A former Fife College student is winning thousands of followers for his online series looking at the LGBTI scene in Fife – or, more exactly, the lack of one.
Stuart Russell, moved by the plight of LGBTI people the world over who are tortured and killed for their sexuality and the recent gay nightclub shootings in Orlando, pitched the idea to the BBC Scotland of looking closer to home to see what the community is like in Fife.
The 24-year-old has been appointed a content producer for the BBC’s online platform The Social and his first video – entitled ‘Hey, Fife why no pride?’ – went live last Sunday and within days had attracted more than 10,000 viewers.
“The response surprised even me,” said Stuart, who lives in Glenrothes. “When I was talking about it with the BBC I thought maybe at first it would get maybe a hundred people listening to what I had to say.
“But people are interested – it’s a subject that no one is talking about in Fife. There are LBGTI organisations which do great work but there is no sense of an LGBTI community in Fife.”
Stuart hopes his videos will underline that LGBTI people exist in Fife and deserve a voice but he said his main message was to “celebrate differences and spread love not hate.”
His first film sees him taking to the Lomond Hills with a LGBTI Pride rainbow flag to look out over Fife and, while he declares his pride in being a gay Fifer, he asks why Fife has no gay ‘Pride’.
He says having no open celebration of being LGBTI made people in Fife like him feel invisible, even though they were not.
A Pride event would be one way to increase their visibility and he urged Fifers to unite and organise a march.
Future subjects he plans to look at include the lack of LGBTI nightlife in the Kingdom and a piece on bullying.
It is not Stuart’s first time in the spotlight – in 2014 he was awarded at British Empire Medal for his contribution to voluntary arts in Fife and in 2015 he received a British Citizens Award.
You can see his short films at www.facebook.com/bbcthesocial/videos.