Shetland Islands, off the coast of Scotland, to hold its first ever Pride festival

Shetland Islands

Shetland, a group of islands north of Scotland, will hold its first ever Pride festival in summer 2022.

Founder of Shetland Pride, Kerrie Meyer, wrote on Facebook: “At long last Shetland is planning to host our first Shetland Pride in the summer of 2022.

“Along with 27 other Pride events in Scotland including Orkney, Grampian, Highland, Oban and Bute Prides who host their own Pride celebrations, it was high time Shetland held our own permanent annual Pride march and festival!”

The date has already been confirmed as Saturday 2 July, 2022.

“For two years we had a float at the Shetland carnival but we’ve never had a proper Shetland Pride,” Meyer told the BBC. “At Fife’s first Pride, they thought 300 would turn up – in the end 3,000 people turned up.”

Shetland’s local council is proudly supporting the event, which will be the furthest north Pride event in the UK. Councillor Malcolm Bell said: “Shetland’s an open, inclusive, and tolerant society. This will be quite a spectacle next summer if it goes ahead as planned.

“We’ve flown the rainbow flag for a number of years now – we very much support inclusivity and diversity.”

The event already has a committee behind it, and plans to register as a charity in advance of the event.

This year marks 40 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in Scotland, and 20 years since the age of consent was equalised.

Scotland hosts 27 Pride events annually and has been hailed for it’s progress on LGBT+ equality, becoming the first country in the world to teach LGBT+ issues on its school curriculum in 2018.

More recently, Scotland pardoned all of the men wrongfully convicted under anti-gay laws, and this year passed a landmark hate crime bill that prosecutes people for “stir[ring] up hatred” against LGBT+ people and those with other protected characteristics.

However, the recent Scottish Parliament elections saw campaigns “tainted by homophobia, transphobia and a low point of slurs towards charities which support these communities”, according to campaigner Liam Beattie.