LGBT people can face discrimination on a daily basis, in the street, in their place of work and sometimes from the services that they use.
LGBT Youth Scotland’s recent survey Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People found that 69% of respondents had experienced homophobic or biphobic bullying at school, 25% at college and 14% at university. Transgender young people faced an even tougher time, with 77% of respondents experiencing homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying in school, 69% in college and 38% at university. The past twenty years has seen significant legal change for the LGBT community in the UK to almost full legal equality. That includes the recognition of same-sex civil partnerships, gender recognition for transsexual people, hate crime legislation and same-sex couple adoption. Social attitudes have improved with 27% of people in Scotland believing that same sex relationships are always or mostly wrong in 2010; compared with 48% in 2002.
However, social attitudes towards transgender people remain some of the most negative with 49% of people in Scotland saying that they would be unhappy about a family member forming a relationship with someone who has transitioned gender.
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights.’ Similarly Article 2 of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states that ‘children’s rights should be respected and ensured without discrimination of any kind’. However discrimination and prejudice towards LGBT people combined with a general lack of knowledge about LGBT issues still exists. This often results in LGBT people being excluded and isolated in communities and a society which can be intolerant and judgemental.
The LGBT Charter, developed by LGBT Youth Scotland, is a straightforward programme that enables organisations or schools to proactively include LGBTI people in every aspect of their work, protecting their staff and providing a high quality service to their customers, students or service users.
The Charter Rights
- Express themselves in their own way and forge their own identity
- We will support LGBT people coming out and their individuality will be respected
- We recognise that sexual orientation/gender identity are only one part of an LGBT person’s life, we will challenge negative stereotypes and strive to promote a positive image of LGBT people within our organisation
- We will value LGBT people as equal citizens of Scotland, putting policies in place where appropriate to support their equality.
BE KEPT FROM HARM
- We believe that people have the right to be protected from violence and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime including bullying, physical attacks and domestic abuse
- We will put procedures in place to make sure that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic violence and intimidation are not tolerated within our organisation.
- We will find ways to ensure that LGBT people’s voices can be heard within our organisation
- LGBT people’s views are important to us and will be respected and valued
- We will listen to the needs of LGBT people and will create opportunities which are relevant to them
- We believe that LGBT people should be given the best healthcare possible and we will train our staff to be aware of their needs
- We believe that LGBT people are entitled to equal access in healthcare including the rights of gay and bisexual men to give blood, and the rights of lesbian women (and pre-op transgender men) to have smear tests
- We recognise that homophobia and heterosexism can seriously damage the health of LGBT people.
BE LOOKED AFTER
- We believe that LGBT people are entitled to the best possible care and good standard of living
- We will support LGBT young people to live with their parents where this is beneficial to their health and wellbeing and we will support them to have their say in the care that is given to them.
- We will celebrate and support LGBT relationships, provided that they are free from abuse
- We will support LGBT (young) people to decide their own friendships and spend time around people they feel comfortable with, in an environment they feel comfortable in.
- We believe that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is their own business and we will not share this information to third parties without prior consent.
SUPPORT BY THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT AND WESTMINSTER
- We believe that the government has a duty to ensure that LGBT people can access all of their rights
- The law should protect LGBT people and ensure that they are treated equally in society
- We will stand up for LGBT rights and will speak out when appropriate against any law which unfairly
- discriminates against the LGBT community.
- We believe that places of learning should recognise and value diversity and support both staff and students/pupils to come out
- LGBT (young) people should be able to easily access information and an education which develops their personality, knowledge and abilities
- We will strive to be an organisation which allows LGBT people to learn in a safe and supportive environment.