FOR Susan Kelly, there is little doubt over how she feels about being gay in Scotland in 2015.

“I think it is pretty awesome,” she says. “We have got some of the best gay rights of any country.”

Yesterday Kelly, 22, was one of thousands taking part in Scotland’s biggest celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.

The Pride Glasgow event is being held for two days for the first time ever, with up to 4,000 people a day expected to join the festivities at Glasgow Green this weekend.

It is also 20 years since the first ever Pride march was held in Scotland - a period which has seen huge leaps forward in gay equality. Same-sex marriage was introduced this year and Scotland was rated the best in Europe for LGBTI rights in May.

Kelly says she believes there has been a real change in attitudes. Just 15 years ago, in 2000, the notorious Keep the Clause campaign was set up to prevent the repeal of legislation which banned local authorities "intentionally promoting homosexuality".

Kelly said: “There has been that shift so that now if someone doesn’t accept people for the way there are, then everyone takes issue with that. Where if you go back only just 10 years it was the other way around.”

Lewis Gardner, 16, a school pupil from Lanarkshire who is bisexual, was enjoying his first visit to Pride Glasgow. He describes his experience of coming out at school as - “everyone was like, whatever”.

“It is positive now in 2015, you don’t get judged as much and there is not so much hate from the older generation,” he says. “People I know say it has changed big time – they talk about how they used to get beat up.”

The Pride Glasgow event included a parade with floats festooned with rainbow garlands through the city yesterday afternoon, while a ticketed event this weekend at Glasgow Green is hosting a stage with bands including Texas and Union J. There's also a funfair, and RAF recruitment stands and banking stands.

As a sign perhaps of how mainstream the event has become – and also the source of discontent for some in the LGBTI community - cries of “Pride not profits” and “We want communities, not corporations” by some marchers could be heard on the parade.

Representatives from church groups were also among those taking part in the parade – which they admitted many might find surprising.

Manning one of the stalls, Fiona McKenzie, a committee member with the Metropolitan Community Church – a Christian church which is inclusive of all denominations – says: “Sometimes the LGBTI community are a bit puzzled as to why we are here, they have heard people spouting so much rubbish out of the Bible with no context.

“I think there are some misconceptions in the LGBTI community that churches are against them, but our message is everyone is welcome. There does feel like there is a bit of ground-shift in attitudes in churches and society in general.

“LGBTI people are more confident in coming out as who they are in churches and saying we are here too and shouldn’t have to hide.”

Those who have lived through the decades during when gay rights were hard fought for, are mindful of the role events like Pride has had to play in changing the way the nation treats the LGBTI community.

Alba Mooney, 58, a care worker from Glasgow, who has been attending Pride since 1997, points out it is a fun event – but also has a serious purpose.

She adds: “You do hear lots of people saying why is there not a straight pride – but it is not to do with whether you are gay or straight.

“Pride has always been about having the same equal rights as straight people – it is not saying we are better than straight people. We have struggled to get equal rights.”

She says she believes the experience of being gay in Scotland in 2015 has improved since Pride started in the 1990s, but says she believes it does depend on individual experiences.

“You could be walking down the street one day and everything is fine – but another day you could get verbal abuse,” she says. “I am lucky as I haven’t experienced that, but I do know people who have.”

Sitting on the grass in front of the main stage, Brian Jones, 68, a retired school teacher from the north of Scotland says he is still aware of a lot of homophobic bullying in schools.

But he says there has been vast progress made since when he was young and was not able to be openly gay.

“In fact I have only come out really since I have retired,” he said. “With human nature being what it is, I can’t see homophobia disappearing entirely.

“But it’s good to see the youngsters embracing events like this. I think it is my generation who are the stick-in-the-muds.”

Shelagh Connolly, a volunteer manager who has been involved with Pride Glasgow for seven years, says it is not just a party where “everyone gets drunk and falls over”.

“It is as much a protest as well as a party,” she says. “We use this as a launch pad to get our message across.

“Two or three years ago when the marriage equality act was coming out, that was the focus of the main parade. It worked and we have marriage equality now."

She added: “This year we are concentrating on trans-rights and we are hoping it has the same effect.

“A lot of trans people haven’t got the opportunity to change their gender on official documents.

“This means people can be identified as male or female on any official document they hand over but appear the exact opposite, so they have to explain the situation. That is just not right.”