Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has officially opened Pride Glasgow 2017, the first time any sitting First Minister or Prime Minister has done so in UK history.

Ms Sturgeon welcomed over 5000 people, who braved the typical Scottish weather, to Glasgow Green in the heart of the city in an emotional address. She opened by telling  them:

FM Nicola Sturgeon opens Glasgow Pride    (Credit: Susan Aitken)

“What a fantastic sight you all are. It’s such a privilege to look out over the Green to such a sea of colour, unity, happiness and love. I cannot tell you how proud I am to be the first First Minister or Prime Minister to address Pride anywhere in the UK. I may be the first, but I will not be the last. It really matters to me that you know I stand with you side by side, shoulder to shoulder, standing up for solidarity, love, respect and and the principle that love is love.”

The First Minister then turned to matters in other parts of the UK and the world, saying:

“But as we celebrate our progress, let us remember that there are people all over the world that do not enjoy the rights we have here. We must continue to stand up and fight for them as well. And lets remember, even in a part of the UK today, equal marriage is still not legal. Lets send a loud message of support to those in Northern Ireland campaigning for equal marriage, we are with you.”

The First Minister received a huge welcome by the thousands attending and used the opportunity to call out hatred, in a week beset with tragedy and division, saying:

“Lets send a loud message from Glasgow to all of those who want to divide us. They will not win as we will continue to live our lives by the principles of love, tolerance, respect, of solidarity and of love – because love is love, wherever you are and whoever you are.”

The First Minister was also sporting her Pride face paints, telling the crowds it was another first for her!

Crowds gathered on Glasgow Green despite the showers

Susan Aitken, the Leader of Glasgow’s SNP City Government, also addressed the crowds gathered on Glasgow Green, another first in the 21-year history of Pride in Glasgow.

She spoke of her pride at supporting the new ‘PRISM’ network for LGBT+ staff of the city council and its partner agencies, promising to have a Glasgow City Council float in next years parade! The city council reiterated their commitment to making Glasgow the best place in Europe for LGBT+ people to live, work and visit, saying:

“If Scotland is the best place in the world to be LGBT+ then Glasgow has to be the best place in Scotland, doesn’t it?  I pledge to work with all my colleagues within the Council and our partners to make sure it happens.”

Pride Chief Executive, Alastair Smith, told the thousands of enthusiastic revellers, despite the intermittent rain showers, of his pride at leading the parade with his mum and sister alongside him.

Over 20,000 people are expected on Glasgow Green across the weekend to enjoy the festival events, the biggest ever held in Scotland. Pop acts Saara Aalto, Collabro, Kelly Llorenna and B*Witched are all set to headline the main stage, as well as a host of local and tribute acts and the ever-popular GBX.

Despite a small number of protesters who tried to disrupt the start of the parade route, and a lone religious protester telling marchers they’d “burn in Hell for their sins” the march was hailed a huge success and one of the largest in the UK. A number of LGBT staff networks from both the public and commercial sectors were also represented with floats and marchers, including the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s Rainbow Network, the Scottish Government, Sky, Tesco, RBS and several unions.

You can view a video of the full Pride Glasgow Parade again at this link from Pink Saltire:

Main pic credit: Equality Network

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