The LGBTI community is hugely important to Scotland and we are a world-leading country in a number of LGBTI areas
The LGBTI community is hugely important to Scotland and is a valued part of our vibrant culture. You may not know this, but Scotland is a world-leading country in a number of LGBTI areas. Today, we have a buzzing LGBTI scene and, while you’ll be guaranteed our world-famous warm and open welcome everywhere from our castles to our clubs, there are also a massive range of events that cater specifically to the LGBTI scene.
Take our capital city, Edinburgh, which was just recently named as one of the most LGBTI-friendly cities in the entire world! The survey, which was carried out by Nestpick, rated cities across the globe on everything from the dating scene and night life right through to safety and LGBTI rights. Thousands of people engaged with the survey and Edinburgh secured one of the top spots.
It doesn’t stop with Edinburgh: Scotland as a whole is helping lead the way in the fight for LGBTI equality. In both 2015 and 2016, Scotland ranked as the number one country in Europe in ILGA Europe’s ‘Rainbow Index’, which measures LGBTI equality and human rights legislation.
In the 2017 survey, Scotland ranked in second place behind Malta following the implementation of Malta’s trans and intersex inclusive legislation in 2015. The Scottish Government has recently consulted on reforming gender recognition and will shortly be consulting on equality for intersex people. Making progress for trans and intersex people will hopefully see Scotland top the Rainbow Index again.
These impressive accolades would not be possible without our continued commitment to the LGBTI community, and we are doing a number of things to help support and promote LGBTI culture. There are a large number of LGBTI-centric festivals that take place each year in Scotland. From Pride celebrations to film festivals, there is always something happening that celebrates LGBTI culture!
One of our main annual events is LGBTI History Month which is celebrated in February. The festival uses an eclectic range of arts, cultural and educational events, partnering with community groups, schools, universities and local authorities, to celebrate and promote the LGBTI community. The event is funded by the Scottish Government and coordinated by LGBTI Youth Scotland, a voluntary organisation dedicated to helping young LGBTI people in Scotland.
LGBTI rights in Scotland have evolved extensively and we’re incredibly proud to say that we’re now one of the most progressive countries in the world. When it comes to same sex marriage, Scotland led the way in the UK, being the first country to consult on a draft bill. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 4 March 2014, and on 31 December 2014, at 00:01, the first same sex marriage ceremonies took place across Scotland. These joyous occasions were cheered on in the media and in the communities across the country.
Same sex couples were actually able to enter into civil partnerships in Scotland as far back as 2005. The 2014 legislation meant that these couples were able to change the partnerships into marriages if they wanted. Also, since 2009, same sex couples have been granted joint and step adoption status. This allows same sex couples the opportunity to provide a loving family environment for children who need it.
In 2007, the Scottish Government began funding the Scottish Trans Alliance – the first time a transgender rights project had been funded by any national government in Europe. 2014 also saw Scotland become the first country to host a Transgender and Intersex Conference. The conference was designed to bring people together to work and improve transgender and intersex equality from across the UK.
In the summer of 2014, a hub dedicated to human rights and equality in sport – Pride House – was created in Glasgow. Funded by the Scottish Government, it welcomed athletes, officials and fans during the Commonwealth Games. Pride House created a safe space where anyone who visited would be supported, included and where they could view the sporting competitions. A similar venue is also being set up for the upcoming European Championships 2018 in Glasgow.
As for the future, Scotland is committed to finding ways to further support LGBTI communities where possible, helping to lead the way in ensuring a diverse and accepting culture for everyone.