LGBT Youth Activism Gaining a Fast and Progressive Pace across Scotland

Last March, LGBT youth groups across Scotland were a buzz with candidate speeches, election ballots and eager voters as election sessions commenced for youth groups to be given the opportunity to elect their peers to represent both their youth group and their local areas for the LGBT National Youth Council.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) National Youth Council (NYC) is a peer elected network of young people aged 13-25 across Scotland who represent their local youth group or area and are supported by LGBT Youth Scotland.

Young people within LGBT National Youth Council aim to get LGBTI young people’s voices heard in Scotland at all levels by actively becoming involved in their communities and democratic processes at local, national and international levels to help influence and inform key policy decisions that affect their lives.

The youth activists come from across Scotland and meet regularly for training residentials, events and development days to tackle key issues and develop and deliver campaigns.

So far this term, the LGBT National Youth Council have development days and residentials where they have been upskilled in understanding youth activism and what it means to be peer representatives for their areas.

One of their first calls to activism began last May, when they wrote a letter of support to Irish LGBT young people ahead of their national referendum on marriage equality. It was a topic that the young people felt very strongly about as the LGBT National Youth Council had developed their own campaign for marriage equality ME2 in 2011 to raise the profile of what marriage would mean for LGBT young people.
More info here.

The session design, facilitation and presentation skills of the youth activists are also being put into full practice where young people have developed a session on the Sexualisation of LGBT young people to deliver to their peers at the Scottish Young People Create Change event on September 10th at Norton Park in partnership with LGBT Youth Scotland, Shakti Women’s Aid, Edinburgh Rape Crisis and Edinburgh Women’s Aid.

It’s coming to that time of year where they NYC have to decide on the key campaign they will focus and lead on between now and March 2017. NYC activists will be running consultations in their local groups to hear what young people across Scotland feel should be a priority for LGBT young people in Scotland today. The top three suggestions will then go to an online vote and the most favoured topic will then be the one the LGBT NYC will develop as their campaign during their October residential.

Meet some of the elected members of LGBT National Youth Council

• Adam Marini representing the ‘Flavours of Fife’ Youth Group and the Fife area 
• Megan McIntyre representing FK1nclude and the Falkirk area 
• Jack Ross representing Allsorts and the Dundee Area
• Michael Gowan representing Phoenix and the Dumfries and Galloway area. He is also representing LGBT young people across Scotland as one of LGBT Youth Scotland’s MSYPs for Scottish Youth Parliament.
• Ryan Murphy representing ShhOut and the Glasgow area for young people aged 13-18 year olds.
• Sean Muirhead representing Stand Out and the Glasgow area for young people aged 18-25.
• Callen MacKinnon for TYG and the Glasgow area.
• Toni Kerr representing Sound Youth and young people aged 13-17 in the Edinburgh area.
• Christy Logan representing VADA and young people aged between 18-24 in the Edinburgh area.
• Arden Saunders representing Beyond Gender and the Edinburgh area.
• Kaelin Farnish representing Involved youth group and the Scottish Borders area.
• Daniel Mitchell representing Glow and the Perth area.
• James Gardner representing Triangle and the Stirling area.
Courtney Gale representing North Ayrshire Council and the North Ayrshire area.

In addition to the elected members there are a whole bunch of young people who are champions of the NYC who support the elected members in their role and take initiatives in youth activism in their local areas too. 

Some of our supporting champions are; Ash Tucker, Thomas Timmins, Jordan Abernethy Emily Gray, Aaron Shepard, Amber Morris, Lewis Irvine, Reiss Gibney, Charlie Delaney, Anthea Koon, Luke Murphy, Michael Harley, Tiberius Fox, Alex Gardner, River Song, Flo Clark, Nancy Russell, Chris Timmins, Mitchell Frood and Elidh Ashton.