It is 40 years since the Stonewall riots which kickstarted the modern gay human rights movement. In forty years, things have changed a great deal though there is lots to do yet.
I was asked this week if I would go to Edinburgh to speak at Pride Scotia, the annual Scottish Gay Pride march and celebration. Thus it was that at 1230 yesterday I was standing on the top of an open-topped bus alongside some a number of politicians addressing the addressing the assembled crowd through a slightly underpowered microphone system. Along with the politicians I was also asked to carry the banner at the front of the march. As you can probably tell from this photograph, it did rain, just a little, on our parade. However spirits were not dampened. (There are lots more pics being uploaded to Flickr – see here).
Thanks to those Episcopalians who showed up. It is always great to know you have friends in an unpredicatable crowd.
As it was, there was a certain amount of whooping and a-hollering when it was my turn.
Here is what I said:
Good afternoon. My name is Kelvin Holdsworth, I am a priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church. I am a gay man and I am proud to be here.
This afternoon, I’m proud to stand alongside Patrick Harvey and other Scottish Parliamentarians. Together, they have recently made Scotland safer for those of us who are gay. The passing of the hate crimes legislation is a huge milestone. It is great news.
But what I want to say today is that we want more.
The hate crimes legislation means that people will be dealt with more severely if their crimes are motivated by homophobia. That will make Scotland safer for us all. It is great news. But it isn’t enough yet. We must not rest until every street in Scotland is safe for every member of our community. We will not have achieved what we want until every street is a safe place. And we need every workplace to be a safe place for gay people. And we need every school to be a safe place for gay kids and gay teachers. And we need every church and faith community to be a safe place for gay people too. Those are the things that we need to make homophobia unthinkable.
This afternoon, the LGBT Network and the Equality network are urging people to sign a petition to the Scottish Parliament to change the law even more. Before you go today, make sure you sign the petition calling on the Scottish Parliament to allow gay and lesbian couples to get married. It is one of the next steps we are campaigning for.
I want every gay couple to be able to walk down the street holding hands if they want to do so.
And I want every gay couple to be able to walk down the aisle holding hands if they want to too.
We can make that happen. We can get our parliamentarians to change the law.
When you go past the parliament today, make as much noise as you can. Whistle and yell and cheer for all that has been accomplished in making Scotland a better place for LGBT people. And whistle and yell and shout for more. It is time to say, Separate is not Equal. Our relationships are as passionate and loving as anyone else’s. We have the same potential for commitment as anyone else does. We deserve the same rights as anyone else has.
Today you will also see people wearing something new. The white knot. Its a campaigning symbol that people are taking up all over the world in this campaign for equal marriage rights. A simple white ribbon tied in a knot is being worn in America and all over the world. A white knot because we believe that every couple should have the right to tie the knot.
So sign the petition. Make a big noise by the parliament. Wear your White Knot with pride. Thank you for listening. My name is Kelvin Holdsworth from the Scottish Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow. Have a great Pride. Keep safe. And God bless you all.