Members of an Aberdeen-based rugby group have celebrated Grampian Pride from their homes due to lockdown restrictions.
The event was cancelled due to Covid-19, but Aberdeen Taexali decided to host its own Pride Week online, building up to the virtually Grampian Pride festival on Saturday.
Organised by head coach, Grant Skene, the LGBT+ club has used its social media and digital platforms to engage, educate and entertain followers and the local community with a range of socially-distant content.
Mr Skene said: “Pride is always a massive calendar celebration for the LGBT+ community and since Four Pillars launched Grampian Pride two years ago, the north-east event has proved hugely popular.
“Taexali, which was formed in late 2018, was really looking forward to marching the parade and talking to the community and allies about our club and how they can get involved.”
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The club’s week-long celebrations has included a series of posts sharing LGBT+ history and milestones. This has included harrowing statistics about the lack of representation in sport and how a club like Taexali would be considered illegal in many countries across the world.
Mr Skene said: “It’s been really interesting to do a lot of research around this and find out how lucky we are to be living in Scotland, but at the same time realise how many people in the world are still not free to be who they are.
“We found out that Aberdeen Taexali would be illegal in 34 countries across the globe under ‘Propaganda Laws’. This is crazy when you think how much we’ve done this week – and throughout the year to promote our club and the community we represent.”
In addition to facts and stats the club has also shared recipes, workouts, Netflix recommendations, hosted video chats and created Pride playlists, as well as share support from other Caledonian Rugby Clubs and even professional rugby league player, Keegan Hirst.
“I contacted Keegan on Instagram to see if he would be interested in sharing a video message and he jumped at the chance,” Mr Skene added.
“Keegan is a real inspiration as the first openly gay rugby league player, and we were thrilled that he sent a message of support. He touched on the fact that Pride represents a collaborative and supportive community, and sport echoes this. Something that is firmly felt across our team.
“Our mission is to help break down some barriers that exist for some people who ordinarily might not get involved in rugby for whatever that reason might be, whether that be sexual orientation, race, gender, age or experience. We want to provide a safe, inclusive and active space in the sport of rugby union.
“Whilst our players are predominantly LGBT+ we also have straight players who are just as much part of the team. Sexual orientation is not a barrier – we welcome anyone regardless of how they might identify.”
Aberdeen Taexali’s Pride Week will come to a conclusion tomorrow when they take part in a live Q&A on Grampian Pride’s Facebook page at noon.