The Outer Hebrides’ second LGBT Pride event will take place this Saturday in Stornoway amid strong community support.
The inaugural festival attracted criticism from religious figures, including a petition against it, but went ahead in October last year with 400 people taking part.
This time, organisers say they have received ‘amazing’ support from local businesses and organisations.
The event has received £9,500 of lottery funding and support from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Stornoway Trust.
Donations have also come in from the Royal and Crown Hotels, with free printing from a local company.
Point and Sandwick Trust donated £870 from their wind farm income towards costs and the company’s general manager Donald John MacSween said it was happy to help.
He added: “It’s always good to make things more joyful and colourful, but PST recognises the seriousness of the Pride message and fully supports the organisers in their efforts to increase acceptance, diversity and inclusivity in the islands.”
Hebridean Pride chairwoman Susanne Erbida said the atmosphere was ‘completely different’ to last year, and they had received overwhelming support, including positive messages from churches.
She said: “We haven’t encountered a lot of negativity. I was expecting we were going to get nasty messages – but nothing whatsoever.
“One of the main aims is to create more ‘safe spaces’ working with local charities and organisations such as Catch 23, NHS Western Isles and An Lanntair, to establish places where people can be themselves, hold hands with their boyfriend and girlfriend and not feel uncomfortable.”
The event starts with welcome speeches and music at The Hub care park on Willowglen corner from 2pm, followed by the parade starting at 3pm from the golf club road in Lews Castle grounds.
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The parade will have two comperes, Scottish drag queen Scarlet Skylar Rae and Miss Transgender 2018.
Speeches will be made by Scott Cuthbertson, development co-ordinator for the Equality Network, and Miss Transgender 2018 about their experiences.
Road closures have been arranged to allow the parade to go along Bayhead from the Spar roundabout to Perceval Square, where there will be about 25 stalls – from information stands to crafts, foods and make-up, a bouncy castle and live music.
The events at Perceval Square finish at 6pm, when the spotlight transfers to An Lanntair, for tribute act, Crazy Little Thing Called Queen, supported by Some Random Guy.