The country’s most senior firefighter will also call on communities to celebrate unity and togetherness when he addresses the sixth West Lothian Pride event on Saturday, July 25.
The big annual celebration which usually sees people take to the streets is being held virtually due to coronavirus restrictions and will be streamed on Facebook, YouTube and Scene Radio from 11am.
Chief Officer Blunden will tell those tuning in to his video message: “I'm delighted to be joining you for this sixth West Lothian pride event.
“I wish I was there with you in person and I'm sure that like me you're all looking forward to next year when we can get together again.
“A massive well done to the West Lothian Pride team. They have pulled out all the stops to keep connected and we need to join together to spread the themes from the LGBTQ+ community of togetherness and unity.”
He will continue: “I'm extremely proud to lead the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, but less than one per cent of our 8000-strong workforce identifies as LGBTQ+ and that’s not good enough.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure that we represent diverse communities across the whole of Scotland - we want to create aculture where people can come to work and be their authentic selves.”
SFRS staff are members of the West Lothian Pride team and also a recognised Stonewall Champion.
Earlier this year the Service launched a recognised employee network scheme giving colleagues from protected characteristics the opportunity to join together. Staff from across the Service also participate in an active LGBTQ+ employee network.
Liz Barnes is the SFRS Director of People and Organisational Development. She said: “We are so pleased to help support this year’s West Lothian Pride event.
“SFRS recognises that things can’t change overnight - what it takes to achieve real equality is consistent hard work and regularly challenging discriminating behaviours.
“We know that there is still much work to be done and we’re determined to do that by working together with our employees, our partners and communities to make sure that we achieve our aim of true diversity.”
She continued: “I’ve no doubt that even in the current climate our communities will come up with creative ways to celebrate pride elsewhere across the country, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with - Pride will march on despite COVID-19!”
Find out more about West Lothian Pride here: http://westlothianpride.org/