Thousands of people turned out to support LGBT equality at the weekend, making events in Stornoway and Inverness a huge success.
Over 5,000 people are estimated to have taken part in the Proud Ness march through Inverness on Saturday, with a morning parade leaving from Falcon Square and organisers needing more space when the huge march reached Eden Court on the riverside.
Organisers had expected only 300 people to take part, but publicity which followed a petition against the Pride march ensured the event was supported far beyond the LGBT community in the city, with people from the Borders, Fife, Edinburgh, Glasgow and beyond attending.
Following speeches by local Church of Scotland minister Peter Nimmo and the event organisers, there was entertainment, information stalls and workshops in the fantastic Eden Court venue. Talks were held from organisations such as the TIE Campaign and Equality Network. It was the first LGBT Pride event in the city since 2002 and seems set to become an annual fixture on the ever-increasing Pride calendar in Scotland.
Meanwhile on Lewis in the Western Isles, the first ever Pride march was held in the town of Stornoway, with organisers hailing a turnout of over 400 people in the staunchly religious islands.
Both events had support online and in more traditional media, with the BBC covering events in Stornoway and Inverness for news reports, several online articles from local newspapers and former MP John Nicolson discussing his affiliation with the Hebrides on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning!
Pride events are usually organised by a small and dedicated group of volunteers and these brilliant occasions were no different – the Highland LGBT Forum being the main team behind Proud Ness and Susanne Erbida & Janice MacIver being at the helm in Stornoway – but it takes a whole community to make a Pride successful.
Let’s hope people in the Highlands and Islands, and infact all over Scotland, continue to stand up and be proud in the years to come in order to keep these events going.