Scotland’s LGBTI Organisations Launch Election Equality Manifesto

Scotland’s LGBTI Organisations Launch Election Equality Manifesto

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Scotland’s national LGBTI equality organisations today (Mon 22nd March) launch their manifesto for LGBTI equality for the next Holyrood Parliament. Alongside partners, they unite in calling on the next Scottish Government to further commit to improving the lives of LGBTI people in Scotland.

Stonewall Scotland, Equality Network, LGBT Youth Scotland and Scottish Trans Alliance are calling for specific actions to end discrimination and barriers that LGBTI people still face. They note that too many LGBTI people experience inadequate health services, hate crime, and the threat of so-called ‘conversion therapy’. The manifesto also highlights areas where trans people face particular disadvantage, including waiting times of years for referral to gender identity services, and barriers to legal recognition of their gender identity.

The manifesto calls for:

  • Gender identity health services that are fit for purpose, ending years-long waiting lists
  • Reform to the Gender Recognition Act to remove barriers to legal recognition of gender identity, and a ban on ‘conversion therapy’
  • Better understanding of LGBTI lives and issues in health and social care, and especially mental health services, to ensure these deliver for all
  • Continued implementation of the LGBTI inclusive education programme agreed by the last Parliament
  • Practical steps to tackle hate crime, homelessness and isolation, especially in rural areas
  • Clear leadership from the Scottish Government on LGBTI equality, here, and in their international relations

 

Jacqueline, a trans woman from Renfrewshire said: “After many years of struggling with dysphoria, and depression as a result, I finally decided to take the step and transition last September. I was more than disappointed to find that I was on a waiting list on which I would not even get a first appointment for at the very least two years. Although (for a number of reasons – family, circumstances, mental health) I waited until later in life to transition, I find that my gender dysphoria has increased and that I could not have continued as I was. I am growing increasingly anxious over this as I feel I have only so many years life left to me to, for the first time, enjoy a real quality of life at last.”

C-Jay Quigley, MSYP for LGBT Youth Scotland said: “I would’ve loved it if I was taught what being LGBTQ+ is in high school and that it’s normal to feel the way I do. If my teachers had felt confident talking about this stuff I would have felt comfortable coming out. I hope LGBT inclusive education is a top priority after the election so no one has to think they are a freak or alone when there are so many people like them.”

Justin Beck, a conversion therapy survivor, said: “Conversion ‘therapy’ is anything but therapeutic. It is enforced repression on people – manipulating them against all their natural instincts, eradicating their self-esteem and mental health in the process. Any legal ban has to include religious and faith-based settings – your ‘right to religion’ is not synonymous with a right to discriminate or enforce a heteronormative default or ‘status quo’.”

Adam, a trans man from Glasgow said: “I arrived in Glasgow in 2010 as a refugee from Egypt where it wasn’t safe for me to be trans. Whilst in the asylum system, I was constantly disbelieved by the Home Office, who made me jump through all kinds of hoops over and over, when all I wanted to do was make a new life in Scotland as who I really am. After fleeing Egypt exactly because my identity was not respected, and I was in danger, I was made to feel this way all over again. The asylum system needs to change to make sure that trans refugees don’t continue to face the persecution we are trying so desperately to leave behind.”

Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “On 6th May, we’re voting for the society we want to live in. Of course, there are issues that divide opinions but during the debates over the next couple of weeks, we must keep LGBTI equality firmly on the agenda. The world has changed considerably since 2016.   If that shows us anything, it is that we can’t take the progress we have made for granted. We need to join our voice with thousands of others over the coming weeks, to press for a Scotland where every LGBTI person is free to be themselves and can thrive at school, at work, at home and in our communities.”

Dr Rebecca Crowther, Policy Coordinator at Equality Network, said: “Scotland used to be a leader in LGBTI equality, it is not anymore, we want Scotland to lead the way again, and to stand up, wholeheartedly, for LGBTI equality in all aspects of Scottish life. Our community is still struggling, poor mental health is rising exponentially, the pandemic has only made this worse, and it’s about time structural inequalities are dealt with once and for all.”

Dr Mhairi Crawford, Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, said: “Covid amplified the challenges experienced by many LGBTI young people with increased discrimination, exclusion and healthcare difficulties. We need candidates with strong voices to reflect the needs of these young people in Holyrood. Going back to the status quo is not an option, LGBTI young people deserve much more.”

Vic Valentine, Scottish Trans Alliance manager, said: “The last few years of sustained media spotlight and political debate on trans people’s lives has left many of us feeling like things are going backwards. Coronavirus has affected us all, but it has plunged trans people’s healthcare into an even deeper crisis – people already expecting to wait two years for a first appointment will now wait even longer. We desperately need the next Scottish Parliament to unite behind the idea that everyone in Scotland deserves to live happy, healthy lives – and to work with us to make this a reality.”

Link to manifesto

https://www.equality-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/LGBTI-Equality-Manifesto-2021-26-Scottish-Parliament.pdf

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Author: Philip

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