Kezia Dugdale: There’s still a long way to go in the march for tolerance

The Pride march on the Royal Mile at the weekend. Picture: Greg Macvean
The Pride march on the Royal Mile at the weekend. Picture: Greg Macvean
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The Royal Mile was filled with all the colours of the rainbow on Saturday as the Pride march took to the streets. If you crossed its path you would have been forgiven for thinking that it was just one big party. In many ways it was, but as much as the annual march is a celebration of all the progress that the LGBT community has made, it also remains a deeply political event.

As recently as the early 90s, men were still arrested and charged for kissing each other in public. Just a month ago, the Scottish Parliament passed the Historic Sexual Offences Act which started with an apology to all the men who had been convicted of crimes which are no longer offences before offering a pardon and a disregard. In other words wiping away the stain of a criminal record.

That’s easily the biggest piece of progress in the past 12 months but there are little signs to worry about complacency. There have been two attacks on the LGBT community in last month alone. The Rock Trust, which receives the proceeds of this column, report that 40 per cent of the young people turning up homeless at their doors do so because they’ve had a negative experience of coming out.

Progress towards a more inclusive education system, which does not just tolerate or accept young gay people but properly includes them is steady but far too slow. So march on we must.