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Community / Isles to host Britain’s most northerly Pride festival in 2022

The Lerwick Town Hall has regularly flown the rainbow flag. This picture was taken in 2019. Photo: SIC

SHETLAND is to hold its first ever Pride festival in the summer of 2022.

Whilst a Shetland LGBTQ float formed part of the Shetland Carnival event in recent years, a dedicated pride event has yet not been held.

Shetland Pride founder Kerrie Meyer said: “It was a chance to do something different and will promote equality and inclusivity for all LGBTQ folk in both Shetland and the rest of the UK.

“It will also be the most northerly Pride in the UK.”

Meyer said the group has already had interest from LGBTQ folk in Europe, the USA and beyond.

Despite writing just two years ago that she was “not at all confident” Shetland could host its own Pride event, Meyer has high hopes for attendance next year.

“At Fife’s first Pride, they thought 300 would turn up – in the end 3,000 people turned up.

“The influx of LGBTQ folk and their supporters to Shetland will be great for the Shetland tourism economy. Folk can also enjoy the beauty of the island”.

Nearly 30 other pride events are held in Scotland, including Orkney. and they celebrate LGBTQ equality.

“Since launching just over a week ago on the 9th of May we already have over 160 members and eleven folk on our committee, but we’ll also need a huge number of volunteers so we need your support,” Meyer added.

“We will also be registering Shetland Pride for SCIO Charity Status and applying for National Lottery funding and applying for other sources of funding.

“We are asking for the support and sponsorship from local businesses on Shetland too”.

Shetland Islands Council convener Malcolm Bell said: “Shetland’s an open, inclusive, and tolerant society.

“This will be quite a spectacle next summer and has our full support.”

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart also welcomed the news. “Pride events across Scotland have gone from strength to strength so it is good to see Shetland joining in,” she said.

“I wish the organisers every success in hosting the Shetland Pride event next year when, hopefully, we’ll be free of Covid restrictions so it can be fully celebrated.”

People can join the Shetland Pride Facebook and help support the event ahead of 2022, while a website will be up and running soon.