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Recounting Edinburgh’s LGBT History

25th February 2019


And as LGBT History Month comes to a close, we’re highlighting Edinburgh’s rich history as the backdrop of LGBT inspiration and strength.

Before Pride Marches began in Scotland in the mid-1990s, Edinburgh was home to several events aimed at strengthening the LGBT community in public standing, respect and the law.

Did you know?  The Scottish Homosexual Action Group (SHAG) hosted Lark in the Park in 1988 in the city’s very own Ross Bandstand at West Princes Street Gardens. The festival comprised music, comedy, and other artistic performances in a time of national uncertainty on the standing of Section 28.

Just seven years later, the first large-scale Pride March in Scotland took place on June 17, 1995, in Edinburgh, with an estimated 3,000 citizens marching. Fast-forward to 2018, with Pride March Edinburgh attendance extending to over 5,000 people!

The first ever LGBT history month in Scotland took place in February of 2005, a culmination of events, education, and community strength establishing itself within the UK after years of activism, setting the stage for many advances in years to follow.

LGBT history is Scotland’s history, with the first evidence of transgendered women living in Scotland dating to the early 1800s. Jump over a century into the future to 1957, and the fight to recognise LGBT individuals takes form as the UK government rejects decriminalisation of male homosexuality.

Skip to the 1970s. Scotland’s first ever gay night takes place at the Cobweb Disco in Edinburgh. 1974, Scotland’s first Gay Centre opens at 60 Broughton St, Edinburgh.

Arrive in 1980, when homosexuality is decriminalized for men over the age of 21. 1989, LGBT Youth Scotland is established in Edinburgh, forever providing a home for Scotland’s LGBT community in need.

In the decades following, Edinburgh, and Scotland at large, has seen the repeal of Section 28, the Gender Recognition Act, same-sex civil partnership, Equality Act of 2010, same-sex marriage, and the recognition of non-binary peoples.

LGBT History Month carries on the legacies of these advancements and keeps conversation moving forwards in terms of equality, respect, and acceptance. March on!