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Community / Shetland Pride back for third year: ‘It’s such a community event and feeling’

Shetland Pride chairperson Gary Mouat enjoying every minute of it. Photo: Dave Donaldson

SHETLANDERS and folk from further afield turned out in scores for today’s Pride celebrations, despite the damp weather.

Crowds gathered at the Market Cross this morning (Saturday) for the march to Gilbertson Park.

The parade was led again by a float of drag artists and performers, as well as the Bigton Samba Band.

Gus Dow from the band said: “We just love celebrating Pride, it’s really good for Shetland to be really inclusive.

“It’s just a great fun atmosphere – apart from the weather!”

The rain failed to dampen anyone’s spirits though, with folk of all ages joining in – with one group even hailing from New Zealand. Sam Mackay is in the isles with his family.

Happy coincidence – great to be able to represent New Zealand. Photo: Dave Donaldson

“I’ve come with a big family group for a hamefarin,” he said. “My ancestors, quite a few generations ago, originally came from Shetland, so we’re coming back to tour around the island.

“It was a very happy coincidence [that we’re at Pride] actually. I saw that it was on the second day that we were here, and I thought ‘better fly some Pride from the other end of the world.’

“Particularly given how many Shetlanders came out to New Zealand, so it’s great to be able to represent New Zealand here today. It’s a fantastic event and we’re really excited to be involved.”

Others didn’t travel quite so far – Di Hervey, 82, came down from her home in Unst for the event.

“I am grandmother to a number of trans grandkids and other grandkids who are not quite sure what they are yet, but they have the freedom to make up their own minds in their own time,” she said.

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“[My sign] says ‘I love my trans grandkids’ as indeed any grandmother would. It’s really been eye opening for me, of my generation, to walk alongside them on their journey.

“It’s lovely now that they have that freedom to be, in a way that was not possible when I was their age.”

Parade-goers were grateful to get dry at the Gilbertson, fuelling up on tea and cakes from the Skeld Hall team. The Gibby is packed with local stallholders and charities and is open until 5pm tonight.

The Shetland Pride village had to move inside the Gilbertson hall due to the weather. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The celebrations will continue with not just one but two events tonight – the youth party for 14- to 18-year-olds is at the Legion from 7pm and the over-18s event is at the Sound Hall from 8pm. The evening will be a mix of drag, music and burlesque.

Scottish drag artists Ivy and Jo Crawford are making their Shetland debuts.

“We are both first time Shetlanders and first time Shetland Priders and we are having an amazing time,” Ivy told Shetland News. 

“The welcome has been so warm and it’s been really quite touching. I’m super excited for tonight, I will hint that I am giving you some drag classics, some high energy and a couple of outfit changes.

“We can’t wait to see how involved the young people especially are at the show, it’s such a community event and feeling.”

Drag king Jo added: “The locals have been very welcoming and very understanding. I’ve been having a lot of really positive and uplifting conversations with a lot of locals as well.

“I’m very excited about doing the youth event first, giving some Elton John and Adam Lambert there. Then for later on tonight, it will be a medley of different songs that you just have to be there to witness.”

Shetland Pride chairperson Gary Mouat reflected on the day so far.

Di Hervey: ‘I love my trans grandkids’ Photo: Ciara Tait

“We were kind of expecting it to be a little bit wetter, lots of people braved the weather,” he said. “All in all, it’s gone really well.

“Tonight, youth party’s on at the Legion, tickets are still available. There’s three bands and a DJ, then there’s a couple of age-appropriate drag acts as well.

“We’re just really proud to actually put on something for the young ones as well, because there’s not really actually very many music gigs they can go to nowadays.”

Drag artist Lily Minogue has returned to Shetland for the third time and this year she’ll be closing the over-18s show.

“She’s the most famous queen and she loves Shetland, she absolutely loves it,” Gary said. “All the rest of them are new and they’re already saying they want to come back next year… I think we’ve done good.”`

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