

Photo: Coming out for LGBT | Credit: Thomas Anderson-Thatcher

Unlike many Pride marches in big cities, there was still a sense of the march belonging to the LGBT+ community and not feeling too corporate heavy. There was of course a presence from a number of national and local businesses, but there was equally a strong presence from local community and sports groups, charities big and small and grass roots campaigning organisations – with many people joining the march as it snaked up the historic Royal Mile.

Organisations and charities taking part in the march included LGBT Health & Wellbeing, Royal Bank of Scotland, Stonewall Scotland, Sainsbury’s, LGBT Youth Scotland, Costa, Equality Network and Standard Life Aberdeen.

Getting the grass roots vs corporate balance can be difficult. We’re a big supporter of corporates throwing their resources and support behind LGBT+ events and showing their visible support for their LGBT+ employees and customers. These events need financial support to make them a reality – they cost money and you can only do so much with goodwill.

Ending at the EUSA Campus at Potterrow and Teviot, the sun was shining and there was a packed programme of free entertainment planned for pride-goers. Sponsored by Manchester Airport, the main stage at Bristo Square played host to chart-topping singer and TV personality Tulisa, local singer James Hughes and X-Factor finalist Sam Callahan…and lots more amazing talent.

“We live in times where hate crimes against LGBT+ people are rising and the existence of many people within our community is being questioned. Our existence isn’t up for debate.”

There was an abundance of information stands to visit, stalls to purchase your pride essentials from, areas to chill-out and catch up with friends and bars to grab an Eden Mill gin & tonic, or whatever took your fancy. Businesses and charities exhibiting at the event included Sky, Virgin Holiday’s, Stonewall Scotland, Equality Network, HIV Scotland, Police Scotland and Scottish Water. We filled our tote bag with lots of pride branded freebies. You can never have too many pens!

Thomas Anderson-Thatcher, Founder of Inclusive Networks, said: “It was great joining the pride celebrations in my new home city. We live in times where hate crimes against LGBT+ people are rising and the existence of many people within our community is being questioned. Our existence isn’t up for debate. We aren’t going anywhere and it was amazing seeing the LGBT+ community and our allies unite and stand up to the hate that we are seeing daily in our newspapers, communities and social media. We’ve come so far, but we still have so much to do.”

As the celebrations ended at the main site we headed over to Edinburgh’s Pink Triangle, home to a number of LGBT+ bars and inclusive venues. The pride classics were blasting, the drinks were flowing and the area was buzzing with pride. Bars to check out in this area include The Street, Habana, CC Blooms and Planet Bar…and The Regent only a short walk away. We had a fabulous day!

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT PRIDE EDINBURGH:

Visit their website at prideedinburgh.org.uk