Scotland backs LGBTI organisations and groups

Pink SaltireThe Scottish Government has committed nearly £5 million towards services that support LGBTI organisations since 2011, it has been revealed.

The figures have been released as Edinburgh’s annual Pride attracted thousands of participants marching in support of equal rights and against discrimination.

The level of funding was announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance, following a question lodged by SNP MSP Clare Adamson.

The funding of LGBTI organisations has been an important factor in putting Scotland at the top of the Rainbow Equality Rating for a second consecutive year.

Scotland’s Parliament has also recently been proclaimed as the world’s LGBTI friendly, with five leaders out of the six major parties of the country having come out.

Answering the query Constance said: “Since 2011, the Scottish Government has invested almost £5 million (£4,953,102) in LGBT organisations across Scotland.

“This funding helps to inform policy development on key priority issues for the LGBTI community, promote equality for LGBTI people and address prejudice and discrimination.

“As well as providing frontline services, this funding supports engagement with communities, builds capacity building and helps to support leadership in relation to LGBTI issues across Scotland.”

Welcoming the figures, Clare Adamson MSP said that by “funding these organisations doing great work for our LGBTI community, we can continue this progress and ensure that discrimination is fought at every turn – and that equality is secured.”

She also pledged “to continue to work to make Scotland an even more welcoming and equal country in which to live and work.”

However, previously, campaigners have previously insisted that there is more for the Scottish and UK parliaments to do on LGBTI rights, while cautiously welcoming Scotland’s rating as the best country in Europe for LGBTI equality, human rights and protective legislation.

Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, had previously cautioned about complacency thinking that Scotland has an “enlightened culture”.

He said: “Scotland has an increasing reputation as being a welcoming place. However, we would not claim that Scotland is the most LGBTI- friendly country in Europe, although we do have the most LGBTI-friendly laws.”

He also pointed out that legislative improvements in Scotland have been very recent, and that countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands are widely perceived as being more socially inclusive.

While Dr Jeff Meek of the University of Glasgow, who specialises in LGBTI history and research also cautioned saying: “While Scotland has undoubtedly become a more inclusive nation over the past 35 years, bigotry and homophobia still exist, underlined by recent research undertaken by the Equality Network, Stonewall Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland.”

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