COMMUNITY RALLY BEHIND HIGHLAND LGBT EVENT AFTER PETITION

UPDATED: Over 11,000 people have now signed petitions in SUPPORT of an LGBT event in Inverness, after concerns were raised by a small group of locals about an “unsavoury event” being planned for 6th October.

The ‘Proud Ness’ event is being organised by Highland LGBT Forum and the Inverness Courier reported earlier this week that a 600-name petition had been delivered to Highland Council opposing a Pride march through the city.

Donald Morrison, a home mission worker with the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), gathered the signatures, saying people attending Pride marches often “thrust lewdness in the faces of men, women and children alike by frolicking unashamedly on rainbow-coloured floats making obscene sexual gestures”.

But people across the Highlands and further afield have made their feelings known, with two separate counter petitions seeing a huge surge in support in the last 24 hours.

At the time of writing this article, the Change.org petition had over 4,100 signatures and the 38 Degrees petition more than 6,900 names.

There’s been considerable reaction on social media, with groups including Equality Network, Stonewall, Pink Saltire and the TIE Campaign all publicly backing the Proud Ness organisers.

Local politicians too have had their say, with the SNP councillor for the Ness-side ward, Ron MacWilliam, saying:

“Homophobic bigots exist everywhere, but Highland ones seem to get the most publicity. I don’t know if it’s that our bigots are more entertaining or if it just fits a perverse narrative of people in the North being a bit backward. It’s unreal ive, embarrassing, and anti-Highland as well as anti-LGBT.”

“We have a booming tourist sector which thrives on the pride we take in welcoming people from all over the world to share in the delights of our region. Scotland is now a world leader in LGBT rights, our dark past is in the past, and Inverness is an inclusive modern city. Our religious communities are also very loving and outward looking. I hope many people will travel up for Proud Ness to help us celebrate that inclusiveness and diversity. Hats off to Highland LGBT Forum for organising the event, I’m looking forward to it.”

Event organiser, Rosemary Roscrow, from Highland LGBT Forum, responding to the events of the week, told Pink Saltire:

“We feel proud of Inverness and the Highlands for supporting us, showing that most of the Highlands are in the 21st century!”

You can sign the petition to support the Proud Ness event here.

Further information on the Proud Ness event on 6th October is available from the group’s Facebook page here.

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