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Arts / ‘Gay birds’ project commended in parliament

Images: Gaada

A CHECKLIST highlighting what “gay birds” could be spotted in Shetland has been recognised in the Scottish Parliament.

Local arts organisation Gaada recently published the zine to shine a light on the 40 species of birds found in Shetland which are known to have exhibited homosexual behaviour.

It also comes with a ‘Shetland Gay Bird Club” badge. It can be bought online.

The publication cross references Checklist of the Birds of Shetland with a list of birds known to display homosexual behaviour, which was informed by the 1999 book Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity.

Scottish Greens MSP for the Highlands and Islands Ariane Burgess.

The zine also aims to “create a bit of LGBTQIA+ space around the very traditional Shetland past time of bird watching” while showing that same-sex attraction is not just for humans.

It has now caught the interest of Green Highlands and Islands MSP Ariane Burgess, who has raised a parliamentary motion commending Gaada on the project.

Burgess congratulated the social enterprise on “creating what it sees as a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community on Shetland” and for making a “valuable contribution to Shetland’s vibrant creative arts scene”.

The motion has been supported by Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart as well as eight other members of the parliament.

Gaada said in response that it “hopes that this motion is indicative of wider, genuine interest and action from local and national government toward improving support for LGBT people in Scotland”.

The organisation’s Daniel Clark added: “It is amazing and lovely for Gaada’s work to get this kind of recognition but I am dumbstruck that this modest little pamphlet has prompted a parliamentary motion.

“Growing up queer myself, I am acutely aware of the importance of supportive networks, so I would love to redirect some of this energy and enthusiasm towards the wider network of folk making a massive difference to queer lives in Shetland.”

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