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Urgent Action: Chechnya – Contact your councillor

Do you live in Glasgow, Perth or Coatbridge?

Glasgow is twinned with the city of Rostov-on-Don, Perth with Pskov and Coatbridge with Gatchina, all towns and cities in Russia.

Through twinning partnerships towns and cities can share knowledge and participate in cultural changes. With the current ongoing situation in Chechnya these links could prove a way to influence the government in Russia to halt the state-sponsored homophobia in Chechnya. With the situation reported by the Russian LGBT Network so grave all channels of communications we have could play thier part in influencing activities in Chechnya.

We’re asking you to contact your councillor. Tell them about the situation in Chechnya and urge them to send a message to their twin council asking them to pressure the Russian Government and Chechen authorities. Pressure from within Russia could have far more impact than international pressure which has so far been resisted.

If you live in Glasgow you can find out who your councillor is and how to contact them here.

If you live in Perth/Perth & Kinross you can find out who your councillor is and how to contact them here.

If you live in Coatbridge/North Lanarkshire you can find out who your councillor is and how to contact them here.

Please be polite, you can find out more on the situation in Chechnya and what we are calling for here.






How A Deeply Personal Act Changed a Country

For some of us it was a big thing, we worried about it, planned it for months, toiled over how we would do it and how it would impact our lives. For most today it’s a positive experience, for many it’s a non-event and for too many it’s a negative experience that can have far reaching long term consequences to relationships.

I did it yesterday in the gym, it wasn’t the first time I’ve done it and it won’t be the last. I have to do it when I change job, meet new friends or when accessing healthcare or some services.

I come out. I tell people I am gay.

It’s not an experience unique to me, it’s something that every LGBTI person has done, or thought about doing. Telling others about out sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics.

As today is National Coming Out Day, lots of people are sharing their stories of coming out. Whether a positive story or a negative one, the deeply personal act of revealing to people something that may make us seem different, its one which has changed a nation.

Last Friday the results of the 2015 Scottish Social attitudes survey1 were published. The survey is commissioned by the Scottish Government and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and carried out by the Scottish Centre for Social Research. What it revealed was fascinating.

The proportion of people in Scotland who think that same-sex sexual relationships are always or mostly wrong fell to 18%, from 48% in 2000. The figure is the lowest it has ever been, a fall of 30% in 15 years.

The proportion of people in Scotland who would be unhappy at a close relative forming a long-term same-sex relationship fell from 30% in 2010, to 16% in 2015, a 14% drop in just five years. With the most significant figure being that only 3% of people under age 30 would now be unhappy about this.

Attitudes towards transgender people have also improved significantly in the past five years. The proportion of people in Scotland who would be unhappy if a close relative formed a long-term relationship with someone who has undergone gender reassignment has dropped from 49% in 2010, to 32% in 2015, a 17% drop. Again, significantly, only 13% of people under age 30 would be unhappy about this. The proportion of people in Scotland who felt that a transgender person would not be suitable to be a primary school teacher fell from 31% in 2010 to 20% in 2015 an 11% drop.

It’s very clear that public opinion in Scotland on LGBTI issues have changed rapidly, recognising that much more work still has to be done, especially on transgender and intersex issues (which are not covered in the Social Attitudes Survey).

I’m often asked what it was I thought that has made such changes in attitudes possible, I have little doubt it was people coming out. Only 15% of people in Scotland now say they don’t know someone who is gay or lesbian, down from 32% in 2002. We know through research that people who know an LGBTI person are less likely to hold discriminatory views about LGBTI people so with 41% now saying they have a gay or lesbian friend and 21% a gay or lesbian family member, these personal acts of coming out are having a big effect.


The pioneers of our movement in the Scottish Minorities Group came out when LGBTI people had no rights, bar the right to a solicitor when they were legally arrested. They began Scotland’s progressive journey. As homosexuality was decriminalised more were able to come out, and this continued as equal treatment under the law was slowly won. As more came out, the easier it became, the easier it became the more people were able to come out.

Harvey Milk once said, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.” He understood then the importance of coming out and its effects, 38 years after his death we still have much to do to ensure that everyone who wants to come out can do so with the support of their friends and family and that we consign LGBTI discrimination to the history books.

Scotland is changing for the better, and that is down to the personal acts of every LGBTI person in our country.

1 http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/09/3916

By Scott Cuthbertson

Scottish Rugby signs up to Scottish LGBT Sports Charter

09/08/16 - 16080907 - SCOTTISH RUGBY UNION BT MURRAYFIELD - EDINBURGH Scottish Rugby signing the Equality Network's LGBT Charter Munro Stevenson (Publicity/Media rep. -Glasgow Alphas) Neil Fox (captain of Caledonian Thebans) Scott Cuthbertson (Equality Network) Boris Pichotka (secretary of Glasgow Alphas) Dominic Mckay Pete Young (SRU Outreach and equality manager ).

Scottish Rugby today signed up as the newest signatory to the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter at the home of rugby in Scotland, BT Murrayfield, we’re delighted to welcome them as a signatory.

We launched the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter, which includes a set of five principles which aims remove the barriers to sport for LGBT people and tackle discrimination in sport, last year as a tool for governing bodies of sport, clubs and sports providers.

Signing the charter on behalf of Scottish Rugby, Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer said “Scottish Rugby has had a long standing commitment to ensure access to our sport is open to everyone regardless of age, background, education or sexuality. We take a proactive approach to providing training and development for LGBT teams and encouraging the growth of rugby among the gay community. This is best demonstrated by our support of the bid to bring the prestigious Bingham Cup to Scotland and BT Murrayfield next year. Signing the Sport Charter therefore is a natural next step for us.”

Scottish Rugby is already a leader in LGBT inclusion in sport, with the governing body supporting the development of LGBTI clubs and development coaches having attended LGBTI training in the Borders. Scottish Rugby is also supporting a bid to bring the 2018 Bingham Cup, a biennial international gay rugby union tournament, to Scotland.

Scott Cuthbertson our Development Manager, said: “We welcome Scottish Rugby as a signatory to the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter. We know through our research that LGBT people in Scotland still face significant barriers to their full inclusion in sport. This charter is an important step to addressing those barriers, setting out positive steps that organisations can take to become more LGBT inclusive.

“Rugby, and its role models, have a huge impact in Scotland, today we’re sending the message loud and clear, Rugby is a welcoming sport regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity”

Attending the signing were Neil Fox, Captain of the Caledonian Thebans and Boris Pichotka & Munro Stevenson of the Glasgow Alphas, Scotland’s LGBTI inclusive rugby clubs based in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Alphas were set up in October last year and the Caledonian Thebans have recently returned from Nashville after winning the Hoagland Cup. The Thebans are currently biding to host the Bingham Cup in Edinburgh.

While there are no openly LGBT players in the professional rugby in Scotland there are signs of progress across the UK. Keegan Hirst (Rugby League) and Sam Stanley both came out in 2015 following in the footsteps of retired welsh international Gareth Thomas.

You can find out more about our work on sport and those who have signed the Scottish LGBT Sport Charter on our sport pages here.

Volunteer at Pride

Pride16The Equality Network will be attending Pride Glasgow and Free Pride on Saturday 20th August. We are looking for volunteers who would be able to help us either before hand or on the day.

If you can spare some time on Saturday 20th August or in the days leading up to the pride events and want to support LGBTI equality please fill out the form below.

Pride Volunteer Form

  • What is the best number to contact you on?
  • Volunteering with us.

    We are looking for volunteers to help us set up for the parade (from 11am) and give us some time from our stall (from 2pm) to hand out information, and donation badges. In return we'll give you a pass to get into Pride Glasgow and we'll reimburse reasonable travel costs and provide snacks and water. If you can't volunteer, you're still more than welcome to march with us in the parade.


An image of the Scottish Rugby LGBT Sports Charter signing can be found here. A video can be found on YouTube here.


For a PNG version of the advert click here.

For a PDF Print Ready version of the advert click here.

Sponsors and donations thank you

The Equality Network would like to say a huge thank you to all those who supported the event. Our principal sponsors Humanist Society Scotland and Unison Scotland. Media partners Pink News and Scotland on Sunday. Category sponsors Atholl Palace Hotel, LGBT Youth ScotlandPride Glasgow. And our programme sponsor, and event designer Apt!

A huge thank you to all those who donated prizes for our raffle. Without your support we couldn’t have run such a successful event. Our sincere thanks to:

Walkers Shortbread

£100 voucher for ski:n clinics products and £150 worth of skin care products – donated by sk:n clinics

Champagne lunch for two at the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow – donated by the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

Two nights for two at the beautiful Atholl Palace Hotel, Perthshire – donated by the Atholl Palace Hotel, Perthshire

Racing Card signed by BBC presenter, journalist and former amateur jockey Clare Balding OBE – donated by Clare Balding

Signed copy of “More Fool Me” by author, comedian, actor, writer, presented and activist Stephen Fry – donated by Stephen Fry

Signed copy of “Parallel Lies” by author, writer and theatremaker Stella Duffy – donated by Stella Duffy

Signed copy of “Everything is Moving Everything is Joined” by author, writer and theatremaker Stella Duffy – donated by Stella Duffy

One year subscription to DIVA magazine – donated by DIVA magazine

Signed print “50 Shades of Scotland” by Emily MacKenzie – donated by Curiouser and Curiouser, Broughton St, Edinburgh

Two tickets to Frisky & Mannish at Oran Mor, Glasgow, 21st September – donated by Frisky & Mannish

Tickets to the Falkirk Wheel Experience (2 adults, 2 children) – donated by the Falkirk Wheel

Two nights for two at Jessie Mac’s B&B in Birnam, Perthshire – donated by Dot Mechan and Brenda Roddy, Jessie Mac’s B&B, Birnam

Two tickets for the Hearts v Ross County match at Tynecastle on 24th October – donated by Heart of Midlothian FC

Two tickets to the Loud and Proud Festive Concert on 11th December in Edinburgh – donated by Loud and Proud

Bottle of Casa Gheller Prosecco – donated by Villeneuve Wine, Broughton St, Edinburgh

Bottle of Edinburgh Gin – donated by Vino Wine, Broughton St, Edinburgh

Bottle of champagne – donated by Matthew Middler

Signed CD “The Thin Line”, signed tour DVD, signed T-shirt, plus two front row tickets to Heather’s show at St Andrew’s in the Square, Glasgow on 1st October, plus a meet and greet with Heather after the show – donated by Heather Peace.

Four tickets for Glasgow’s Xmas Panto “Peter Pan” at the SECC Clyde Auditorium, plus backstage meet and greet with stars David Hasselhoff and Michelle McManus – donated by Michelle McManus.

8 tickets to the Midstock Festival, Dalkeith, Saturday 12th September – donated by Forth FM

Two night stay at Vatersay House on Skye – donated by Andrew Modd and Brian Stacey, Vatersay House, Skye

Two night stay at West House, Ullapool – donated by Richard and Colleen Lindsay, West House, Ullapool

Two night stay at Eastwood House, Dunkeld – donated by Alex and Cat, Eastwood House, Dunkeld

Thanks again for all your support!


Media enquiry

The media are looking to speak to LGBT people in Scotland who have faced verbal or physical abuse, or other forms of discrimination, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

If you have faced homophobic, biphobic or transphobic prejudice or discrimination, think that more needs to be done to tackle LGBT inequality in Scotland, and would be comfortable being interviewed by the media please contact the Equality Network by email with your contact details and a brief explanation of the discrimination you have faced: tom [at] equality-network.org

What are your LGBTI equality priorities for the next Scottish Parliament election?

survey reportHave your say on the LGBTI equality priorities for the next Scottish Parliament: www.equality-network.org/sp16

The next Scottish Parliament election (May 2016) could have a significant impact on the progress of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights in Scotland for years to come.

The Scottish Government and Parliament will decide changes to the law as well as policies, expenditure and initiatives in a wide range of areas that affect LGBTI equality, including education, health, policing, the justice system, gender recognition, family law, culture, media and sport.

The Equality Network has launched a consultation to find out which LGBTI equality issues you want the political parties to address in their manifestos at the coming election, and what LGBTI equality measures you would like to see the next Scottish Government and Parliament prioritise: www.equality-network.org/sp16

Your response will help inform our work in the run-up to the election and beyond, and we hope it will also influence the pledges that Scotland’s political parties make in their manifestos next year.

While this consultation is primarily aimed at LGBTI people it is also open to non-LGBTI people. The survey is anonymous and should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. If you have any questions about the survey please contact: tom@equalitynetwork.org

All of the Equality Network’s campaign work, including this consultation, is funded entirely by donations. If you would like to support our work for LGBTI equality please consider making a donation or becoming a Friend today: www.equality-network.org/support-us

Have your say on the future of civil partnership in Scotland

graphicTake the survey on the future of civil partnership in Scotland:           www.equality-network.org/cp

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 means that same-sex couples are now able to have a marriage or a civil partnership in Scotland.

Currently, mixed-sex (legally female/male) couples can only choose marriage because the law in Scotland prevents mixed-sex couples from having a civil partnership. This also means that mixed-sex couples in a civil partnership from another country have no legal recognition for their relationship in Scotland.

Last year, the Scottish Government made a commitment to consult on the future of civil partnership in Scotland. This consultation is expected to take place later in 2015. There will be a number of options discussed, including:

1) Keeping civil partnership and opening it up to mixed-sex couples, so that all couples have the choice of marriage or civil partnership in Scotland

2) Keeping civil partnership but continuing to restrict it to same-sex couples only

3) Phasing out civil partnership altogether so that marriage becomes the only option available to couples in future (existing civil partnerships would continue).

Around the world, in countries that allow same-sex marriage, some countries have marriage and civil partnership open to all couples (e.g. the Netherlands, New Zealand, France), and some just have marriage (e.g. Portugal, Norway, Sweden) with no option of civil partnership. Only one jurisdiction in the world (England and Wales) has marriage open to all couples but restricts civil partnership to same-sex couples only.

In Scotland, marriage and civil partnership have almost identical legal effects but they have different names and are legally a different status. For various reasons, some people prefer marriage and other people prefer civil partnership.

In advance of the Scottish Government consultation the Equality Network is asking your opinion on the future of civil partnership in Scotland: www.equality-network.org/cp

The survey is open to everyone, including LGBTI people and non-LGBTI people. It is completely anonymous and should take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Your response will help inform our ongoing work on partnership rights in Scotland and our submission to the Scottish Government consultation.

Over 800 people have responded so far, but we want to ensure that as many people as possible get to have their say, so please also encourage others to respond by sharing the survey on Facebook and Twitter: Click to share on Facebook    Click to share on Twitter

If you have any questions about the survey contact us at: en@equality-network.org