The annual conference of the Scottish Green Party (SGP) in the SECC, Glasgow, passed two major trailblazing policy motions on LGBTI+ rights and health. The convention passed the first policy unanimously and the second with an overwhelming majority.
Written by Anna Crow, current co-convenor of the SGP’s LGBTI+ group, the Rainbow Greens, and by Dan Heap, one of the outgoing co-convenors, the policies acknowledge steps taken towards legal equality in Scotland including the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014, but recognise that discrimination and inequality still affects LGBTI+ people in Scotland, particularly certain groups such as trans individuals, as shown by the Scottish LGBT Equality Report 2015.
The cutting-edge policies commit the SGP to protecting the right of all individuals to live free from harassment, discrimination or persecution relating to sexual orientation, gender identity or any lawful sexual activity between consenting adults. They call for specific measures including:
- A government-led review of legislation to identify inequalities for LGBTI+ couples.
- Civil partnership to become open to all couples regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
- A legal duty on local authorities and public institutions to deliver effective services directly to the LGBTI+ community.
- Measures to tackle bullying of LGBTI+ individuals in schools and to ensure schools are inclusive of LGBTI+ pupils and staff.
- Specific strategies to address transphobia, biphobia and discrimination against intersex people and those with a minority gender identity in schools.
- To consider persecution on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity as a legitimate basis for an asylum application.
- Recognition of people who have neither male nor female identity on legal documents.
- The right for people to declare their gender identity on documents without having to seek confirmation from a third party.
- Measures to address the incidence of mental health problems, in particular among young trans people.
- Banning of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapies.
- Banning of medical or surgical intervention on intersex children until they are able to give informed consent.
- A review of blood donation policy to one which takes a comprehensive and non-discriminatory risk-based approach.
- The extension of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination to all young people.
- A government-led review or NHS services in consultation with trans people to ensure better access to appropriate specialist advice and treatment and a person-centred approach in all aspects of trans healthcare.
Speaking with KaleidoScot, Maggie Chapman, co-convener of SGP commented: “The Scottish Greens were the first party to sign up wholeheartedly to equality for LGBTI+ people. We have worked hard to promote and support full legal equality, and the fact that Scottish law is now more progressive than the law in England is in part due to the work of Greens. It’s only right that we make sure our policies are at the forefront of the fight for equality in Scotland.”
Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, told KaleidoScot: “Equality is a core value of the Scottish Greens and I’m delighted that we have updated our policies so we remain at the forefront of efforts to enhance and protect LGBTI rights.
“By stating clearly that we see the need for a review of legislation to identify inequalities, the need for civil partnerships to become open to all couples, and the strengthening of efforts to tackle bullying and discrimination, we are building on our track record of helping Scotland’s progressive journey and we are showing our determination to keep LGBTI issues on the political agenda.”
Veteran human rights campaigner and English & Wales Green Party activist, Peter Tatchell, congratulated the SGP, telling KaleidoScot: “These comprehensive, ground-breaking, far-sighted policies are agenda-setting. They put the Scottish Greens at the forefront of the battle for LGBTI rights; establishing a new bench mark that other parties must now strive to match. My congratulations to the Green Party in Scotland for leading the way with a raft of new policies to advance and empower the human rights of the LGBTI community.”