PRIDE: Today we party, tomorrow we organise

Today I joined thousands of protestors taking part in this year's event set off from the Scottish Parliament to a celebration in Bristow Square. This was my speech to rally them before we set off.

Hello Edinburgh! It’s so good to be here with you. And I bring greetings from Aberdeen and Dundee Prides.

We are here in solidarity. Solidarity that Mark Ashton embodied in his actions in support of striking miners. He recognised the shared struggle of LGBTQIA+ people and miners: the bullying and harassment by police and politicians.

So, today, I ask that you join me in sending a message of solidarity and support to the striking bus drivers in Dundee, and the university lectures who are having their pay deducted for their Action Short Of Strike.

Our struggle is connected and we must stand as one.As we all know, Pride started as a protest.

The anger that underpinned the Stonewall riots and the protests against Section 28 is till with us.

It will always be with us. Until we have a society that treats everyone with dignity and respect regardless of who they are.

There is no shortage of reasons to be angry.

The culture war and the swamp of hatred that fuels it was already festering when we met here a year ago. But in the last 12 months, things have clearly got worse.

That the UK Government considers it appropriate to veto Gender Recognition Reform that was passed overwhelmingly in this place is a disgusting example of how politicians are prepared to use your lives, your futures, as political football.

I was so proud to be the lead for the Scottish Greens as GRR went through – pushing the Scottish Government to go further, to be more radical, to really listen to your voices. I wanted more for young people, for non-binary people, and for the law to better reflect trans people’s wishes. We didn’t get all of that, but that vote in December was quite a moment.

All that hope, all that work, for what a young trans women called an admin change – dashed by bigotry and hate.

And I am very aware that the battle lines are already being drawn for the next fight - ending conversion practices

So today, I pledge to you all here today, that I will do whatever I can to ensure we get a full, comprehensive ban. No ifs, no buts, no loopholes.

But we also know Pride is celebration.

For all the darkness in our politics we must remember that there is much to celebrate, and the vibrant, beautiful protest today is an important part of that celebration.

And we will work to ensure that the hate campaigns in this country to harass women seeking access to sexual health clinics are defeated.

This is a day for us to celebrate the gains of the past, the victories of the present and the equal future we are all building in the face of hate.

So happy pride - today we party.

And then, tomorrow we organise.



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