Glasgow · Life

Glasgow Pride

Until last weekend the only Pride event I’d ever attended was in Seoul in 2015. I stumbled across it completely by accident and had a lot of fun drinking a rainbow slushy and listening to a K-Pop band. I’ve meant to go to the events in Edinburgh and Glasgow many times but somehow have never quite managed it.

So when a friend suggested an idea for the parade I immediately started getting excited. My friend, B (a different B to the one who I went for comedy and food with the other week… I’m going to have to find a better way to keep my pals anonymised) had experienced a moment of inspiration.

B suggested that we could have a person in a white lab coat, with a long train leading into a large prism. Then, from the other side of the prism, we could have a rainbow of fabric, with each colour carried by a person in a lab coat of the same colour. Since the pride flag has six colours rather than seven, we’d need seven people in lab coats, plus four people to carry the prism, and probably a bunch of helpers. I agreed to be the person in the purple lab coat.

I loved this idea, the joining of pride with the scientific concepts of light refraction. After all, what is a rainbow, really? It seemed like a brilliant way of celebrating pride and highlighting that LGBT+ scientists really do exist. So “Pride in Science” was born.

 

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Putting together the finishing touches

 

Over the next few weeks, the project grew. B recruited a lot more helpers (which was a good thing because there was a lot to be done) and even persuaded the School of Physics and Astronomy at Glasgow to make a small donation towards costs. Cheap white cotton lab coats were found and we dyed them the appropriate shades before handing them back to B so he could take them fabric shopping to colour match for the fabric we’d need to make the flag coming out of the prism.

 

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The flag

 

People got impressively crafty. A large frame was built for the prism and white fabric was stretched over it. Lots of sewing happened to make the rainbow flag and we even managed to get some signs made. When I arrived on Saturday morning I admit to being a bit worried – white fabric had been chosen for the faces of the prism. I would have chosen something transparent and was a bit concerned that people might not get it. As it turned out, I didn’t need to worry.

We took our place in the parade on Glasgow Green, between Tesco and Barclays (yeah, fair enough, it is pretty corporate these days) and got ready to start. Because it’s Glasgow in August it obviously rained, but it wasn’t too heavy and the weather was warm enough. Plus, the atmosphere was amazing. When a big brass band started up playing YMCA I couldn’t stop myself grinning.

The whole parade took a little under two hours and was mostly totally positive. There were a few small groups of protesters; one protesting the corporatization of the parade, one protesting LGBT rights in general (ugh) and one protesting the police presence. There was a bit of a scuffle between the first group and some people attending the parade, but it looked like it got sorted out quickly. Unfortunately, it sounds like the group protesting the police presence had a really bad time – I didn’t see anything, but there are a few worrying articles around. It’s always massively disappointing when things like this happen.

Mostly though, everyone in our group stayed safe and had a brilliant time. We danced, cheered and laughed all the way around Glasgow and caught a few bags of sweets that Tesco was throwing out. By the end of the parade, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much and my legs were tired from walking. I didn’t have a ticket for the event on the green and looking at the queues I decided not to get one, even though Nicola Sturgeon was going to speak. I’d call it a successful event and I hope we do it again next year. Maybe even bigger and better! Now all I have to do is figure out what to do with a bright purple lab coat until then.

4 thoughts on “Glasgow Pride

    1. There almost certainly are but, since I was in it, I wasn’t in a great place to take snaps. We’ve been promised a collection of photos soon and I’ll share some here when that appears 🙂

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