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Watsonians Pride

Watsonians Pride

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After this weekend's Edinburgh Pride event we take time to sit down with Club Captain Emily Cotterill and talk about what Pride events mean to her.

Edinburgh streets ground to a halt on Saturday as the wildly colourful Pride march made its way through Old Town. The precession began at 12:30 at the Scottish Parliament before moving through Old Town and ending at Edinburgh University Student Association, which is Edinburgh's longest-running annual celebration of the diverse LGBTQI+ community.

Edinburgh Pride can trace its roots back to 1988 and "Lark in the Park". However, it wasn't until the 17th of June 1995 that the first Pride March took to the streets of Edinburgh.

This was Edinburgh Prides 27th year and the 25th event, as the community continues to embrace its history and move forward to a future of equality for all irrespective of sexuality, gender, colour, class or creed.

Within the walls of Myreside, we have our own members of the LGBTQ+ and we wanted to hear their thoughts on how Pride has impacted their lives.

Club Captain Emily Cotterill, or Badger as she's more fondly known, remembers her first Pride event "It was whilst I was at Uni, so around 2005, it was still not an open topic. I went to Brighton and Bournemouth Pride in the same Year; It was actually well before I came out to my parents."

Pride is often the first place where members of the LGBTQ+ community first feel comfortable and badger echo's that feeling "For me, Pride means I can feel comfortable in my own skin. It's about being proud of who you are and not trying to hide aspects of your life just because of who you love."

The impact doesn't end there, Emily continues, "Pride helped me realise that there were a lot more people like me and what I felt wasn't wrong. Being gay wasn't a topic that was really discussed whilst I was young. It was still very much taboo when I was in school and it's something I hid."

Heading to university is often a moment of great freedom for every person, leaving home and finding out who they are without supervision. For any LGBTQ+ person, it's often a place where they can truly be themselves for the first time.

Badger remembers her first Year of University, "I actually spent most of my first year of university worrying more about people thinking I was gay, rather than spending time working out that I was."

That's why Pride has become such a central art of the LBTQ+ calendar as the opportunity to, as Emily describes it, "be open and comfortable with who you are and who you love and celebrate other people's right to love who they wish."

As sports go, rugby is ahead of the curve after high-profile players Gareth Thomas, England sevens player Sam Stanley and all-around legend Nigel Owens came out in public. But while the women's game has always been more supportive, there's still a ways to go in the men's game.

"There is massive support for female players in the rugby community, and many examples of female international players and role models who are part of the LQBTQ+ community. I think a lot more could be done to support guys", believes Emily. "I only know of one male player in my whole network who is openly part of the lgbtq+ community and I think it may be difficult in such close contact sport for guys to be as open." the captain continues.

While the sport can do more to support men Badger sees the efforts being made by teams across the capital “There are some wonderful clubs in Edinburgh such as the Caledonian Thebans who are doing great things in being more open but there is a long way to go.”

So as Edinburgh Pride wrapped up its 25th event, we know there are many things sports teams like Watsonians can do. As clubs go, we will always have an open door and be supportive of a person's journey.