Edinburgh Pride 2016

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Edinburgh Labour members were some of the thousands of people who gathered in Edinburgh today to mark the 21st Pride festival.

The annual lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) event included a march down the Royal Mile and a tribute to the victims of last month's shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The 2016 festival started a little later than in previous years because of the official opening of the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament by the Queen. Well done to Kez who managed to dash straight from Parliament in time to speak to the crowds waiting patiently on the Royal Mile!

Speaking before the procession headed off Kez said: "I'm here to march with you today in pride and solidarity for those who lost their lives in Orlando who we continue to grieve for today. We march in pride and anger at all those countries around the world where it is still illegal to be gay and we must redouble our efforts every single day to change that.

"And we march in pride and hope for all that we have achieved here in Scotland and across the United Kingdom."

The march wound slowly through the centre of Edinburgh before finishing at the Omni Centre.

Pride Edinburgh started in 1995 and is the first major Pride event north of the border since 49 people were killed in the terror attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12. A minute's silence was held at the start of the march.

We are so pleased and proud to have been able to show solidarity not only with the victims of the Orlando tragedy, but with the LGBT+ people around the world, and to take this opportunity to restate our values of solidarity and equality that we hold in common with the LGBT+ community. 

Thank you to Honor Cohen of LGBT Labour who sent us lots of goodies, and to Lorna Finlayson, who organised Scottish Labour's march and excellent merchandise. A special mention to Kayleigh Quinn, Eva Murray and Katrina Murray who joined us from Glasgow, and to Edinburgh Northern and Leith CLP who were out in force!

Pride Glasgow is on the 20th August and promises to be even bigger than Edinburgh Pride. If you weren't able to make Edinburgh - or if you just want to do it all again - please join our friends in Glasgow. Details are TBC but you can email Edinburgh Organiser Toni on toni_sword@labour.org.uk to sign up.

You can hear Kez talk about her thoughts on the march, the importance of Pride and her hopes for the next generation below. There is also a transcript below. 

Scroll to the bottom to see more pictures of the day!

"This year's Pride march was always going to be big in light of the horrific attacks in Orlando just a few weeks ago, but I wasn't prepared for it to be quite so big!"

"Within minutes of the Queen leaving the Parliament for the Palace, the Royal Mile was awash with drag kings and queens, Edinburgh's gay rugby club and choir. The racing sound of motorbikes and a dance float in amongst thousands of marchers. Gay, straight, curious - all united by one simple emotion - Pride."

"I spoke at the start of the march for the first time and it was a pretty special moment for me having just come out during the election campaign. I told the crowds that I was marching with pride but also with anger, solidarity and hope."

"Anger at the fact that there are still countless countries in the world where it's illegal to be gay. Countries where the crime of being attracted to someone of the same sex is still punishable by death."

"I marched to with a sense of solidarity with the LGBT community in America, deeply scarred by the brutal terrorist attacks in Orlando."

"But I also marched with pride and hope. Proud of the incredible journey Scotland has been on since the row over section 28 (2a) Scotland. That referendum battle over the teaching of homosexuality in schools may be nearly 20 years old now, but it's still all too raw for many."

"Hope for the future, and for what further progress we can achieve in Scotland. We have not one but four party leaders who identify as LGBT, and we can use that power to create an inclusive society. Wherever can be who they are, safely and at peace with the world."

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