IF you had said thirty years ago that by 2006 Scotland would be one of Europe’s most vibrantly homosexual-friendly countries, you would probably have been looked at with the kind of incredulity normally reserved for the likes of David Icke.
At that time, Scotland’s gay community, like most others in the UK with the exception perhaps of London, was still very much forced to live in the shadows – organising their own discos and evenings in dingy council halls and in their own homes without really being able to break free from the shackles imposed by long-stand- ing prejudice.
Added to that, the regressive legislation of the time meant that sexual activity between males (consensual or not) was against the law and could still be punishable, absurd as it may now sound, with life imprisonment.
Fast forward to the present, however, and this monochrome half-life has been superseded by a climate that is tolerant and welcoming and in possession of every- thing from effective LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) support networks to cultural events and clubs that celebrate sexual diversity while edging away from the once prevalent ghettoised aspects of the ‘scene’ that many homosexuals find divisive, regressive and abhorrent.
This beguiling combination of factors has not only made Scotland an accepting home for our own homosexual communi- ty but a must-visit destination for queers – as many within the community prefer to be known – the world over.