Scotland Can Ensure Equal Rights For LGBTI+ People

Faodaidh Alba còirichean co-ionnan a dhaingneachadh do dhaoine LGBTI+

Scottish Greens believe that Scotland can be a welcoming and safe country for LGBTI+ people. We believe in the right of all people to live free from harassment, discrimination or persecution relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, or any lawful sexual activity between consenting adults.

Scotland can be a safe place for LGBTI+ people to grow, live and thrive by:

  • ending discrimination and tackling hate crime against LGBTI+ people;
  • challenging health and social care inequalities and removing barriers to healthcare for LGBTI+ people;
  • ensuring education in schools is LGBTI+ inclusive and without fear of prejudice or bullying;
  • ensure the gender and sexual orientation of all people is recognised and protected in law.

Green MSPs will ensure that Scotland can meet these challenges by being bolder in enacting new policies for LGBTI+ inclusion, tackling discrimination, harassment and hate crimes affecting LGBTI+ people and enforcing existing duties.

It was campaigning for the scrapping of Section 2A that motivated me to get involved in the Scottish Green Party, and I've always been proud that the Greens have been ahead of the curve on equality. We backed equal marriage long before it became law, created Europe's most trans-inclusive laws against hate crime, and we don't treat homophobia as a special "conscience issue" allowing our MSPs to oppose equality.

Patrick Harvie MSP

Scottish Greens Co-leader

Scotland can challenge barriers to healthcare:

Green MSPs will take every opportunity to strengthen the foundations for good health especially in tackling inequality, discrimination and prejudice. We believe Scotland can be a society where we fight poverty, build communities and support everyone in need throughout life. Inequalities still exist in provision of health and support services to LGBTI+ people. We will seek to ensure all LGBTI+ people have access to the services they need to promote good health and wellbeing for all.

  • Tackling barriers to healthcare. LGBTI+ people, particularly trans people, can face many barriers in access to appropriate healthcare, including specialist advice and treatment as part of transitioning.  Green MSPs will seek to ensure equal access to healthcare for all. We will push for access to Gender Identity Clinics within 18 weeks, in line with NHS standards for other services.  We support review of trans healthcare services to ensure all have access to appropriate, person-centred specialised care.  
  • Good mental health. Mental health has been secondary to physical health for too long and the links between mental health problems and inequality cannot be ignored. LGBTI+ people are a higher risk group for mental health problems, including depression, self-harm and suicide. Green MSPs will fight for equal consideration for mental and physical health across all health and social care sectors and to ensure mental health care for LGBTI+ people that is person-centered and takes into account their specific needs.
  • Banning unethical and unnecessary interventions.  Green MSPs will call for a ban on interventions that seek to alter a person’s sexual characteristics without consent or to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTI+ people. This would include medically unnecessary surgery on intersex minors and so-called “conversion therapy”.
  • Removing restrictions on donations and vaccinations. We would push for a review of blood donation restrictions to remove discriminatory restrictions affecting groups including men who have sex with men, and support extension of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme to young people of all genders.

Scotland can challenge austerity:

Public spending cuts and their effects on funding for services have a disproportionate effect on LGBTI+ people.  They face:

  • Greater financial hardship from redundancies, real term pay cuts and changes to benefits rules;
  • Problems finding accommodation that is safe and LGBTI+- friendly;
  • Reduction in health and mental health services that meet their specific needs;
  • Greater marginalisation as specialist LGBTI+ services and support disappear.

(Unison report, Implications of austerity for LGBT people and services, 2013)

Green MSPs will fight to protect and support funding for healthcare and education services, and to reduce the effects of austerity on social and third sector services for LGBTI+ people.

Scotland can provide a safe place for young people to grow up:

  • Ensuring inclusive education. All schools should provide comprehensive ‘relationship, sexual health and parenthood’ education which is equality-based and LGBTI+ inclusive. This should not only reflect the full spectrum of gender and sexuality but also should be inclusive of sexual consent and signs of abuse. We support the ongoing work of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign.  
  • Resources for teacher training. We will seek to ensure training for all teachers so that they are better educated regarding LGBTI+ issues and can effectively tackle bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  
  • Schools that are safe for all pupils. We will show leadership on inclusive education policies for all pupils and families from primary age, regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. We will ensure comprehensive anti-bullying measures in all schools, with increased training of teachers, including training specific to tackling LGBTI+ related bullying, and allocation of resources to promote this.
  • Access to appropriate facilities and resources. Schools must ensure access to toilet facilities and changing rooms that are appropriate to the gender identity of all pupils, including gender neutral toilet facilities where appropriate. Children should have access to classes and sports kit appropriate to their gender identity. Schools should offer a variety of sports and activities to suit the needs of their pupils.

Scotland can be a safe place for all people to enjoy sports:

Participation in sports offers many benefits to people, including promotion of health and wellbeing and development of social networks.  Many LGBTI+ people enjoy sports but LGBTI+ people can still face widespread ongoing discrimination including transphobia, homophobia, biphobia and discrimination against intersex people in sporting communities.  Green MSPs will fight to tackle this so all LGBTI+ people are safe and welcome to enjoy sports without fear of prejudice or harassment.  

  • Physical education. Greens MSPs will work with local authorities to provide quality sport and physical activity throughout the curriculum. Schools should offer a variety of sports to suit the needs of their pupils and children should also have access to classes and sports kit appropriate to their gender identity.
  • Community sport. Scotland has 13,000 sports clubs, 900,000 members and almost 200,000 people dedicated to volunteering in sport. As well as fun and enjoyment, sports clubs bring great benefits to people and society. Green MSPs support the expansion of LGBTI+ sports organisations and community groups in Scotland.
  • Inclusion in sports. LGBTI+ people face significant discrimination in access to sports facilities and organisations. Green MSPs support measures to address discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in sports and to implement policies of equality and inclusion in mainstream sports.
  • Leadership in Sports. We support the Leadership, Equality and Active Participation in Sports (LEAP Sports) campaign and their efforts to eliminate discrimination against LGBTI+ people in schools and amateur and professional sports.

Scotland can set the standard for equal rights for all in the global community:

Bold, proactive measures are needed to achieve real equality in Scotland. Our Green MSPs will champion full equality before the law for LGBTI+ communities, Green MSPs will continue to push for the devolution of equalities law.

  • Diverse representation. Fair and diverse representation in politics and public life is the only way to ensure decisions taken are for the common good and marginalised groups are not disregarded. We support measures to increase the participation of all underrepresented groups, including use of quotas. We back the One in Five and Women 50:50 campaigns and support representation for non-binary people, trans people and those who face multiple inequalities.
  • LGBTI+ duty. We support comprehensive action to tackle discrimination and inequality in employment and public services. The existing legal duty to deliver effective services directly to the LGBTI+ community must be enforced. Commitment to equality must be a core aspect of policy development and resource allocation, with widespread equality impact assessment and budget analysis to ensure all groups are appropriately supported and protected.
  • Equal access. Too many people face inequality in the labour market, including LGBTI+ people, women, disabled people, unpaid carers and those from minority ethnic groups. Green MSPs will support a Gender Equality in Business scheme to promote gender-sensitive employment practices. We support public spending laws that allow decisions to be based on sustainability, equality, community benefit and local supply

Inequality affecting LGBTI+ people and other groups such as women, disabled people and ethnic minorities is still entrenched in Scotland’s economy, politics and culture and the rate of change is incredibly slow. Many people experience discrimination and harassment, poverty and insecurity relating to their gender identity or sexual orientation. Scottish Greens will continue for fight for equality for all LGBTI+ people. We support reform of gender recognition law to a self-definition process in line with international best practice, removing the psychiatric diagnosis requirement. We support government-led review of services to identify inequalities facing LGBTI+ couples. We support making Civil Partnerships open to all couples.

  • Tackling gender inequality. LGBTI+ people including women, trans people and those of minority gender identities are significantly affected by gender inequality. Green MSPs will seek to ensure the Scottish Government commits to a review of law and policy to take into account all who face gender inequality, including intersex and non-binary people. We support a Gender Equality Bill to drive progress against all forms of gender inequality.
  • Equal recognition for people of all genders. We support reform of gender recognition law to a self-definition process, removing the psychiatric diagnosis requirement. We support legal recognition of those who are neither male nor female, such as appropriate options on legal documents such as passports.
  • Equal rights for all couples. We will call for for legislation to make Civil Partnerships open to all couples. LGBTI+ couples should have equal rights to mixed-gender couples on issues including adoption and parenting, work-related benefits, pension rights and immigration and asylum.  We will call for a government-led review of legislation and services to identify inequalities affecting LGBTI+ couples to ensure these are tackled.

We must tackle violence and hate crime that affects LGBTQI+ people.

  • Tackling violence. Too many LGBTI+ people in Scotland experience violence. We will push for increased support for the vital work undertaken by the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and for a sustainable, long-term funding plan to resource appropriate services, including aid groups and rape crisis centres. We will work to ensure provision of specialised support services for LGBTI+ people who have been subject to domestic or sexual abuse. We will strive to further understand violence or sexual abuse toward and in the LGBTI+ community, against people of any gender.
  • Hate crime. Our Green MSPs will stand firm against hate crime and show leadership on tackling crimes motivated by prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. We will work to improve research, data collection and reporting processes.
  • Intimate partner violence. Access to justice for survivors of gender based and intimate partner violence is undermined by a number of key issues. We will work to establish a right to independent legal representation for people who have experienced domestic abuse and rape and sexual assault; remove means testing for Protective Orders; abolish the not proven verdict in Scottish law for all crimes; and implement medical examination guidelines.

We must speak out on asylum issues.

  • International relations. Virtually every department of the Scottish Government has an international aspect to its work and international relations conducted by regional governments and citizen diplomacy are becoming hugely significant on a wide range of international issues, from climate change to conflict resolution. Green MSPs will push for Scotland to improve quality of life and reduce persecution for LGBTI+ people in other countries through diplomatic means.
  • Asylum. Persecution on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity should be considered a legitimate basis for an asylum application. Detention should never be imposed on those who might suffer additional harm as a result due to factors including gender identity or sexual orientation, age, disability, pregnancy or physical or mental health problems.

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