West Lothian celebrated its LGBT community with another successful Pride event at the weekend, its biggest and best yet!
Building on the work in the previous two years, organisers moved the event to an outdoor location at West Lothian College in Livingston, which provided an excellent space for stallholders and the crowds enjoying an afternoon of entertainment.
The traditional Pride Parade kicked off at 2pm with an escort from all 3 emergency services, including representatives of the Gay Police Association Scotland and members of Police Scotland Youth Volunteers. An estimated 400 people came out in colourful costumes and marched through the centre of Livingston, including a large number of young people.
Speaking to Pink Saltire, Maggie Archibald is the Event Organiser and West Lothian Council’s Equality & Diversity Advisor:
“The 3rd West Lothian Pride has been a huge success, it’s been amazing to see so many people attend Pride Village within West Lothian College and of course take part in our March along Almondvale Boulevard, which ensures our March is at the very heart of Livingston. The organising committee would like to give special thanks to all our key partners, sponsors and of course to our volunteers, who ensured we had another successful West Lothian Pride.”
“Planning for West Lothian Pride 2018 has already begun and we hope that you will join us on Saturday 28 July 2018 to once again support the LGBT+ community and its allies celebrate who they are.”
Local employers were also present in the march, including Sky TV, who have a large workforce based at Kirkton Campus in the town. The satellite broadcaster had staff marching in the parade and a stall promoting Sky as a proud diverse employer.
Music for the day was provided by the team at Scene Radio, Scotland’s new LGBT+ radio station, as well as live acts, including Robyn Anderson, Nikki McDonald and Megan Black. There was a loud cheer as both the rainbow flag and transgender flag were raised on the College square ahead of speeches from local elected representatives.
Many of the agencies and charities supporting LGBT+ people in Scotland were also represented, with stalls from LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall, LGBT Age, LEAP Sports and Equality Network among others. Despite threatening rain clouds and increasing winds (typical Scottish summer weather) the crowds enjoyed raffles, giveaways, rainbow market stalls and even an inflatable basketball challenge!
Pink Saltire were also encouraging participants to have pride in their identity, partnering with social media giant Snapchat to launch a special “Show Your Pride” filter. The filter was used over 150 times on the day, reaching over 8,300 people within 24hrs.
West Lothian Pride is the third event of the 2017 Pride season in Scotland, with Pride Glasgow and Free Pride set to close events this year on 19th & 20th August.
Scotland has 5 active Pride organisations who have held events in the past 12 months, with over 120 combined in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are plans to expand this number in 2018, with new events planned for Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee, Grampian region and Forth Valley.
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