nicola sturgeon’s resignation will see lgbt+ equality movement lose a strong ally. will three snp candidates agree to five key pledges – vic valentine
Last updated on October 7th, 2023 at 05:58 am
When Nicola Sturgeon announced her resignation it came as a huge blow to many of us. See what Vic Valentine has to say. Vic Valentine is the manager of Scottish Trance.
Throughout her premiership, she has shown strong leadership not only on LGBT+ equality but also on wider issues of inequality and human rights. As First Minister, she led a Pride march in Scotland, attended some of the first weddings after equal marriage, and supported the Gender Recognition Reform Bill despite controversy.
With hate crimes against LGBT+ people on the rise and anti-trans rallies in the streets, losing such an ally is extremely concerning. As three candidates for First Minister have been announced, my organization and other LGBT+ groups have asked them to reaffirm their commitment to five key areas of LGBT+ equality. Several of these commitments have been made by the SNP-Green government in the SNP 2021 manifesto and Bute House Agreement.
One of the reasons is to “honor the Scottish Government’s commitment to banning conversion practices”, which would protect LGBT+ people from practices that alter or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity. A key part of this would be education and ensuring that everyone in Scotland understands just how deeply damaging conversion practices are to a person’s health and well-being.
Secondly, we requested that they “commit to seeking the revocation of the section 35 order, whether through court action or an agreement with the next UK government”. To challenge the UK Government’s section 35 order, which blocked the Gender Recognition Reform Bill from gaining royal assent, the Scottish Government has until mid-April.
Transgender men and women would have easier and fairer access to their preexisting right to be legally recognized as who they truly are under the bill, which was passed by a large cross-party majority of MSPs. Since we have only a short period to act, it is crucial to commit to removing this obstacle today.
We asked the Scottish Government to uphold its pledge to better the health of LGBT+ people. Research has demonstrated the inequities LGBT+ people face regarding mental health and access to services. It is imperative these issues are tackled, and a variety of initiatives have already been implemented such as work on mental health strategies and gender identity services. We look forward to seeing this progress continue under the new First Minister.
We urged the new FM to “show leadership on improving attitudes towards LGBT+ people”. It is imperative for marginalized communities to receive good leadership on social issues when they face discrimination and stigma. It helps build positive public opinion around issues such as LGBT+ equality but also reassures communities that they have a leader who will act in their best interest, and not abandon them for political gain.
Finally, we requested that the potential First Ministers commit to “continuing work on implementing LGBT-inclusive education”. We know that discrimination and prejudice often result from a lack of understanding of nature’s diversity. Young people in Scotland must learn that they will be accepted and supported for who they are and that they should accept and help others whose lives and families are different than their own.