LGBT+ orgs call on SNP FM candidates to continue with commitments to LGBT+ equality

Last week, national LGBTQ+ organisations called on the SNP First Minister candidates, Humza Yousaf, Ash Regan and Kate Forbes to uphold the SNP’s commitments to LGBTQ+ equality.

The organisations involved include Equality Network, Scottish Trans and Stonewall Scotland.

Amongst their demands is commitment to upholding the bill that has banned conversion therapy and the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. 

This would include seeking the revocation of the Section 35 order which allowed Westminster to block the GRR bill.

The groups called on the First Minister candidates to improve mental health services, increase funding for NHS gender identity services and continue the implementation of LGBT+ inclusive education in Scottish schools.

Dr Rebecca Crowther, policy coordinator at Equality Network, spoke on behalf of the organisations. 

She said that Scotland deserves a leader who will continue pushing for equality and human rights in all aspects of life.

Vic Valentine, Manager of Scottish Trans, declared that “while for now this might be a contest about who leads the SNP, ultimately whoever is successful will go on to lead the country within which LGBTQ+ people form a large community.”

The calls from LGBTQ+ organisations come in light of scrutiny of SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes’s views on LGBTQ+ issues.

Recently, Forbes was roundly condemned for declaring that she would have voted against legalising gay marriage “as a matter of conscience,” if she was an elected representative in 2014 when the Bill first went through the Scottish Parliament.

Kate Forbes is a member of the evangelical Free Church of Scotland, and became an MSP in 2016.

When asked about her comments at Wednesday’s SNP leadership hustings, Forbes apologised for any “pain” she had caused and declared that she would not “roll back on any rights.”

Forbes added that in the past few weeks of the campaign she had “learned a lot” and that there were things she could have “phrased or framed better.”

Responding to a question on the topic, Humza Yousaf also reaffirmed his personal commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights.

He said that everyone should be able to “look the First Minister in the eye and have confidence that they will not only protect your rights but will celebrate you and advance your rights where they possibly can.”

In addition to Forbes, Yousaf has also come under criticism for his abstention from a key vote on the Same Sex Marriage Bill in 2014, with accusations that this abstention was on the grounds of his own religion.

Rejecting these claims, Humza Yousaf declared that he would not allow “personal faith to be the basis of legislation.”

Image: “Kate Forbes – Public Finances & Digital Economy Minister” by Scottish Government is licensed under CC BY 2.0