Bute became the first Scottish island to host the LGBT festival Pride last weekend, with events held to celebrate the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
The landmark weekend was organised by The Scottish Honky Tonk bar and Rockabilly Diner’s American-born owner Brody Jamieson.
Describing himself as a “straight hillbilly white guy with a wife and two kids”, Brody believes it is important for islanders to welcome the LGBT community. And he was delighted with the reaction to the first ever Bute Pride event.
He said: “There are a lot of lesbian and gay people on the island. I think more than people realise. It’s not some strange sub-culture. There are people in the emergency services, our military services, our neighbours. I have made a lot of friends here on the island that are LGBT.
“Living on a small island can be tough for the LGBT community. In any small community LGBT people can feel alone. They don’t have the luxury of hiding in numbers like you can in a city.
“So to have this event for this island and other islands was very positive and important.
“By bringing Pride here stereotypes were shattered. I think it’s a very positive thing. It was very well received.
“I had four or five people from the LGBT community in tears because they were so happy to have this event here.
“It all comes down to a gay friend of my wife and I. He was discussing his discomfort with where he is in life. That’s where the idea for this started from. I just thought ‘lets let the whole LGBT community know they are welcome here’.”
The Port Inn, Port Bannatyne, joined the Scottish Honky Tonk bar in hosting events over the weekend, with DJs and drag queens entertaining hundreds of people.
Speaking about the festival’s parade through Rothesay on Saturday, Brody added: “The response was great. People were coming off the sides of the street and joining the parade, bringing their children. Lots of people were smiling and waving, it was tremendous.
“We didn’t know what to expect. But we are definitely having a second Bute Pride next year. It’s been a success for Bute, and most importantly for the LGBT community that lives here. For the first year I am very happy with the response and turnout.
“Nobody parties like the LGBT community. They are also very loyal and giving people.”