Glasgow will be hoaching with queer talent on Saturday 13th June as Pride Scotland heads for Scotland's second city (according to the good folk of Edinburgh) or Scotland's first city (according to the good folk of Glasgow). And Glasgow City Council is to honour Scotland's biggest ever celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender life with a civic reception in the City Chambers on 11th June, with the Freedom Flag flying overhead.
With more and more people planning to give London Pride a miss because of cost (you now have to pay to go to the pop concert on Clapham Common) and general commercially-driven naffness, local Pride Festivals are increasing in popularity and Glasgow should prove no exception. In passing, it's worth noting for those who are going down to London on July 4th for the Pride March, that an impromptu mass gay picnic is likely to spring up at Hyde Park for those who are scunnered with the commercialism of Clapham Common.
The Glasgow march will assemble in Blythswood Square from 11.30am and will be led by Sheboom with the rest of the march assembling behind them. Pride Scotland stewards (red T-shirts) will co-ordinate things and answer any questions. Pride Scotland collectors in yellow T-shirts will be swapping whistles for your donations - £2 would be much appreciated so that Pride Scotland can continue to grow.
The road is flat Tarmac, and there is also a flat pavement. However, there is one fairly steep downward hill at the start on West George Street. Behind the drummers at the front of the march is the access section, for wheelchair users and others, which will set the pace of the march. Stewards can direct you to it. Immediately behind the access section will be a women's section. At the front of the assembly area will be a BSL interpreter in a red T-shirt with green sash.
At the back of the march there will be a wheelchair-access minibus, for the use of anyone who wishes to use it. A BSL interpreter will travel in the minibus. There will also be an access point at Queen Street Station, outside Sadie Frosts.
The march moves off at Noon and should take around an hour (see map for toilets).
Please keep well away from the floats - if you need to get past, use the pavement. The Red Cross will be present. If you need help, wait by the side of the March and ask a Steward.
On the main stage, there will be entertainment from 1-7pm, compered by Karen Dunbar, Hufty and Brendan Nash, featuring Jimmy Somerville, Horse, Carol Laula, Jackie Clune, Lorraine Jordan, Gina le Faux, Kate Copstick, Chloe Poems, Stellar and Queenie.
Glasgow Green is being used to stage two events on the 13th: Pride Scotland and the Tartan Tent for the World Cup. But measures have been designed to make sure that the two events will impinge on each other as little as possible. And there will be a uniformed police presence on site to further enhance arrangements for our personal safety.
At the Pride Festival, there will be stalls offering a wide selection of dead animal and vegetarian comestibles, whilst the Beer Tents will have lots of fizzy beer and soft drinks supplied by Bennets and Sadie Frosts. Due to Glasgow City Council's licensing regulations, drinking alcohol in a public place is prohibited, so the clever people at Pride Scotland have taken a few lessons from Judaism and will be building an Eruv - a fence enclosing the entire festival site which means that anywhere inside isn't public and you can drink away to your liver's content. Except, that is, in the Crêche or out of glass as there is a total glass ban at the Festival.
BSL interpreters will be on the stage and in the Women's Area all day. In an emergency, they can be contacted via the Info tent. An audio cassette and player describing the site will be available from the support tent. Wheelchair accessible toilets are available and a limited number of wheelchairs will be available on free on-site loan from the Info tent.
The Amnesty International Coffee Tent is supported by Café Direct. Pop along for fresh, ground coffee, a selection of teas and other refreshments. Whilst there, browse the information, check out the exhibition, and add your name to the 'get-up, sign-up' wall.
After the unavoidable disappointment last year when the Women's Area had to sacrifice itself for the greater good, Pride Scotland is proud to guarantee the presence of the Women's Area at Glasgow '98, come rain or lots of rain. There will be stalls with info on various Women's issues, and, of course, a bar. With exciting, diverse comedy and music, the area should surpass its success in Edinburgh '95 and Glasgow '96 and the organisers look forward to seeing you.
Given Pride Scotland's policy towards the inclusion of transgender individuals, the Women's Tent will be open to all those who consider themselves to be women regardless of chromosomes, genitalia or other signs of gender identity. There will also be an area immediately outside the tent for women only as well as an area for women and their male friends.
Smirnoff is a major sponsor of the Festival and the Smirnoff Dance Tent will have the very best of Scotland's clubs and DJ's. The party there will begin at 3pm and will run until late. Dancing of a different kind will occur from 1.15 to 2.45pm as Glasgow's line-dancing troupe take over the tent!
The Support Tent will have trained counsellors available all day to give confidential and professional support whilst the Chill-Out Area will be supplying drugs information and advice throughout the day.
The Market Area sees stalls run by groups and businesses from all over the UK keen to provide information and sell you goodies. ScotsGay will be there, so why not take the opportunity to meet the people behind the mag and maybe catch up on any issues you've missed?
To have Pride in ourselves and our communities, we must take care of our minds and bodies. The Health Area this year offers information and services which will help you to do just that. WoSHBAG (West of Scotland Health Boards Action Group), Healthy Gay Scotland and other government, community and business organisations have come together to make the Health Area sexy, fun and informative. So, do pop in for a massage, grab some latex and lube and have a chat with the friendly stall holders. Step outside and visit the Safer Sex Cinema next to the tent as well as the Steve Retson Project's cabin for HIV counselling and information. After you have had the chance to experience the Health Area, please stop by the WoSHBAG stall to fill out a brief questionnaire and win a prize.
There will be an HIV response at this year's event which will consist of one minute of silence followed by Amazing Pride.
Atheists will probably wish to avoid the Spiritual Area which will have representatives and events from various different spiritual communities. During the day, the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) will be blessing relationships regardless of sexuality or gender identification. It is necessary to arrange these in advance - call Stephen on 0141-332 7088 for details.
The ankle-biters are catered for by a limited free Crêche facility for three to eight year olds.
The Info stall will provide information on all on-site happening as well as details of what's going on in Glasgow later in the evening. And you can buy your Pride Scotland T-shirts as well as a range of other merchandise.
As usual, ScotsGay sponsors Pride Scotland's Web Site which can be found at http://www.scotsgay.co.uk/pride/
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