SHETLAND is to hold its first ever Pride festival in the summer of 2022.

Although LGBT groups have operated on the islands for several years and taken part in the Shetland Carnival, there has never been a dedicated Pride event.

Shetland Pride founder Kerrie Meyer said it was a chance to do something different.

Despite writing just two years ago that she was "not at all confident" Shetland could host its own Pride event, Meyer has high hopes for attendance next year.

"At Fife's first Pride, they thought 300 would turn up – in the end 3000 people turned up," Meyer told the BBC.

Posting on Facebook to announce the event yesterday, Meyer said it was "high time" the islands had their own annual Pride march.

READ MORE: Scottish parties' LGBT pledges reignite hope for the community

Meyer wrote: "At long last Shetland is planning to host our first Shetland Pride in the summer of 2022.

"Along with 27 other Pride events in Scotland including Orkney, Grampian, Highland, Oban and Bute Prides who host their own Pride celebrations, it was high time Shetland held our own permanent annual Pride March and Festival!

"Since launching on May 9 we already have 150 members and ten local folk on our committee, but we'll also need a huge number of volunteers so we need your support. 

"Please join via our Facebook and help support Shetland Pride as we move forward to 2022."

Shetland Islands Council has welcomed the march, telling the BBC that is is due to be "quite a spectacle".

Council convener Malcolm Bell said: "Shetland's an open, inclusive, and tolerant society. This will be quite a spectacle next summer if it goes ahead as planned.

READ MORE: Independent Scottish bookshops celebrate huge social media success

"We've flown the rainbow flag for a number of years now - we very much support inclusivity and diversity."

The first major Pride event in Scotland was held in Edinburgh in 1995. Since then, there has been a consistent rise in the number of events, with 26 happening in 2019 before the pandemic stopped events in 2020. 

Scott Cuthbertson, development manager of the Equality Network, said of the events: "People need to see they're not the only one. Visibility is key to good mental well-being.

"LGBTI people live in every part of Scotland and are part of every community.

"The key thing about being an LGBTI person is that you are someone's brother, sister, next door neighbour."