Friday , 27 May 2022

Kezia Dugdale: “fairness is at the heart of our policies”

Scottish Labour deputy leadership candidate Kezia Dugdale

The candidates for leader and deputy leader of Scottish Labour have agreed to speak to KaleidoScot, answering questions in respect to what they aim to do to support LGBTI rights and further equality in Scotland.

In our second interview, Kezia Dugdale MSP, who is vying for the deputy leadership with Katy Clark MP, explains exclusively to KaleidoScot how she hopes to challenge homophobia and build a more progressive society.

KaleidoScot: What would you do to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in school?

Our aim must be for every school day, for every pupil and staff member, to be free of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. We are not there yet.

A key approach to help achieve this aim is in the anti-bullying education done by groups like LGBT Youth Scotland. I strongly support their current campaign SHH! (Silence Helps Homophobia) which sends a powerful message about not being a bystander.

I also support pupil-led anti-bullying and support initiatives in schools across the country. Schools should be given the resources to enable these initiatives, and to provide accessible information and support to pupils, parents and staff.

KaleidoScot: Would you support compulsory sexual and relationship education (SRE) in all schools (including faith based)?

I believe access to sex and relationship education should be a right for all children. I think opposition to it is based on a misunderstanding of what is taught. We must engage with parents to ensure that the clear benefits of SRE are well understood.

KaleidoScot: Would you require Westminster to devolve equality legislation?

As a member of the Women 50:50 campaign I support legislation to require public boards to have equal representation of men and women. This requires the devolution of the power to legislate for gender quotas.

I want to see the Scottish Parliament empowered to regulate for equality to help deliver this objective, and to improve equality for LGBTI people and others.

KaleidoScot: Would you like to see Scotland able to handle its own asylum cases, specially a more progressive policy towards LGBTI refugees?

I would like to see a clear commitment to support LGBTI refugees across the whole of the UK. Fairness has always been at the heart of past Labour governments’ policies on asylum, and I think it’s critical that fair treatment is extended to LGBTI asylum seekers across the whole of the UK, not just those in Scotland.

KaleidoScot: ECtHR has helped champion LGBTI rights in the UK, but what would you do if a Westminster government decided to scrap the Human Rights act and its contingency on the European courts?

One of the key advantages of the devolved Scottish Parliament is that we have ECHR rights embedded in our legislature – not through the Human Rights Act, but through the original Scotland Act. So even if a future UK government tried to scrap the HRA, Scottish legislation would still be required to uphold Convention rights.

Nonetheless, the prospect of scrapping the Human Rights Act is an alarming, retrograde step. It’s one of the reasons I will be working as hard as possible to ensure that the Tories don’t get back into government in 2015. Labour is committed to retaining the Human Rights Act across the UK.

KaleidoScot: How do you intend to work with other parties in the Scottish parliament to develop a specific Scottish approach to LGBTI equality?

I think the recent equal marriage legislative process gives a great example of how our Parliament can come together to deliver LGBTI equality across party lines. In opposition and in government, Labour will seek consensus on equality issues. Ever since Labour MSPs spearheaded the repeal of Section 28 against fierce opposition, we have recognised the importance of finding cross-party consensus to take on such battles. I will continue to work constructively with those from other parties on issues where we agree.

KaleidoScot: Would you ensure that foreign aid is targeted to organisations and projects that support human rights including LGBTI human rights, and not to organisations or direct to governments, that do not?

I think we should target foreign aid to deliver the best possible outcomes for the people we seek to help. That should be the primary aim of our aid programme; it should not be a proxy for diplomatic efforts, nor a bargaining chip for other political outcomes. We should, however, engage with agencies, organisations and governments in receipt of aid that do not support LGBTI rights, and work to improve their policies. Our ultimate aim should be that all agencies distributing aid support LGBTI rights.

About Andrew Page

Andrew Page
Andrew is KaleidoScot's sports editor and photographer. An experienced blogger, Andrew was raised in the Hebrides and currently lives in Renfrewshire. Andrew became an active equality campaigner at the time of the Section 28 debate, and has particular interests in faith issues and promoting LGBTI equality in sport. Andrew was shortlisted for the Icon Award's 2015 Journalist of the Year.

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  1. It. Seems like your whole life is an obsession with gas issues. Heterosexuals don't often see life through their prism as so obsessed with their sexuality.

  2. If MS Dugdale promotes "Fairness is at the heart of our policies" perhaps Ms Dugdale could speak up in Holyrood to change this Scottish Government’s written policy: "Under its regional asylum accommodation contracts, the Home Office provides accommodation to people seeking asylum in a number of areas across the UK including Glasgow (this may be extended to other parts of Scotland within the lifetime of this strategy)."

    The strategy to send to Glasgow began fourteen years ago and no other constituency in Scotland accommodates seekers in any great numbers. Glasgow’s selected deprived areas to accommodate asylum seekers and refugees are now more than full – time to extend Holyrood’s policy to send to Glasgow to other areas out with Glasgow – Edinburgh for instance. What say you Ms Dugdale?

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