Tributes pour in after founding member of Edinburgh’s Pride movement passed away aged 63

A founding member and pioneer of the Pride Movement in Edinburgh has sadly passed away at the age of 63.

By Caitlyn Dewar
Friday, 25th December 2020, 8:17 am
John Hein was a powerhouse in the Pride movement both in Edinburgh and beyond
John Hein was a powerhouse in the Pride movement both in Edinburgh and beyond

John Hein passed away on the evening of Wednesday December 23, which was not only a devastating loss to his family and friends but to the entire LGBTQI+ community.

Mr Hein, who was born in Kenya, began his work with Gay Scotland in the 1970s as a passionate campaigner for the decriminalisation of homosexuality. which led to his working with the very first Pride team over 25 years ago.

He became the chair of Pride Scotia and has brought the annual Pride march and festival to Edinburgh in June every year since 1995.

In 2014 John, along with a team began the work of establishing Edinburgh’s pride charity, and relaunched Pride Edinburgh. He stepped down as chair shortly after but remained with the team taking up the post of advisor and treasurer, working with him for the rest of his life.

Alongside his work with Pride Edinburgh he also owned Scotsgay Magazine which has over the years documented and shaped the LGBTQI+ landscape of Scotland during the 90’s and into the 00’s. Additionally he was instrumental in the setting of Pride Saltire (East Lothian) and West Lothian Pride.

He devoted much of his time to charity work in Asperger’s, worked in the Student Union movement and was also heavily involved in the Real Ale and CAMRA movement. As well as his selfless work, John was a performer with EGMC and Loud and Proud Choirs.

Brett Herriot, the chair of Pride Edinburgh said: “John Hein was a complex character that was masked by his inherent grumpiness but beneath the surface found the real John, wise, intelligent, compassionate, dedicated, truthful, fun and an incredible capacity to listen and understand. These are the traits I shall miss most.

“To have lost a second member of our team in less than a year is truly heart-breaking and shows the fragility of life, but John’s mantra was, ‘enough with the emotional nonsense and get on with it!’ and we will John, Pride will march on in your name.

“Thank you, John Hein, for all you have given us, yours are the shoulders we stand upon, you made the difference when for so long the answer was always no. Our community and our city shall never forget you.“Farewell our Pride Pioneer… until we meet again.”

Following the announcement on Pride Edinburgh’s Facebook page, tributes flooded in.

Maggie Archibald said: “Sincere Condolences from all at West Lothian Pride, John supported us from the start and we will miss him.”

Conor Murray-Gauld wrote: “There was absolutely no one like him. A very kind soul who hid behind being a grump. I had the pleasure of his company over the last 10 years. A loss to all who knew him.”Judy Syson added: “John was part of the movement that has given us the equalities, rights and freedom we in the LGBTQI community have today. There is still much work to do and John will be remembered as we continue the fight.”

Lee Foy said: “This is utterly heartbreaking this man was a power house and will never be forgotten may he live on and be at peace we love you John may your true colours shine through.”

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