SNP MSP Emma Roddick ‘gutted’ after Shetland Pride speech canceled in favor of older male MP Alistair Carmichael

Emma Roddick, SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands and a queer woman, told The Scotsman she felt “gutted” after her speech at the first Pride in Shetland event was cancelled.

Thousands took part in Shetland’s first Pride festival on Saturday, which drew interest from across the world.

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Yet the 24-year-old MSP has now raised safeguarding concerns for marginalized voices at future Pride events.

Emma Roddick has raised safeguarding concerns after her speech at Shetland Pride was canceled in favor of Alistair Carmichael speaking (Photo: Lisa Feguson). NEWLY ELECTED MSPs ARRIVE FOR THEIR FIRST DAY AT THE SCOTTISH PARLIMENT

Minutes before the MSP was meant to go on stage at Pride in Shetland, an organizer said Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat MP, was going to give a speech instead.

“I was gutted,” Ms Roddick said. “I knew what I was going to say and I had pretty much been planning it since April. I stayed and listened and clapped during Alistair’s speech from him.

“I posted a tweet about it as it was in the Shetland News that I was going to be speaking at the event, so I didn’t want folks to think I hadn’t shown up.”

To make up for the cancellation, Ms Roddick was asked to speak at an evening party on the same day, but her speech amounted to “a few words”.

The MSP said: “It was a very different sort of speech as it was a dance party and there were far fewer people. They brought me on, but after 9pm everyone was drunk and just wanted to dance.”

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Asked if she had concerns male voices were being platformed over women with lived experiences, Ms Roddick said: “I’m very used to, as a young woman, being pushed to the side for male colleagues, but you feel like Pride should be a place where that doesn’t happen.

“It really was an incredible event, but this was quite a shadow cast on it for me. I was so grateful to be asked to do the speech, but it was taken away because a man showed up.

“That’s my community, so if it happens there what hope do I have everywhere else?”

Ms Roddick said female politicians would have “misogyny experiences” like this every day.

The MSP said: “This might look small, but when it happens over and over it’s exhausting.

“Misogyny is still an issue at all levels of society, but politics allows people to climb the ladder for putting down women.”

Shetland Pride has since apologized to Ms Roddick and the MSP said she hopes, in future, organizers will be “more careful”.

Mr Carmichael said he did not know about the mix-up and was not aware Ms Roddick was even present.

The MP for Shetland and Orkney said: “I was asked earlier in the week if I would speak.

“As local MP, I was going to be there any way and I was delighted to accept.

“I have been a supporter of Shetland Pride since the project first started and I thought that the organizers did an outstanding job.

“I would prefer to keep my focus on the event and the hard work of the people who made it happen.”

Shetland Pride has been contacted for comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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