Column: Celebrating Pride Month

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Throughout June, many of us have been celebrating Pride Month. Pride Month is an important time to mark the progress that has been made for LGBTQIA+ equality so far as well as to reflect on all the work that we still have to do.

Certainly, much work has been done already to reduce inequalities across the country. The Scottish Government has a proud record on LGBTQIA+ rights, from the Equal Marriage Act 2014 to inclusive education in schools to the automatic pardon in 2019 for all men with past convictions for same-sex activity. 

The Scottish Government continues to work towards this goal by engaging with its partners in the third sector. Just one example of this is the Equality and Human Rights Fund, which since 2021 has delivered more than £3 million to an array of organisations such as LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall, and LGBT Health and Wellbeing. 

But there is much work still to do. Pride Month serves not only as a time for celebration, but also as a call to action to make sure that more voices from the community and our allies are heard. The concerning increase in hate crimes against the LGBT community in recent years show us all the continued need to break down barriers. Equality and fairness need to remain at the top of the political agenda. Pride is, ultimately, a protest.

In that spirit, I also wish to highlight the local groups within Fife which have worked tirelessly to break down barriers and to increase opportunities for those in the LGBTQIA+ community. Pink Saltire, for instance, which I was pleased to host at my LGBT History Month Parliamentary Reception back in 2019, consistently emphasised the needs of LGBTQIA+ people and went a long way in establishing a support network in Fife throughout its nine years of operation.

Following Pink Saltire sadly closing last year, the mantle has been picked up by the Hive Centre in Kirkcaldy, offering the largest dedicated safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community in the UK and continuing to raise awareness of LGBTQIA+ issues. Closer to home, there is also LGBT Youth Glenrothes, which meets weekly in the Lomond Centre, and the equalities youth groups run by Auchmuty High School.

Of course, Fife Pride will be holding their annual parade in Kirkcaldy this Saturday 29 June from 12.30pm, and you can find further details of the route and timings on their website. As always, it looks set to be an amazing day and I wish everyone a happy Pride Month!

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