It was a ground-breaking event that broke the mould for how LGBT people across Scotland were viewed and treated.

Now more than 25 years since it launched, the Glasgay! Festival may no longer exist, but its legacy remains.

Launched just 12 years after homosexuality was decriminalised in Scotland, Glasgay was the first of its kind and gave mainly lesbian and gay artists a much-needed platform to showcase their talents.

Later producers expanded the concept to include commissions from LGBT artists including makar Jackie Kay and the late performer Diane Torr.

Legendary film maker John Waters, comedian Alan Carr and actor Sir Ian McKellen were also among the line-up.

Founded with a backdrop of Section 28 legislation – when UK local authorities were banned from publishing material about, or promoting, homosexuality – Glasgay! wasn’t without controversy.

Articles from the time stated that the “arty farty festival for homosexuals” was “beyond a joke” while others decried organisers, saying it was a waste of public money.

Cordelia Ditton, co-founder of Glasgay!, explained: “It was kind of bonkers – so outlandish.

“One of the articles I remember reading literally talked about ‘the twilight world of the homosexual’. I thought ‘you cannot have a paper like this, talking about gay people like that'.

“Due to Section 28 [brought in 1988] a lot of people were very politicised about lesbian and gay rights and how we were seen.

“When I moved to Glasgow in 1990 I was amazed as there was very little visibility. There were certainly things going on below the surface and people doing some amazing work, but it was largely invisible. I found it strange and thought there had to be something we could do.

“I thought it wasn’t fair. We wanted to make the argument that we pay our taxes and we disproportionately contribute to the arts, so it’s about time we had something for, and about, us as well.”

Cordelia teamed up with freelance arts administrator Dominic D’Angelo and put on the first Glasgay! in 1993, with more than 60 events running between October 30 and November 6.

However funding, which was a long-running issue for the event over its 21 years, forced a blackout in 1994 and again in 1996 before the organisers stepped down and a new team took over.

Steven Thomson, producer from 2004 until 2014, said his focus was on not only curating a festival but commissioning artists who were under-represented.

He said: “In 2005 we had got this award from an American travel guide which listed Glasgow as the fourth top gay destination in the world. There were people in the world looking at what we were doing and they thought it was great. There was, however, constant backlash on our own doorstep.

“We still had the camp stereotypes of Julian Clarey mincing about on TV or Gimme Gimme Gimme where there was constant boyfriend issues.

“I recognised I had to change that. I began to talk about the idea that Glasgay! should commission its own work. There was a wealth of female writers out there, particularly Jackie Kay and Louise Welsh, Zoe Strachan and Stef Smith who were just not getting the chance from the mainstream theatres, which were mainly led by English men.”

By 2014, LGBT rights in Scotland had changed drastically since the first festival 21 years earlier.

Section 28 had been repealed, and employment law prohibiting discrimination based on sexuality was introduced in 2003. Civil partnerships for same-sex couples was legalised in 2005, and same-sex marriages were approved in 2014.

The TIE campaign, which has successfully campaigned for LGBT issues to be taught in Scottish schools, was just getting off the ground following the Independence Referendum in September 2014.

However, with austerity cuts, the festival failed to secure long-term funding in 2015 and was forced to close. The event, which burst on to the scene with such controversy in 1993 fizzled away with an uncharacteristic lack of drama.

The decision to keep quiet about what had happened was hard, explained Steven.

He said: “We didn’t really make a big deal of it, but when Creative Scotland changed the whole funding process, we applied to be a regularly funded client as we had been before.

“In 2015 we didn’t get through.

“I had seen many years of people and organisations going down. I witnessed a lot of loss, and the reality is we felt that we could take Creative Scotland to task for this, but we ultimately wouldn’t survive by laundering that in public.”

Steven said he hasn’t “ruled out” bringing the festival back, and will next week launch a retrospective publication featuring photographs and highlights from its 21 years

Organised by Outspoken Arts, the charity which replaced Glasgay organisers Gala Scotland Ltd in 2015, the launch takes place on February 14 at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow.