Words from Neil Parish.


While some of you lucky guys were basking in the German heat this weekend enjoying the National Teams exploits, I was enjoying an altogether different experience back here in Blighty .

This weekend, I was proud(no pun intended) to represent Clach at the Highland Pride Festival in Inverness. But why? Is there something that I'm trying to tell you? Well, no.  

I said from the off, that I didn't want to pay lip service to my role, or to engage in token gestures. I wanted to participate in a way that promoted the Clubs aims of welcoming everyone. Regardless of, well, just about anything.

Now if you know me, then you'll know that it's probably fair to say that I am not your typical 'Man's Man'. But what does that even mean? Us men can be a sensitive bunch can’t we? At times, uniquely complex and shallow, but equally, sometimes deep and frivolous. Is there even such a thing as being a man, or being manly anyway? It’s confusing. Things that used to be acceptable once, are apparently not now. The goalposts are always moving, and we have to adjust accordingly. But we try, and we try to do our best, and often we perhaps try too hard. Sadly this can also often manifest as what’s increasingly known as toxic masculinity. We can all over compensate for our insecurities. We're told to “man up“ or to”grow a pair”. It's rubbish really. Women, too, will have their own issues, of which I only have experience as a spectator. I can only speak from my own perspective.

Now, you won’t find me talking about cars, garage doors or who would win in a fight between a Shark and a Grizzly Bear. In fact, Football is probably the only male stereotype that I adhere to. On the other hand, you won’t find me watching RuPauls Drag race or performing I Will Survive on the Karaoke. Yet.

And this takes us back for the reason for us to participate in Pride in the first place. I’m not the only one who doesn’t fit neatly into a particular box. All of us will, at some point, have thoughts about our own identity, sexuality or gender. There’ll be a whole rake of feelings, thoughts and emotions whirling about, and often these are not going to be helpful. And these are inextricably linked into our own mental health. Any confusion over who or what we are can cause distress, anxiety, depression or even lead to thoughts of suicide.

Through the Club taking part in Pride, we are demonstrating that we are here to support everyone involved with Clachnacuddin in navigating our modern world and our complex inner worlds. To challenge stereotypes and our attitudes to diversity.  

I have already had a couple of people contacting me seeking a bit of support and advice, and I hope that this will encourage others to reach out, have conversations, and acknowledge that you are not alone.  

This week we are meeting up with Mikeysline to discuss how we can complement each other, and ultimately to help you.  

I can be contacted at or via Messenger