Perthshire’s first celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender life will take place on Saturday 11th August in Perth city centre.
Organisers have announced today they are working with Perth & Kinross Council on the new showcase event which celebrates diversity and encourages LGBT people to feel welcome to be themselves in the region.
Welcoming the news, Cllr Peter Barrett, who chairs the Council’s Housing & Communities Committee, told us:
“It is great that this year we will have our first ever Perthshire Pride event in the city centre. The event marks a demonstrable milestone in our journey to making Perth a more inclusive and fairer city. I am looking forward to it tremendously.”
Following a community consultation in 2017 led by LGBT charity, Pink Saltire, a number of community members stepped forward and the Co-Chair of the new committee, Claire Mackenzie, said:
“We cannot wait to champion the rich diversity we have here in the Perthshire region! By celebrating our differences we can all find so much in common. We are excited to put Perthshire on the map as a place of diversity and inclusion for LGBT people.”
The local economy could be set for a boost too, with the Perthshire Pride team working closely with organisers of the first Fife Pride, held in Kirkcaldy in 2017, to learn how local businesses gain from the event. An evaluation of the Fife event demonstrated an estimated boost of over £150,000 for the former industrial town with the influx of over 3000 people for Pride, leading to multi-year funding being confirmed by Fife Council in its latest budget.
The Pride committee are now engaging with the local authority, venues and businesses in the city to discuss plans for a festival-type event, including live music, a licensed bar area, charity stalls and other entertainment. Organisers also hope to offer a space for LGBT people to engage with service providers, such as housing agencies, employers, health organisations and local councillors.
The event in Perth is part of a booming movement in Scotland in 2018, with 11 Pride events now confirmed this year, compared to just 4 in 2017. New events in Aberdeen, Dundee, East Lothian and even the Isle of Bute join more traditional host cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Stuart Duffy of Pink Saltire, the charity who led the initial community consultation for Pride, told us why Pride events are important in changing hearts and minds:
“We’re determined that Pride plays a vital part in this next chapter of Scotland’s story of equality. We have some of the best legislation in Europe for LGBT people which has been hard won by activists and campaigners over the years, but the fight against discrimination cannot be won in Holyrood alone. We know young people continue to face bullying and stigma in school which has a devastating impact on their wellbeing and that hate crime continues to rise across the country against LGBT people, so we see Pride as a highly visible opportunity for communities to come together and stand up against hate. When LGBT people living or visiting Perthshire can see they are welcome here it sends a strong message about the values we have as a city, as a region and as a country.”
Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney said: “I am very pleased to hear that Perth will hold its first Pride event this summer.
“This event, and the wide welcome it has received, proves once more that Perthshire is an open-minded, caring community that values the principles of equality and tolerance.
“It is clear, however, that members of LGBT community – particularly young people – can still be subject to horrendous discrimination, bullying and intimidation. Events like Perthshire Pride play a key role in standing up to such hatred and ensuring that LGBT people receive the respect and opportunities they deserve.”
Anyone interested in getting involved with Perthshire Pride is invited to contact the team through their Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org