On Saturday (25 June) afternoon, Glasgow was decked in the colours of the rainbow for the first Pride Glasgow in three years due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
But a small group of less than a dozen counter-protesters bearing signs saying homosexuality is a “sin” as they set up camp in George Square.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,” read one sign.
The thousands of Pride-goers – many protesting against the British government’s refusal to ban trans conversion therapy – quickly circled the group. They drowned out the counter-protesters as they carried rainbow flags and kept spirits high.
Among them was Glasgow’s Metropolitan Community Church, an inclusive church founded by and for LGBTQ+ people, that stressed it is “fundamentally opposed” to what the counter-protesters stood for.
It didn’t take long for the religious demonstrators to get the message.
By around 3pm, the picketers took down their signs and walked away from the Pride to a chorus of cheers and whoops by Pride attendees.
The thousands of Pride-goers marched from Glasgow Green to the Broomielaw.
They certainly had their reasons to be there. The British government have torn apart trans rights in recent years, scrapping crucial reforms to gender recognition law and leaving the community behind in its long-sought conversion therapy ban.
Scotland, however, may do things a little differently. Though riddled by delays, drafted legislation from the ruling Scottish National Party proposes that trans Scots should no longer have to receive this diagnosis before changing their legal gender.
This would mean they could more easily obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate and have their identity legally acknowledged. This move comes as part of the country’s ongoing discussions around reforming its gender recognition laws.
The Scottish government is also hoping to go ahead with its own trans-inclusive conversion therapy ban. As much as Boris Johnson’s proposals only apply to England and Wales, Scottish ministers have committed to legislating a ban that includes trans people regardless.
“We don’t fit into your boxes – we make our own,” said Glasgow’s first trans councillor, Elaine Gallagher, at Pride Glasgow.
Speaking to the crowd from atop a double-decker bus awash with rainbows, she said: “That’s why the people and the pundits and paid-for opinions all demand that trans people be eradicated. Starting with the kids that are excluded from sports, toilets, schools and life.”
“Conversion is torture,” she added, “it is child abuse. We don’t condone or practise child abuse no matter what the bigots say – it’s them who do.
“And after the trans people and the rest of the queer alphabet, who’s next? We’ve seen whose next. Women who wear their hair short or stand too tall, or don’t wear clothing a man approves of or, God forbid, want to have their own opinions or govern their own bodies.”