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Clydesdale Bank and LGBT Youth Scotland celebrate LGBT History Month with Panel Event

                                                             

[Photograph from left to right: Paul Skovron (Clydesdale Bank), Francis Lake (Clydesdale Bank), Fergus McMillan (LGBT Youth Scotland), Megan McIntyre (LGBT Youth Scotland), Kezia Dugdale MSP, Nicky Coia (NHS), Fergus Murphy (Clydesdale Bank)]

Ahead of Purple Friday, the last Friday of LGBT History Month in Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland and Clydesdale Bank joined forces to host a panel discussion, with Kezia Dugdale MSP amongst the panellists, exploring what more can be done to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people in Scotland.

The event, which was hosted by Clydesdale Bank’s Product Director, Fergus Murphy, and held in the bank’s headquarters in Glasgow, was attended by more than 100 people, including young people from across the city, charities, supporters and businesses.

Kezia Dugdale MSP and Leader of Scottish Labour gave the key note address at the event. Speaking to attendees Ms Dugdale said:

‘The fight for full legal equality in the UK may now be largely won, but that doesn’t mean we can be complacent.

‘We know that recognition in law can’t be the end of the road – winning over hearts and minds, and changing society’s attitudes is just as important.

‘Our job won’t be done until every LGBTI person – young or older – can live a life free from discrimination, without the fear that they won’t be accepted. Our job won’t be done until every LGBTI person has an expectation of inclusion – that’s what equality means to me.’

'Our job won’t be done until every LGBTI person has an expectation of inclusion – that’s what equality means to me.’

During the event Ms Dugdale called for three demands from Scottish Government:

Ms Dugdale said:

‘Firstly, a strategy for dealing with homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying in our schools, to make sure that all schools are being proactive in dealing with bullying.’

‘Second, all young people, regardless of location, should have access to consistent sex education which considers LGBTI relationships and sexual health. There should not be two tiers of sex and relationship education in our schools.'

‘And finally, as trans young people become more and more visible in our society, they shouldn’t have to wait until they are 18 to be recognised as the gender they live. They should be able to do that at 16, at the same time as they are able to leave school, work, pay taxes and vote.’

Ms Dugdale was then joined by a panel of key experts in health and LGBT inclusion, including Megan McIntyre, a young member of LGBT Youth Scotland.

During the discusion Megan said: ‘young people are change makers now and need to be included in decisions and be at the forefront of change.’

‘young people are change makers now and need to be included in decisions and be at the forefront of change.’

‘We need to push for teachers to have adequate training to offer the right support to LGBTI pupils. And we need to raise awareness of all LGBTI identities and move away from assumptions of gender and sexual orientation.’

With questions from the audience covering a range of areas, the panel celebrated social and political milestones in Scotland’s LGBT heritage and explored what progress is still needed to improve young LGBTI people’s lives, with mental health emerging as a key priority.

Fergus Murphy, Products Director at Clydesdale Bank, said: ‘Clydesdale Bank was thrilled to partner with LGBT Youth Scotland and host this important event to mark Purple Friday. As an organisation, we are committed to inclusion in the workplace and it’s vital that we have a positive, supportive culture where our colleagues can thrive.

'we are committed to inclusion in the workplace and it’s vital that we have a positive, supportive culture where our colleagues can thrive.'

‘The theme of LGBT History Month is ‘Understanding the Past, Celebrating the Present and Creating the Future’ and it was clear from the event that so much encouraging work has taken place but there is still more to do. It’s important that everyone understands the challenges faced by the LGBT community, especially our young people, and our work to raise awareness of these issues will continue.’

Fergus McMillan, LGBT Youth Scotland Chief Executive commented:

‘Scotland is hailed as one of the best country in Europe for LGBTI legal equality (ILGA-Europe, Rainbow Index), yet, changing laws and changing lives don’t always go hand in hand.’  

‘We’re delighted to have joined forces with Clydesdale Bank to host this important and topical discussion during LGBT History Month.’ 

‘The impact of young LGBTI people experiencing prejudice and discrimination can be devastating.’ 

‘Despite Scotland’s positive legislative picture, there is still more to do in changing social attitudes to improve young LGBTI people’s life experiences.’
‘In a survey of LGBT young people from across Scotland, almost 70% said that they had experienced homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying in school. (Life in Scotland, 2012).’

‘The impact of young LGBTI people experiencing prejudice and discrimination can be devastating; with many young people reporting that they experience poor mental health, low confidence and self-esteem, as a direct result.’

‘The event brought people together to reflect on the progress that’s needed to achieve equality for LGBTI people, whilst developing wider understanding of young LGBTI people’s lived experiences.’

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