'Who stole my heart?' asks Wick teacher
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A Wick High School teacher wonders what happened to the wooden LGBT heart he displayed on Wick's Francis Street for Pride Month.
Teacher Peter Darmady, is a member of St John the Evangelist Episcopal Church on Wick's Moray Street where he displayed LGBT symbols on the railings outside as part the current Pride Month – a month in which all things lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) are celebrated.
"It was put up for Highland Pride Month to challenge the widespread belief that all Christians are homophobes, which is not the case," said Peter.
He says the idea for the display came from other members of the church and started with a Christmas Nativity, followed by an Easter scene and the current one for Pride Month which stretches along the railings on Moray Street and onto Francis Street – or it did until part of the display, a rainbow coloured heart, disappeared a few days ago from Francis Street.
"I had this rainbow coloured heart right here and someone's taken it," said Peter as he pointed to an empty space on the railings.
"We noticed that it had gone on the Friday and maybe someone just took a liking to it and has taken it home. There are a lot of gay people in Wick, so perhaps someone has it on their wall and is cherishing it – that's fine if it's the case actually."
Peter said he hoped it wasn't removed by someone with homophobic intentions. "At the end of the day, we need to be nice to each other and not hate. Love is what it's about. The church should be about love too. There's been so much hate from the church over the years in persecuting black or gay people and it's about time we said no – enough is enough. The church should be for everybody."
Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States and caused ripples throughout the world.
"Our church is a very inclusive church but we just look like any other church from the outside. We have to step up and say we're part of the community. There are a lot of LGBT people in Caithness and we have an active group in Wick High School that has been running for two or three years now."
Peter says he now identifies as bisexual. "In my youth I would have been bi and I'm adopting that now. From what I've been told there was a lot of homophobia at the school back in the 70s and 80s with people getting beaten up. That is just so wrong."