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Bullying, poor mental health and other inequalities still concerns for LGBT youth

This news post is almost 2 years old

A new report has warned that conditions for LGBT young people in Scotland have not improved since 2007.

Research by a leading equalities charity has found the experiences of LGBT young people across Scotland has generally gotten worse over the past 15 years. 

On Tuesday LGBT Youth Scotland published Life in Scotland, which examined the experiences of LGBT people aged 13 to 25 in Scotland. 

This research, funded by the Scottish Government, has been undertaken by LGBT Youth Scotland every five years since 2007. 

The research shows that over the last 15 years experiences across most areas have got worse, with only 10 per cent of participants rating the experience of school for LGBT people as “good”. 

Those participating in the study also reported a significant drop in the number of LGBT young people who think Scotland is a good place to live over the last five years - down to 64 per cent from 81 per cent. 

Further to this, seven in ten of gay/lesbian participants report experiencing bullying due to their sexual orientation at school. 

Just 28 per cent rural-based participants rated their local area as a good place to be LGBTI as compared to 62 per cent of urban-based participants 

The vast majority of participants believe that homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are a problem, both across Scotland as a whole, and in their local area. 

Only 17 per cent of young people surveyed reported that they would feel confident reporting a hate crime to the police if they experienced one. 

Dr Mhairi Crawford, chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland said “We hear a lot about LGBT people, most often from people who are older and not community members, but rarely do we hear directly from LGBT young people. 

“This important research gives voice to their experiences across a number of areas such as education, work, health, hate crime and much more.  But the research is more than just a snapshot of what it’s like now, we are able to compare back to our previous research and see how things are changing over time. 

“Sadly, overall, things are getting worse for LGBT young people in Scotland across most areas. 

“It is important that young people feel valued and listened to and are supported to be the best and honest self. Doing so allows them to thrive and survive.  

“However, for too many LGBT young people they experience high levels of bullying, poorer mental health and other inequalities.  

“This research shows that we call can take action in our everyday lives to listen to and empower young people.  This is particularly true for decision makers in Holyrood and local authorities across the country who can have a big impact on the lives of young people.”

Despite these concerning findings, the report did show participants are more likely to report leaving home in positive circumstances than they were in 2017, while more LGBT young people (82 per cent) felt supported when coming out, compared to 2017 (75 per cent). 

Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Equalities said: “This report is a sobering reminder that although we have made significant steps towards achieving a more equal society in Scotland for LGBTI people, we cannot ever be complacent. 

“We must continue to work hard to make sure that Scotland is a place where young people feel proud to be themselves and where no one is denied rights or opportunities because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. 

"I want to take this opportunity to thank LGBT Youth Scotland for carrying out this research and assure you that we acknowledge the serious concerns it highlights, and we will work to address these issues."