HUNDREDS of people who took part in the latest “Proud Ness” LGBT march brought a feelgood factor to the streets of Inverness. With the event taking place in bright sunshine, there was no denying the carnival atmosphere which surrounded it. Most of those in the parade were young people, in their teens or 20s, but a significant number of older people joined in as well.
A cross-section of local groups and organisations sported banners to make their presence known and support the principles of equality, diversity and support for the “LGBT community”.
The event was preceded by a celebratory build-up which included Inverness Caley Thistle flying a rainbow coloured flag at their home match against Raith Rovers, Highland Council rolling out the red carpet with an enthusiastic greeting, and the Inverness Courier producing a rainbow coloured front page with the headline: Bursting with Pride.
Last year’s march was preceded with an outpouring of bile from an Inverness man who organised a petition against it signed by hundreds of people across the Highlands. This attack on the event was condemned for the sheer nastiness of the words used. At the same time the views of those who signed the petition – despite and notwithstanding the tone of the language which fronted it –were not discounted.
They were fully entitled to register their protests against an event they fundamentally disagreed with. Presumably their views have not changed over the past 12 months. But this time there was no protest petition and they kept their views to themselves.
Whether or not the city really was “bursting with pride” over yesterday’s event is debatable, and probably inconsequential.
There were no cheering crowds lining the streets as the marchers made their way through the city. There were plenty tourists and a smattering of people filming it with cameras but unless they had shopping to do or just fancied a visit to the city centre, the likelihood is most people were either unaware of it or were indifferent towards it.
The more bizarre elements of the “LGBT agenda” – in particular what many see as the straightforward lunacy of a man being able to “self-identify” as a woman, or vice-versa – with no checks and balances and wherever and whenever he or she chooses, remain hugely controversial.
And several months ago there was a ferocious backlash by parents of children at Farr Primary School in Sutherland against council plans to create “intersex toilets” for children.
However, yesterday’s happy-clappy event was devoid of any elements of LGBT extremism, with those who took part wreathed in smiles and simply seeming to want to enjoy themselves, as well as making the unarguably justifiable point about the need for inclusiveness and an end to any form of discrimination.
The Proud Ness marchers had their day in the sun, and Inverness will no doubt quite warmly welcome them to do the same again next year.