LGBT Youth Scotland launches Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People today, drawing on the responses of 684 young people aged 13-25 from across Scotland. This is the largest research of its kind in Scotland and includes new information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people’s experiences of education, hate crime and mental health.
The report highlights that, despite changes in legislation and improved legal protection in Scotland, much needs to be done to improve the day-to-day lives of LGBT young people.
Key findings include:
• Just over a third (35%) of LGBT young people said that they had experienced a hate crime or incident in the past year and less than a third (31%) said they would feel confident about reporting a hate crime to the police.
“[I was] Spat on, hit with glass bottles, punched, kicked, death threats.”
“I get very transphobic messages and snapchats sent to me most days.”
“I’ve been verbally attacked because people have been confused about my gender or why I dress the way I do.”
• 71% of LGBT young people experienced bullying in school on the grounds of being LGBT. This is a rise from 69% in 2012 and 60% in 2007.
• 9% of LGBT young people and 27% of transgender young people left education as result of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in the learning environment.
“Due to the fact I was bullied in high school …I developed depression...and anxiety. My deteriorating mental health meant that I spent a lot of time unable to function.”
“...My academic achievement suffered... [This has] now affected me going on to university and I have instead had to go to college.”
• 84% of LGBT young people, and 96% of transgender young people, indicated that they had experienced mental health problems and associated behaviours
• Half (50%) of LGBT young people and 63% of transgender young people experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviours
The report does highlight some positive changes; however, this is not consistent across the population/sample:
• 81% of LGBT young people said that Scotland is a good place for LGBT young people to live; an increase since 2012.
• However, only 52% of transgender young people thought that Scotland was a good place to live and there has been no movement on this figure in the past 5 years.
• While 70% of LGBT young people living in urban areas feel that their local area is a good place for LGBT young people to live only 39% of their peers in rural areas are likely to agree.
“Areas such as Glasgow are fabby for the LGBT+ community but my local area… is horrible and full of bigots. Lack of education and small mindedness.”
“All in all, Scotland has become very progressive and forward thinking in relation to LGBT youth, there are some areas that could be improved but that is more down to the local areas and schools than the country as a whole.”
The findings of the research will be launched on the first day of LGBT History Month in Scotland at a conference delivered by Children in Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland, An Equal Future? with more than 120 delegates attending from across Scotland.
Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, Fergus McMillan said:
"Our new Life in Scotland report captures a snapshot of what it’s like to be an LGBT young person growing-up in Scotland today. The findings of this year’s report show that some experiences have changed, but not all in a positive direction.
While a high proportion of respondents believe that Scotland is a good place to grow up, there are young people in rural areas that don't share that view. Sadly, transgender young people continue to face significant prejudice and discrimination and experience the highest rates of bullying and hate crime.
The report shows how far we have come but highlights the continued need for attention to the experiences of bullying at school and suicidal feelings amongst LGBT young people."