The Scottish Parliament election is fast approaching and it’s crucial that LGBT+ people and their allies are counted.
Make your voice heard and ask your candidates to advocate for these five areas of LGBT+ equality.
We’re asking candidates to pledge their support for five key areas of LGBT+ equality. By making your voice heard and asking your candidates to sign the LGBTI Equality Pledge, you can help us make sure that as many MSPs as possible in the next Scottish Parliament are committed to LGBT+ equality.
We’ve also worked with partners across the movement to publish a full manifesto which sets out our priorities for progressing and protecting equality.
1. Gender Identity Services
Unacceptably long waiting lists for trans people accessing gender identity services was a problem before the pandemic, with waits often taking two years for a first appointment. Since then, the situation has become even more critical. Some clinics now forecast 35-40 month waits.
Mason (they/them) is a cultural worker in Glasgow. They told us about losing access to their gender clinic during the pandemic. They said:
‘The redirection of efforts to combat the health crisis has left under-funded parts of NHS services even less able to cope with ongoing stresses of patient demands, and I am certain that the closure and postponement of services such as the gender clinic has contributed to additional and unnecessary pain, anxiety and poor health in my community.’
We know that the period of waiting for a first appointment is a time when trans people are more likely to experience high levels of distress, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. Scotland must take urgent action to address the waiting list crisis and the harm it causes to trans communities. We’re asking for reforms to NHS gender identity services, so they are fit for purpose and meet the needs of trans people, and for these services to be properly funded.
2. LGBT+ Rights
Whilst progress has been made for LGBT+ rights, Scotland has work to do.
We know that trans communities have fought long and hard to achieve the recognition, respect and rights that continue to be threatened. The unfinished business of Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reform must be taken forward in Scotland, so that all trans people are able to access Gender Recognition Certificates without intrusive, and drawn-out processes.
Conversion therapy also continues to cause pain and trauma to LGBT+ communities in Scotland. We are calling on candidates to commit to a full, legislative ban so that all LGBT+ people are protected from this abusive practice.
3. LGBT+ Mental Health
Evidence shows that LGBT+ people are more likely to experience poor mental health than the rest of the population. Yet, unfortunately, LGBT+ people do not always feel safe accessing support due to homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in mental health services.
We’re calling on candidates to help tackle LGBT+ mental health inequalities and wider inequalities in access to health and social care services.
4. LGBT+ Inclusive Education
Scotland has pioneered incredible work on LGBT+ inclusion in schools, but it’s crucial that the implementation of the suite of recommendations on LGBT inclusive education continues, and is fully delivered with the funding it requires.
Effective implementation is vital for LGBT+ generations of the future to be safe and supported. That’s why we’re calling on candidates to support LGBTI young people to flourish in schools through backing the continued implementation of inclusive education.
5. Standing up for all LGBT+ people
We know that the experiences and outcomes of LGBT+ people across the community are not equal. For example, LGBT+ people of colour, disabled people and trans people often face poorer outcomes than the rest of the community. In taking action to improve LGBT+ equality, the specific barriers facing LGBT+ people across our diverse communities must be addressed.
We’re asking candidates to pledge that they will stand up for all LGBTI people, including the most marginalised – LGBTI people of colour, refugees, disabled people, older people, and trans people.
Use your vote and your voice to lift up the key issues for LGBT+ people, including those most marginalised and underserved, you can be part of putting LGBT+ equality on the agenda.
If you need support at the moment, you can find information about LGBT+ inclusive services here.