Glasgow & West Scotland

Sturgeon leads Pride march in Glasgow

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Media captionNicola Sturgeon praise for hate crime victim Blair Wilson

Nicola Sturgeon has led Scotland's largest LGBT event in Glasgow.

The SNP leader became the first serving prime or first minister in the UK to lead a Pride event when she opened proceedings at Pride Glasgow.

About 8,000 people were expected at the march from Clyde Place to Kelvingrove Park through the city centre in support of LGBT equality.

The First Minister is not involved in this weekend's visit to Scotland by US President Donald Trump.

Ms Sturgeon, who has been a vocal critic of Mr Trump, was named honorary grand marshal for the event in recognition of her long-standing support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBT) issues.

Wearing a t-shirt with a rainbow-coloured "choose love" logo, she headed up the Glasgow Pride march as it left the city's Clyde Place, alongside Suki Wan, chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament.

She was joined by a cross-party group of MSPs at the start of the parade, including Green co-convener Patrick Harvie, Liberal Democrat Alex Cole-Hamilton, Conservative Jamie Greene and the SNP's Christina McKelvie.

Thousands of people, many carrying rainbow flags or holding placards, marched behind as the parade crossed the river and headed through the city to Kelvingrove Park.

Image caption The crowd listened to speeches at the end of the Pride march

Ahead of the event, she said: "I'm proud that Scotland is considered to be one of the most progressive countries in Europe regarding LGBT equality and Pride Glasgow is a fantastic event that brings communities together and celebrates all that LGBTi people bring to Scottish life.

"As a society we must champion equality and fairness at all times and defend the progress that has been made.

"I am pleased to be named as the first ever honorary grand marshal of Pride Glasgow and I look forward to joining youngSturgeon leads Glasgow's Pride march LGBTi people in the parade to mark Scotland's Year of Young People."

Image caption The first minister spoke at the end of the march

Alastair Smith, chief executive of Pride Glasgow, said: "We're delighted to name First Minister Nicola Sturgeon the first honorary grand marshal of Pride Glasgow in recognition of her longstanding support of LGBTi equality.

"We can't wait to welcome her, and tens of thousands of others, to the Glasgow Pride celebrations this weekend."

Suki Wan added: "It's an honour to have been asked to accompany the first minister to open this year's Pride Glasgow.

"Everyone in Scotland should feel safe and happy; safe to be who they are, and to love who they love. We know that isn't the case for everyone, despite enormous steps which have been taken in recent years.

"That is why Pride is so important. It allows us to celebrate our differences, while uniting us in our commonalities."

Pride parades

As health secretary, Ms Sturgeon led on the initial development of equal marriage in Scotland and she has since said that the day equal marriage passed in the Parliament was one of the proudest moments of her time as an MSP.

As first minister she has pledged to ensure trans equality by reforming Scotland's Gender Recognition Act to bring it up to international best practice.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar have both marched in pride parades recently.

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