Venus Guytrap to be Host at Pride 2023
2023 February 21
We’re over the moon to announce the return of the fabulous Drag Queen Venus Guytrap as the Host for our Pride event on 22 July 2023.
A premier live-singing act, Venus had been in the entertainment business for 14 years, has raised thousands of pounds for charities during this time, and was the first ever ‘Miss Drag Highland’.
She’s also featured on the BBC News, talkRADIO and BBC Radio Scotland, including a piece on drag and gender identity.
You can follow her on:
Emma Roddick to be Guest Speaker at Pride 2023
2023 February 20
We’re delighted to announce that Emma Roddick will be our guest speaker at our Pride event on 22 July 2023.
Emma Roddick is a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Highlands & Islands region. At 23, she was the youngest MSP elected in the 2021 Scottish Parliament Elections and is the only out MSP in the region. As a child, she lived in Ross-shire, and now lives in Merkinch, Inverness.
In September 2021, Emma was appointed co-convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on LGBTI+. As member of the LGBTI+ community, Emma is passionate about tackling issues impacting the community, and has always been vocal about this within her role as an MSP.
In June 2022, she led a Members’ Business Debate on LGBTI+ alcohol harm and highlighted the disproportionately harmful impact of alcohol on the community. In August 2022, she chaired a Festival of Politics event on LGBTI+ Elder Care in Scotland, which touched on key challenges faced by those in care and invited discussion on how to better support LGBTI+ people. In the same month, she became one of the first signatories of the Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark and encouraged others to join the inclusivity initiative.
Recently, Emma has been incredibly vocal on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill both during the initial debate and following the UK Government’s use of a Section 35 order to block the bill, speaking out for trans people across the Highlands & Islands and the rest of Scotland.
Candlelit Vigil for Brianna Ghey
2023 February 18
Join us as we mourn the tragic untimely passing of Brianna Ghey, and light a candle for her and all those around the world who continue to face abuse and harm for being themselves.
There will be a microphone available for anyone who wants to speak and share some words.
Saturday 18 February
Falcon Square, Inverness
Candlelit Vigil Honours Transgender Lives Lost
2022 November 29
Highland Pride organised a candlelit vigil in Inverness on Sunday, 20 November to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR). The TDoR is an annual international observance that honours the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost to acts of anti-transgender violence. The service was especially poignant and relevant, as, on the night before, a gunman had attacked an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing 5 (including Daniel Aston, a transgender man who was a bartender at the club) and injuring 25.
The event took place in the beautiful and unique setting of the Circle of Wise in Ness Islands. The weather stayed dry, with around 80 people attending.
The event was hosted by trans activist Joy Ogunyemi Ferguson, and featured four additional guest speakers – including author Olukemi Ogunyemi, musician Julia Gordon, and artist and photographer Evija Laivina. LGBTQ+ activist and MSP for the Highlands & Islands, Emma Roddick, also spoke, touching upon the importance of the reform of the Gender Recognition Act and the continuing struggle for legal recognition in the UK of non-binary as a gender.
After the speeches, candles were lit, and the speakers took it in turns to read out the names of the 380 people lost to transphobic violence in the last year around the world. Of these, 327 were murdered and the rest had committed suicide. Of the 327 murdered, 95% were trans women.
Transgender Day of Remembrance
2022 November 20
Highland Pride will be holding a candlelit vigil for the Transgender Day of Remembrance for those who have lost their lives through transphobia.
The event will be held at 6pm on Sunday the 20th of November 2022 at the Circle of Wise on the Ness Islands in Inverness.
Candles (and cardboard drip protectors) will be provided.
The preferred route is from the carpark by the Crazy Golf/Skateboard Park and across the suspension bridge, then along the Ness Islands to the Circle of Wise (see map image). This route is fully accessible and there will be stewards, in Hi-Vis, along the route.
Please note this is an outside event in November – please dress accordingly.
Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark launched to support inclusive social spaces
2022 July 5
Five LGBTI+ organisations, including Highland Pride, have come together to launch a new initiative to promote and support inclusive spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people across Scotland. The official launch took place on Thursday 30 June during Pride month at Wasps Creative Academy Inverness with over 50 people in attendance from all over the Highlands and beyond.
The Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark was developed with LGBTI+ people and aims to:
- Increase positive LGBTI+ visibility
- Provide information and tools to enable better LGBTI+ inclusion
- Reduce isolation and minority stress for LGBTI+ people
- Create more welcoming places in Scotland
Jessica Taylor from Highland Pride said, “Social and geographical isolation is a prevalent issue for our community in the Highlands– currently there are no dedicated LGBT+ social spaces in a geographical area of nearly 10,000 square miles, and this highlights the need to promote and support inclusive spaces so that people living here, or visiting, know they are welcome in their local café, library, or shop. Joining up with partner organisations to launch the initiative has brought together a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise and we’re very proud to be part of it.”
“We also know that many local organisations and businesses have been supportive of our work, and this gives us the opportunity to give something back to them whilst also benefiting LGBT+ people across Scotland and beyond.”
Kathryn Pierce from Somewhere said, “LGBTI+ people have a right to an authentic life free from shame, harassment and discrimination. Social and business spaces are a huge part of everyday life and they have an important role to play in creating an inclusive society.
“We are delighted to have developed the Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark in partnership with our friends and colleagues across Scotland, which not only creates a new way for LGBTI+ people to feel welcomed and included, but also shows others how to be better allies.
“Alongside Somewhere’s Rainbow Enterprise Network connecting up queer businesses across Scotland, the Mark has the potential to make a much-needed difference to so many”
Equality Network research, and close work with LGBTI+ people, shows that a lack of visibility, positive role models, and representation of LGBTI+ people have a significant negative effect. On the other hand, greater LGBTI+ visibility can have a significant positive effect, both on social attitudes and for LGBTI+ people themselves.
Scott Cuthbertson, Development Manager, Equality Network said, “Social spaces are important for all communities. Knowing social spaces are inclusive can make a real difference for LGBTI+ people who may be isolated or maybe just looking for somewhere they don’t have to pretend to be someone else. We are pleased to be working with partners to [today, this month] launch the Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark to support more LGBTI+ inclusive spaces across Scotland. Visibility can have a big impact on reducing isolation for LGBTI+ people and knowing there are spaces nearby you can go to be yourself or meet others like you is one way we can help make Scotland more inclusive.”
Deejay Bullock, CEO at Four Pillars said “This project is vital for our LGBT+ community members across Scotland, knowing and seeing a space is a safe space reduces fear & anxiety of just being out. Being able to sit in a venue and be comfortable in their own skin, being who they truly are, will have a positive impact on their mental, emotional, physical & sexual health”.
Iain Campbell, Dumfries and Galloway LGBT Plus said “LGBT+ Visibility is paramount, this important project goes some way to enable both social and business locations to visibly show their support for our community. Having a safe space, that we can all go to and be ourselves. Helping to reduce isolation, anxiety, and fear, improving both the mental health and wellbeing of all is vitally important, not just for our own LGBT+ community but all communities across Scotland”
PHOTOGRAPHER CREDIT: Paul Campbell
Photo: Front row (l-r): Jenny Valentine, Highlands and Islands Police; Jess Taylor, Highland Pride; Scott Cuthbertson, Equality Network; Kath Pierce, Somewhere.
Back row (l-r): Rebecca Holt, Eden Court Theatre and Cinema; Dr Iain Morrison, UHI; Graham Munro, Leap Sport Scotland; Thomas Anderson-Thatcher, Somewhere.
Highland Pride 2022 summer event postponed to 2023
2022 April 20
We’re truly gutted to announce that we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone our main pride event to summer 2023, we’re already in talks with High Life Highland to secure the Northern Meeting Park in Inverness and we hope to announce a date soon for your diaries. We know this will be a great disappointment to our LGBT+ community, allies, and wider community who are so fantastic in their continued support.
Behind the scenes we’ve had issues with supplier shortages and COVID-19 continues to have an impact on funding and our volunteers. As much as we wanted to bring you an event this summer, we also need to ensure the health and safety of our attendees and deliver a pride event that we can all be proud of.
We still have plans for a special project we have been working on for the last year to help raise the visibility of LGBT+ inclusive spaces across the Highlands and we hope to reveal more details soon.
If you have recently emailed us about our summer pride event, please bear with us as we reply to everyone. If you are planning any events for Pride month do let us know so that we can help share, please also show your support for our neighbouring pride events:
- Saturday 21 May: Trans Pride Scotland
- Saturday 28 May: Grampian Pride
- Saturday 2 July: Shetland Pride
- Saturday 13 August: Perthshire Pride
- Saturday 3 September: Pride in Moray
- Saturday 10 September: Oban Pride
The Highland Pride team ❤️️
PHOTOGRAPHER CREDITS: Paul Campbell / Alison White
Summer pride event returns after two-year break with £10,000 National Lottery funding
2022 March 14
Highland Pride organisers have announced plans for a summer pride event at the Northern Meeting Park in Inverness on Saturday 11 June 2022 during pride month with funding from The National Lottery Community Fund. A proposed march (subject to approval) will leave¬ from the city centre’s Falcon Square through the streets to the Northern Meeting Park for speeches, live music, food, bar, stalls and more.
Highland Pride Chair Jessica Taylor said “We are over the moon to finally announce the return of our summer pride event after a two year break due to the pandemic. With the help of High Life Highland, we’ve been able to secure the Northern Meeting Park which offers a more central location and allows us to work in partnership with Eden Court next door to extend our event space for workshops and film screenings.”
“We’d love to see our LGBT+ community and allies across the Highlands and Islands, and Moray come together to celebrate with us because we have achieved so much, and love really does win. We also acknowledge there is progress to be made, social injustice is still a reality for many LGBT+ people – both here in the Highlands and across the world.”
“The theme for this year’s event is ‘Rebel Rebel’ inspired by one of Davie Bowie’s most famous songs. Bowie was a popular icon in #LGBT+ culture and led the way for many others to confidently be themselves. We hope that you feel creatively inspired to come as yourself on the day…it’s cool to be different, and if you are, don’t let it limit who you show yourself to be on the outside!”
Follow www.highlandpride.org for updates or if you wish to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also follow Highland Pride on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for updates, or join the mailing list.
PHOTOGRAPHER CREDITS: Paul Campbell / Alison White
Highland Pride 2021 Cancelled
2021 March 10
Highland Pride 2021 has been cancelled, with organisers confirming there is no way Coronavirus restrictions would allow for a large gathering of people this summer.
The event, which was due to take place in June during pride month, will not be going ahead following discussions with event stakeholders. Organisers have said that they are still working on plans to celebrate pride month across the Highlands, and further information will be revealed soon.
Jessica Taylor, Highland Pride Chair, said:
“We are deeply disappointed to cancel Summer Pride 2021, particularly as we know how important representation and visibility of our LGBTQ+ community continues to be in the Highlands. However, there are still too many uncertainties about what Scottish Government restrictions will be in place in June, particularly for large-scale events. We don’t want to disappoint our community by having to restrict numbers or cancel altogether. We still have plans to celebrate pride month across the Highlands and we’ll let our community know more as soon as we can.”
Please follow Highland Pride on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for updates, or join the mailing list.
Follow www.highlandpride.org for updates.
PHOTOGRAPHER CREDITS: Paul Campbell Photography
Highland Pride 2020 Cancelled
2020 March 16
We’re extremely sad to announce today that Highland Pride 2020 will NOT be going ahead this year.
We’ve had confirmation from The Highland Council this morning that the Highland Games Weekend in July (from which we are very fortunate to benefit through using their event infrastructure for free) has also been cancelled, which means it’s not feasible for us to go ahead at this point.
We also need to ensure that we do our bit to stop the spread of COVID-19 by not hosting large-scale events.
We’re absolutely gutted but we look forward to bringing you an even BIGGER and BETTER event in 2021 … so stay safe out there!
Follow www.highlandpride.org for updates.
PHOTOGRAPHER CREDITS: Paul Campbell Photography
Highland Pride Date Announced
2019 December 24
Highland Pride organisers and The Highland Council have announced that one of Scotland’s biggest LGBT+ Pride events will take place in Bught Park on Sunday 19 July 2020.
Formerly known as Proud Ness and recently renamed to reflect the hundreds of supporters who travelled from all over the North of Scotland to take part and show their support this year, the Highland Pride event will feature a march leaving from Inverness city centre followed by an afternoon of speeches, music and performances at Bught Park. The programme for Highland Pride will also include a number of additional events with the Inverness Shinty Sixes Tournament starting at 11:00; the Highland Pride Village opening at 12:00 and the Ruff Ness Dog Show starting at 14:00.
Highland Pride Events Manager and Highland LGBT Forum Committee Member Jessica Taylor said “We are absolutely delighted to have the support to host our summer Pride event during the Highland Games weekend in 2020. We had this amazing opportunity in 2019 resulting in the biggest parade and one of the largest Pride events in Scotland topping both Edinburgh and Glasgow numbers with over 10,000 people in attendance from all over the Highlands and Islands, Moray and further afield! Plans are already underway to deliver another successful day where everyone can get involved and help us celebrate and support our local LGBT+ community with our own unique blend of Highland pride.”
Inverness Events and Festivals Working Group Chair Councillor Graham Ross said “The Inverness Highland Games Weekend is one of the highlights of the summer here in Inverness and we are delighted to support the members of the Highland LGBT Forum, led by Highland Pride Events Manager Jessica Taylor, as they work with numerous community groups to stage an event we can all be proud of.”
Follow www.highlandpride.org for updates.
PHOTOS (LEFT TO RIGHT):
Graham Laughton – Highland Pride
Rosemary Mackinnon – Principal Officer for Equality, Highland Council
Jessica Taylor – Highland Pride
Ciaran Wilson – Highland Pride
Cllr Graham Ross – Chair, Inverness Events and Festivals Working Group
Pride Organisers Announce Name Change And New Winter Programme
2019 October 9
We’d like to announce that we will go forward as Highland Pride in recognition of the LGBT+ community across the Highlands and will kick off 2020 with a new Winter Pride programme during the month of February to coincide with LGBT History Month.
In July this year, Proud Ness was one of the biggest pride events in Scotland, topping both Edinburgh and Glasgow numbers with over 10,000 people in attendance from all over the Highlands and Islands, Moray and further afield. Ambitious plans are now underway for Summer 2020. Highland Pride’s Chair, Jess Taylor, explains the name change:
“We want to ensure that the LGBT+ community and allies who travel from across the Highlands to attend our summer event in 2020 know that this is your event too – it is the ‘pride event for the Highlands’. People can also get involved by organising events in their local communities such as social meet ups, fundraisers, workshops, talks and satellite pride celebrations which we can help to promote under the Highland Pride umbrella in the lead-up and during pride. We hope this will stimulate further social and networking opportunities across the Highlands throughout the year.”
Whilst the summer date is still firmly under wraps for now, Highland Pride are warming up winter with a month of LGBT+ talks, workshops, book readings, film screenings and more during February 2020 to coincide with LGBT History Month. Jess Taylor invites people to get involved:
“We’re a small team, mainly based in Inverness-shire, so we need your help to extend events across the Highlands for Winter Pride which we’ll promote as part of the month-long programme. So, if you have an idea for an ABBA Night in Aviemore, Coffee meet-up in Cromarty, Film night in Fort William, Poetry Night in Portree, Talk in Tain, Under 18’s night in Ullapool, or a Walk in Wick we want to hear from you! Alternatively, if you already have plans at your local library, school or community centre for LGBT History Month please also get in touch.”
If you would like to organise an event; have an idea for one; would like to offer your services, free venue space or something else then please email: email@example.com
For more information on Highland Pride, go to: www.highlandpride.org
PHOTOGRAPHER CREDITS: Alison White Photography & Paul Campbell Photography