A church leader has attacked the first gay pride parade being held in the Western Isles as “sad and shameful”.
Hebridean Pride will take place on the streets of Stornoway on October 6 – the same day as a similar event in Inverness, which is the subject of a petition started by a missionary and signed by hundreds of people.
According to the Pride Hebrides Facebook, almost 100 people are planning to go, with more than 300 interested in what will be the most northerly Pride event ever held.
Organisers have urged people to “have a fabulous time and put an end to intolerance in the Hebrides”.
They write: “In tandem with the Highland Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex forum we have decided to organise a ‘Hebridean Pride’ event in Stornoway town centre, these events are supported in a number of towns and villages across the Hebridean and Highland area, concluding in the evening for the grown-ups only Pride night at Era Stornoway. Bring along your flags, facepaints and your musical instruments… let’s have a fabulous time and put an end to intolerance in the Hebrides!”
Stalls will include one by the NHS on sexual health.
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But the Rev. Graeme Craig, Minister of Stornoway Free Church (Continuing), said yesterday: “Whatever form sexual immorality may take, it is nothing to be proud about.
“This event is sad and shameful. It will point people, particularly the young, in a wrong direction when it comes to identity, relationships and sexual fulfilment. It is worrying that those who struggle with these things will be given the wrong advice.
“The sooner society returns to recognising basic biology and promoting faithful, monogamous, heterosexual marriage, the more content people will be. Following our Maker’s instructions is always the wise thing to do.”
One of the march organisers Susanne Erbida said: “It’s a peaceful walk around town celebrating diversity, equality – celebrating we are able to do this on these islands, basically celebrating tolerance, happiness and freedom. You don’t have to be gay to participate – everybody is welcome.”
Aileen Ross wrote on the event’s Facebook: “I am a transgender woman. If your holding an event next year, do post it for people to come to Stornoway.”
Supporters of the Proud Ness event in Inverness are rallying against comments made by a mission worker who described the event as “shameful” and “deeply offensive”.
Donald J Morrison, who lives in the Highland capital and has set up a petition against the event, received an offensive parcel in the post this week – he believes as a result of his stance.