Scottish party leaders pledge LGBT push in next Parliament

The leaders of Scotland’s main political parties have pledged to push a strong LGBT agenda in the next Parliament.

Last week, the leaders of the SNP, Labour, Conservative, Green and Liberal Democrat parties sat down to discuss LGBT issues at a special hustings event.

They agreed that the implementation of so-called ‘non-binary gender recognition’ is a top priority, alongside wider LGBT education.


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the hustings event that it was time to review gender identity laws and make sure they are in line with “international best practice”.

A representative of the Scottish Transgender Alliance said this would mean “recognising that some people have a non-binary gender, that is they are neither men nor women”.

A new law could allow people to change their birth certificate, marriage certificate and passport to identify as having a ‘non-binary gender’. All five party leaders agreed that the law should be revised in the next Parliament.

Responding to the move, the Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, David Robertson, warned that destroying the traditional idea of gender will result in “confusion and brokenness amongst our children”.


Despite the introduction of civil partnerships, same-sex marriage and the repealing of Section 28, the party leaders said more has to be done.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said “all of the parties have a shared commitment to act on LGBTI issues”.

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie described the LGBTI lobby as a “joyous, colourful movement” and Nicola Sturgeon said schools need to do more to promote ‘tolerance’.

Kezia Dugdale, head of the Scottish Labour party, said teachers should have more time to “train on these issues” and it was suggested that English classes incorporate materials normalising same-sex relationships.

Gay rights

The leader of the Green Party, Patrick Harvie, was also vocal throughout saying that he was “tired” of gay rights being regarded as a “matter of conscience”.

Ruth Davidson noted that this Scottish election has the “gayest group of candidates” ever.

Both Davidson, Dugdale, and David Coburn – the leader of UKIP Scotland – are homosexual and Patrick Harvie describes himself as bisexual.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics show that only 1.1 per cent of the Scottish population describe themselves as gay lesbian or bisexual.

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