The Scottish government has launched a campaign – One Scotland – to promote LGBTI equality, with human rights advocates praising its scope and messages.
Posters can be seen across Scotland’s cities promoting equality with a focus on LGBTI, gender, disability, race, religion/faith and age equality, with more specific posters on each topic coming up in the next few weeks.
The campaign also features the OneScotland.Org website which promotes and informs progressive values on each of the focal points of equality.
The LGBTI section explains basic terminology, and celebrates the enormous progress that Scotland has made towards achieving LGBTI equality, from the initial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1980 to the passage of equal marriage legislation earlier this year, whilst recognising that more needs to be done to achieve full equality for LGBTI people in the law and society.
In addition the website also features a section where Scots from diverse backgrounds discuss their own personal stories.
The campaign has also taken to social networking sites, with supporters encouraged to tweet messages backing equality with the hashtag #equalscotland.
The Scottish government intentionally elected to launch the campaign during the Commonwealth Games when the world’s eyes are on Scotland, giving the nation a unique opportunity to demonstrate its pride in being a welcoming and inclusive society, and demonstrate its commitment to promoting equal rights.
The launch of the new campaign comes just a day after Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, gave an exclusive the interview to KaleidoScot where he pledged Scotland’s support towards LGBTI equality, saying: “We as a nation will not tolerate discrimination,” and that Scotland will “celebrate diversity.”
The Scottish Government are also flying the rainbow flag, in support of LGBTI equality, from St Andrew’s House, Edinbrugh throughout the Games.
While the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, watched by over a billion people worldwide, included a same-sex kiss in celebration of the passage of equal marriage legislation in Scotland earlier this year.
Supporting the campaign, Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth Games, Sport, Equalities and Pensioners’ Rights, said: “The Scottish Government is fully committed to ensuring the same rights and opportunities for everyone in Scotland. We firmly believe there is no place for prejudice or discrimination and that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and equally.
“In the past week we have welcomed nations from across the world to Glasgow to take part in the Commonwealth Games. And I am delighted that these Games have the biggest ever programme of Para-sport events integrated into the Commonwealth schedule.
“This is our opportunity to show that Scotland is a country which celebrates diversity, where equality and human rights are respected and where no-one is singled out for negative, unfair or abusive treatment just because they are different.”
Speaking with KaleidoScot, Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “Scotland’s devolved Government and Parliament should be proud of the progress they’ve made towards LGBTI equality since 1999.
“We welcome this campaign with its strong message that equality is a core value in Scotland. There is still a lot more to do of course to end discrimination, but with this kind of commitment, we would expect progress to continue.”
Speaking with KaleidoScot, Peter Tatchell Director of the human rights lobby, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, commended the Scottish Government: “It is amazing and praiseworthy that the Scottish government has consciously launched its pro-equality One Scotland campaign in the middle of the Commonwealth Games, with billboards everywhere so that everyone gets the message.
“This sends an implicit rebuke to the 42 Commonwealth countries that do not treat their LGBTI citizens equally. It signals to LGBTI people throughout the Commonwealth that Glasgow 2014 and the Scottish government are on their side.
“I can think of no other Commonwealth or Olympic Games host government that has done anything comparable. When the Peter Tatchell Foundation made its appeal to Alex Salmond last week we had no idea whether he and his government would respond.
“In fact, they’ve exceeded our request and expectations by a mile: Alex Salmond is flying the rainbow flag from government headquarters; he’s visited Pride House and embraced same-sex parents and their children; he’s committed the Scottish government to support LGBTI rights in Scotland and worldwide; and now his government has launched it’s high profile, all-inclusive One Scotland campaign. I wish the UK and other governments would do the same.”