As the Scottish Independence debate enters its final few days, we speak to LGBT Together campaigner, Darren Young, who tells us, in his own words, what this momentous decision means for him.
Scotland – a nation built upon ideas and the strength and will of its people. I love Scotland, I really do but that’s why I’m voting No on the 18th of September.
As a member of the LGBT community I have often wondered what each side could offer me. Would Scotland really become an equal society should it vote for Independence? Or are my rights better protected in the wider UK? What’s better for me? That’s the discussion that people are having across Scotland, ‘am I economically better off as part of X’, ‘will I still be able to do Y if I vote Z?’
One of the most important pieces of legislation ever to be passed, in my opinion at least, was the Equality Act of 2010. I had the same legal protections as someone in the north of England, the South, Wales and everywhere else in the UK. I know that if I am discriminated on any of the grounds outlined in the Act, I am protected no matter what.
If we vote Yes, will attacks on a same sex couple stop because they are holding hands in the street?
If we vote Yes, will it stop suicides committed by those in the LGBT community?
If we vote Yes, will sportsmen and women feel more able to be openly LGBT in their sport?
The answer is No.
I wish we lived in this type of society where everyone is equal, regardless whether you are LGBT, BAME, a woman, from another country, or practise a different religion. An accepting and understanding country is one that we all want to live in, not just in Scotland. Those examples are just a few that people experience every day, across the UK and the World. As a society, we need to change for the better and that means everyone.
It means providing better education to children in schools, tackling prejudices at an early age. It means providing better, funded services to tackle areas such as Mental Health where LGBT people are more likely to be affected. It means tackling the stigma to help LGBT people feel more comfortable in sport. We do this by working alongside those in the rest of the UK and using the powers and influence that we have at our disposal. The Scottish Parliament has the powers to tackle these issues head on and we need it to act in the interests of the people of Scotland.
In my opinion, and remember it is only my opinion, the UK has been at the forefront of tackling injustices. Repeal of Section 28, decriminalisation of same-sex sexual activity, civil partnerships, equal marriage, gender recognition act, anti-discrimination legislation, all of these have been enacted by the UK and Scottish Parliament. To tackle the issues and problems that people face every day we need to tackle and change the attitudes and behaviours that promote homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, transphobia, racism and so on. We do that through education, working together across the UK and protecting those communities.
By voting for Independence, we walk away from the LGBT Community in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We walk away from the successes that have been achieved by all for all. I love Scotland. I love the UK. I’m proud to have campaigned for LGBT equality for the whole of the UK. That’s why, on September the 18th, I’ll voting no. Standing stronger together for equality across the United Kingdom.