AS I write my latest column I am watching images across social media and on television of the London Pride March that is taking place.
It is a particularly poignant one this year as they celebrate their 50th anniversary. I am proud to see the obvious support with a sea of rainbows and love evident, with the turnout for a Pride March in London being the largest ever.
More than one million people lined the streets in celebration, and protest of the LGBTQ + community.
Only last week we saw Glasgow’s streets lined with similar celebrations for the first of our two Pride events. I was absolutely gutted not to be there in person for the first time in a number of years due to my Bailie responsibilities on Armed Forces Day.
However, despite all the positive scenes, it is always worth remembering why these parades are so crucial. We cannot deny the huge wins the LGBTQ + communities have had in recent decades, but we’ve still got so much to do. We cannot press the pause button on the fight for equality.
We see that with grim and backwards-thinking decisions in other countries, none more so than the recent overturning of the Roe v Wade abortion verdict in America. That was a wholly depressing decision and one that sickened me.
That is why on Saturday, July 16, I’ll be joining fellow Conservatives as we march in MardiGla to show our support and solidarity with our fellow Glaswegians.
The banter between the different parties is always a highlight of Glasgow Pride, as we all put aside the party politics to join in celebration.
That is why it was incredibly disappointing to see my colleague Councillor Neil Benny heckled off a stage at Edinburgh Pride. To truly win the fight for equality, we must be inclusive to all views, even for Conservatives like myself and Neil.
Our party has made great strides in boosting our LGBTQ + representation, with the leadership of Ruth Davidson; here in Glasgow with the fantastic Annie Wells MSP; the first Cabinet minister to come out as gay as he did in 2016, David Mundell; and Jamie Greene MSP, our justice spokesman who spoke so eloquently at Parliament’s Pink News reception last week.
We know there is much to do and all political parties still have much to do, we only need to look at the likes of John Mason MSP as an example to understand why we must stick together.
I’ve been proud to use my voice to push my own party in the right direction on the big issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. I used my platform at the Pride stage in George Square in 2019 to say trans rights are human rights and justice delayed is justice denied.
I stand by every word of that and fully support reforming the Gender Recognition Act. I won’t be afraid to not toe the line.
I was also one of the first Conservatives to sign a pledge to ban conversion therapy in FULL. Not tinkering around the edges, but banning this abhorrent practice.
So, as Pride Month draws to a close, we look at what’s been achieved but how much further we have to go. I look forward to joining you in person in a few weeks as we walk the streets of Glasgow.