On Wednesday, the Scottish Parliament voted 98-15 to move an equal marriage bill forward to a parliamentary committee. If the bill passes out of committee and through its third reading before the full parliament, same-sex couples could begin marrying in Scotland next year. We congratulate Scotland on this important civil rights advance, and we take the opportunity to note some famous queer Scotsmen and Scotswomen.
John Barrowman is a Scottish-American actor-dancer-singer (b. 1967, Glasgow) was raised in Illinois following his family's emigration to the United States. He starred in Miss Saigon, Matador, Rope, Anything Goes, and Hair at London's West End, and is best known to U.S. audiences as Captain Jack in Torchwood. He auditioned for the role of Will in Will & Grace but was rejected for being "not gay enough."
Carol Ann Duffy is poet and playwright (b. 1955, Glasgow) is a professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Britain's poet laureate in May 2009. She is the first woman, the first Scot, and the first openly LGBT person to hold the position.
Christopher Kane (b. 1982, Newarthill) is a Scottish fashion designer whose brand is now part of Kering. He won the Lancôme Colour Award in 2005, and the Harrods Design Award in 2006.
Jackie Kay (b. 1961, Edinburgh) is a poet and writer whose first book of poetry, the partially autobiographical The Adoption Papers, was published in 1991 and won the Saltire Society Scottish First Book Award. Her other award-winning works include Trumpet, based on the life of American jazz musician Billy Tipton, born Dorothy Tipton, who lived as a man for the last fifty years of his life. Kay was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2006.
Alan Cumming is a Scottish-American (b. 1965, Aberfeldy) is an actor of stage and screen was the lead in Bent, played Nightcrawler in a series of X-Men movies, and was the lead in the National Theatre of Scotland's The Bacchae. Cumming also introduces Masterpiece Mystery! for PBS and appears on The Good Wife, for which he has been nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards.
Singer Sheena “Horse” McDonald (b. 1958, Newport on Tay) toured with Tina Turner and charted several singles in Europe. The Scotsman called her "one of Scotland's all-time great vocalists, also possessed of a keen songwriting intelligence."
James VI and James I (b. 1566, Edinburgh, d. 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from 1603 until his death. In 1611 he commissioned the King James Version of the bible, a translation from Latin into English. Though married to Anne of Denmark his true loves were men: his cousin Esme Stuart d'Aubigny, Robert Carr, and Duke of Buckingham George Villiers.
Rhona Cameron (b. 1965, Dundee) is a Scottish comedian. She presented the game show Russian Roulette and the show Gaytime TV. She starred in the sitcom Rhona as a lesbian Scot living alone in London. She appeared in I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! and Celebrity Wife Swap with her partner, Suran Dickson.
Scottish crime writer Val McDermid (b. 1955) is best known for several series of novels featuring her characters Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan, Tony Hill, and Carol Jordan.
John Sessions (b. 1953, Largs) is a Scottish actor and comedian who appeared Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and appeared in the films The Gangs of New York, The Good Shepherd, and TV series Skins.
Ali Smith is a Scottish writer (b. 1962, Inverness). She is a playwright and novelist (Like, Hotel World, The Accidental, Girl Meets Boy, There But For The, Artful) and writes for The Guardian, The Scotsman, and the Times Literary Supplement. Smith was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2007.
David Paisley (b. 1979, Falkirk) is a Scottish actor, especially well known for roles in BBC dramas Holby City, Tinsel Town, and River City. He was in the 2010 horror film Unhappy Birthday, and was voted "Britain's sexiest man" by readers of Gay Times magazine.