Gay police to march in Scotland for first time


By Cara Sulieman

GAY POLICE will be marching in their uniform for the first time in Scotland when they join the gay pride march in Edinburgh tomorrow.

Seventy members of the Gay Police Association from around the UK will be taking part after getting permission from their chief constable.

Thousands of people are expected to start their march down the Royal Mile at 1pm after hearing speeches from a number of invited guests.

And the historic decision comes exactly 40 years after the Stonewall riots in New York, where a police crackdown at the Stonewall Inn sparked three nights of battles in the streets of Greenwich Village.

“First time”

The Gay Police Association’s Scottish Co-ordinator, Chief Inspector David Lyle, said: “For a number of years now our members from all over the country have taken part in pride parades in England, but this year will be the first time that we have taken part in one in Scotland.

“With a number of forces, historically chief constables were wary about giving officers permission to march in uniform, but we’re at a stage now where every chief constable in the UK has given permission.

“This will be the first time this has ever taken place in Scotland, so it’s quite a celebratory day for us and I think it marks quite a momentous occasion for people in Scotland – it’s another step on the road toward acceptance of gay people in the police force, and it lets them see that their police service has gay people in it just like every other profession.”

As well the march, there will be health and community fair in the Omni centre, with families encouraged to attend.

“Nice day out”

The Chairman of Pride Scotia, John Hein, said: “It’s just a really nice day out for everybody.

“We’re relieved to be able to find a nice high-profile route, because we thought with the trams it wasn’t going to happen, and I don’t think you can get a much higher profile route than going past the Parliament and the Palace, where I believe the Queen is due to be in residence this weekend – and she’s very welcome to come with her family and join all the other queens on the march.

“It’s an inclusive day, you take what you want out of the day – just turn up.”