Monthly Archives

February 2019

Recounting Edinburgh’s LGBT History

By | Friends of the gardens, General, Ross Fountain, Sponsors


And as LGBT History Month comes to a close, we’re highlighting Edinburgh’s rich history as the backdrop of LGBT inspiration and strength.

Before Pride Marches began in Scotland in the mid-1990s, Edinburgh was home to several events aimed at strengthening the LGBT community in public standing, respect and the law.

Did you know?  The Scottish Homosexual Action Group (SHAG) hosted Lark in the Park in 1988 in the city’s very own Ross Bandstand at West Princes Street Gardens. The festival comprised music, comedy, and other artistic performances in a time of national uncertainty on the standing of Section 28.

Just seven years later, the first large-scale Pride March in Scotland took place on June 17, 1995, in Edinburgh, with an estimated 3,000 citizens marching. Fast-forward to 2018, with Pride March Edinburgh attendance extending to over 5,000 people!

The first ever LGBT history month in Scotland took place in February of 2005, a culmination of events, education, and community strength establishing itself within the UK after years of activism, setting the stage for many advances in years to follow.

LGBT history is Scotland’s history, with the first evidence of transgendered women living in Scotland dating to the early 1800s. Jump over a century into the future to 1957, and the fight to recognise LGBT individuals takes form as the UK government rejects decriminalisation of male homosexuality.

Skip to the 1970s. Scotland’s first ever gay night takes place at the Cobweb Disco in Edinburgh. 1974, Scotland’s first Gay Centre opens at 60 Broughton St, Edinburgh.

Arrive in 1980, when homosexuality is decriminalized for men over the age of 21. 1989, LGBT Youth Scotland is established in Edinburgh, forever providing a home for Scotland’s LGBT community in need.

In the decades following, Edinburgh, and Scotland at large, has seen the repeal of Section 28, the Gender Recognition Act, same-sex civil partnership, Equality Act of 2010, same-sex marriage, and the recognition of non-binary peoples.

LGBT History Month carries on the legacies of these advancements and keeps conversation moving forwards in terms of equality, respect, and acceptance. March on!


Happy Chinese New Year! 10 Amazing Facts about Edinburgh’s Sister City

By | Friends of the gardens, General, Ross Fountain, Sponsors

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year, also known as ‘chunjie’ or the Spring Festival, marks the end of the winter season. After the recent cold weather, we can all look forward to celebrating that! 

Did you know that out of Edinburgh’s ten twin cities, Xi’an, China is the largest? Here are ten facts about our twin city to help you bring in the (Chinese) New Year.

  1. Xi’an is the starting point of the Silk Road, the world-renowned ancient trade route spanning from China all the way to the Mediterranean.
  2. Xi’an has been the capital of 13 Imperial empires under the rule of 70 emperors.  From one capital to another, that’s a lot of emperors. 
  3. Listed as one of four important ancient civilization sites in the world, Xi’an sits next to the likes of Cairo, Rome, and Athens.
  4. The capital of the Shaanxi province, Xi’an is a centre for culture, industry, and education for the central northwest region. But they are possibly known best for their food!
  5. Xi’an is listed as one of China’s most popular tourist destinations and is home to the famous Terracotta Army.
  6. The name Xi’an, as it is written in Chinese, can be translated to ‘Peace in the West’. A beautiful sentiment to share around the world this year of the pig!
  7. Xi’an is one of the few cities in the world that can boast a history of over three millenniums!
  8. Xi’an is home to China’s research and development facilities, national security, and space exploration programme. Not a bad connection to have!
  9. Xi’an is surrounded by a total of 8 rivers, with a landmass of approximately 16,808 km.
  10. Lastly, Xi’an is home to the largest musical fountain in Asia, outside the Xi’an Da Ci’en Temple. Who wouldn’t love a city with a fountain?

Hosting the largest Chinese New Year celebration in Scotland, Edinburgh will be home to the Official Chinese New Year Concert at Usher Hall, the Giant Lanterns of China at the Edinburgh Zoo, and the opening of the East Asia Gallery at the National Museum of Scotland! And if you’re wanting to celebrate with a night out on the town, you can catch some landmark buildings across the capital lit up in red!  

Good luck this year of the pig!