The day had finally come to Perth – Pride was here! And what a day it was. Without prior knowledge that this was Perth’s very first Pride, you’d really have had no way of knowing – from start to finish, the day offered a great diversity of experiences and was fabulously organised.
Taking place just outside Horsecross Theatre, walking up you were greeted by a huge, luminous display of balloons, creating a rainbow against grey skies. Various organisations had stalls along the pathway and within Horsecross – including LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall, and Scottish Adoption, amongst many others.
I arrived just in time for Reverend Scott Burton’s bluntly powerful, moving opening speech. “I’m so honoured that the first person you chose to speak today, was a clergyman. This shows the most amazing generosity and graciousness.”
He refused to shy away from the uncomfortable reality that historically and presently, the relationship between the Church and the LGBT+ community in a broad sense has been fraught – “It has been people from the church who have turned up at events like these with signs proclaiming ‘God Hates F**s’”, he said, “And for that I would like to deeply, sincerely apologise.” All in all, his refreshing honesty was well received by the crowd gathered.
There was a good balance of celebratory aspects to the day that provided a space where the LGBT+ community of Perth could take up space - a powerful act in itself – along with more overtly political aspects that provided a reminder of Pride’s origins as a protest.
We had a chance to wander around and soak up the atmosphere after, and shortly the first act of the day took to the centre – the Perth Amateur Operatic Society. Uplifting and a little bit camp in the best way, their performance had many in the crowd singing along in unison, and created a warm, inclusive atmosphere.
Next up was Molly MacDonald, who performed a mixture of covers and self-written songs on her ukulele. A young talent, she interspersed her set with both light-hearted banter, and poignant anecdotes of how she came to embody the label of pansexuality, what pansexuality is, and the deep meaning this holds for her.
Shortly after, DeafLinks from Tayside Hub provided a really lovely rendition of popular songs as performed through British Sign Language – a highlight was their rendition of Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’, where everyone was encouraged to join in and sign along.
After this performance, I took the opportunity to wander around a bit, speak to people, and soak up the atmosphere. There was a good balance of both celebratory aspects to the day that provided an opportunity for the LGBT+ community of Perth to take up space - a powerful act in itself – along with more overtly political aspects that provided a reminder both of Pride’s origins as a protest. Stonewall provided information on their various campaigns, while LGBT Youth Scotland spoke to me about the work that they do, alongside young people in Scotland.
We returned to the main stage to see drag queen Scarlet Skylar Rae perform. In the past, she has said of one of her songs, that, “LGBT+ groups have faced so much over the last few years, and I wanted to create something that both celebrates what has been achieved, while protesting what needs to change”. It was this spirit that guided her performance, crossing through the line between celebration, empowerment, and resilience.
The last performance we caught was Ad-Lib Theatre Arts, whose intoxicatingly energetic, fun, and passionate renditions of songs injected a final boost of energy to the end of the day’s celebrations. Dancing, singing and ad-libbing were all encouraged – it was a party in the street and we were all invited! Confetti exploded at the end and rained down on us all – a fantastic end to a wonderful day.
Perth’s first Pride was brilliantly vibrant, powerful, and engaging and I look forward to seeing Pride grow and evolve in our community for many, many more years to come!
Motorvate Therapies are a social enterprise company with a difference. Founded in 2013 by Susan Doogan – a paediatric occupational therapist,
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