Main pic: Susan Aitken (GCC), Hugh Torrance (LEAP), Clare Haughey MSP (Minister for Mental Health) at the opening of Pride House
Glasgow’s Pride House is back and offers a bumper programme of exciting events celebrating LGBT+ diversity and inclusion during the European Championships.
Based on Trongate in Glasgow, the colourful and welcoming venue had its official opening this week, and is now open daily until 12th August, with events including exhibitions, talks, music and activities designed to increase LGBT people’s participation in sport.
At the official opening, invited guests were offered a sneak preview of the venue, which has been the focus of significant voluntary efforts to get the space ready for the arrival of thousands of athletes, officials and visitors from around Europe. In attendance were reps from a number of LGBT organisations, sports groups, athletes and officials. Clare Haughey MSP, Minister for Mental Health officially opened the venue, which has been supported by the Scottish Government.
Pride House as a concept is about offering a safe space for LGBT+ people at major sporting events around the world, including athletes and visitors who may come from countries where it is still illegal to be openly LGBT. At least 6000 people visited Pride House in Glasgow during the 2014 Commonwealth Games and during the 2016 Homeless World Cup.
Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, addressed guests at the official opening and said:
“Pride House has really made its mark now and these big sporting events in Glasgow wouldn’t feel the same without it. We made it clear that we would proudly proclaim that amongst the medals and podiums, Glasgow would emerge as a champion for equality, that exclusion wouldn’t be on the agenda and that participation in sport was for everyone.”
“I want to add my congratulations for LEAP Sports and all of the partners involved – this is a really great space. It’s a welcoming space but also a space to be entertained, moved, to be though-provoking, it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s a world-class programme of events and sits alongside a world-class cultural programme and world-class agenda of sporting events around the city.”
“There is so much talent and commitment in the LGBT community here in Glasgow. The City Government that I lead is absolutely committed to supporting that community wherever we can and to support the celebration of diversity and inclusion of LGBT citizens in Glasgow.”
Before the local council elections in 2017, the SNP manifesto for the city committed to a permanent LGBT space for the community in Glasgow, a commitment which was welcomed by LGBT organisations and picked up by Fergus McMillan, Chief Exec of LGBT Youth Scotland and member of the Glasgow LGBTI Voluntary Sector Network, who also addressed guests at the official opening. He said:
“Within the Network, when we’ve discussed what a permanent space might look like for Glasgow, we’ve looked to Pride House as a positive example of collaboration for LGBTI people. Lots of us feel there is a real gap and that permanent space is really needed in the city. The LGBTI+ Working Group, led by Cllr Jen Layden, is now established and is looking at the needs of the community. The time for action is now and we hope this Pride House will act as inspiration and help encourage our partners in the city council to establish that permanent space.”
One of the key features at Pride House is a huge quilt, made up of panels from schools in every council area of Scotland. The quilt depicts the hopes and aspirations of young people in Scotland for LGBT+ equality and is a striking example of change in Scotland’s views on equality, not just in our metropolitan hubs of Glasgow and Edinburgh, but in every corner of the country.
The full range of activities planned at Pride House are available in the official programme which can be picked up at the venue, at the Championship Media Hub or via download here.