A SCOTTISH gay pride event is to will for the first time open a new “pride hub” as part of its event programme.

Glasgow’s Pride Mardi Gla plans to return with a bang next week when holding its LGBT+ equality march. On Saturday February 19, the parade will wind its way through the streets of the city centre, with an emphasis on floats.

For the first time, a pride hub will be hosted at the brand-new Strathclyde Student Union as part of a two-day celebration of entertainment, education and tolerance.

The new building, which was opened by former US president Barack Obama as part of his visit to Glasgow for COP26 last year, is one of the largest licensed premises in the UK.

It boasts some of Scotland’s top sound and high-tech digital systems which were a requirement of the presidents team for the United Nations gathering. It will offer the first real opportunity for non-students to see the new venue next weekend.

Scottish Government figures show that in the first year of lockdowns there were 1580 hate crimes against people due to their sexuality and 46 against people who are trans across Scotland.

Glasgow’s Pride Mardi Gla says this demonstrates that even today pride marches are relevant as a main tool for LGBT+ communities to win hearts and minds from the rest of the public.

These figures are thought to have risen even further in the second year of lockdowns in a worrying trend not just in Scotland, but across the UK and western Europe.

Kasey Monroe, head of events at Pride, said: “After a long couple of years where we have all struggled to deal with the pandemic this summer will be the time for Glasgow to let down its hair and party, and I can’t wait to ensure great entertainment and fun this July at the all-new Strathclyde Student Union following the pride march – we are coming out of Covid.”

In 2021 despite tough Covid restrictions, Glasgow held the largest pride march in the UK due to the work of Glasgow City Council, Police Scotland and public health agencies to ensure a Covid-secure event.

There were no Covid diagnosis reported in relation to Glasgow’s Pride last year.

Birmingham hosted the largest pride entertainment event of 2021 and became the only other major UK city to be able to hold a pride march last year.

The LGBT+ communities and supporters of Glasgow and the west have also been invited to attend a special national pride, as part of Edinburgh’s Pride which will mark 25 years of the pride movement in Scotland – on June 25 in Edinburgh.

It will see LGBT+ venues in Glasgow gearing up to deliver a night of fun and frolics as revellers return from the capital following this important national celebration. It is hoped that special rainbow tickets will be available from transport operators to help facilitate the large crowds expected to travel to Edinburgh.

Stuart McPhail, head of processions and volunteering at Pride, said: “This is a fantastic year for our LGBT+ communities, with the Proud Scotland Awards being hosted in Glasgow, the national celebration of Pride in Edinburgh on the June 25 on its 25th anniversary – and of course our pride weekend in Glasgow taking place on the July 16 and 17.”