Scotland’s five main political party leaders will take part in an LGBTI Election Question Time event this evening in Edinburgh.
The event will be hosted by Scottish LGBTI organisations Stonewall Scotland, The Equality Network, LGBT Youth Scotland and The Scottish Transgender Alliance.
The hustings will be chaired by Louise White, BBC Scotland presenter, and will include the party leaders Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Kezia Dugdale (Scottish Labour), Ruth Davidson (Scottish Conservatives), Willie Rennie (Scottish Liberal Democrats) and Patrick Harvie (Scottish Green Party).
Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said: ‘This will be the first time all of the main LGBTI organisations in Scotland have come together to host an event like this and we are thrilled that the leaders of the main political parties have agreed to be quizzed by voters on what they will do to further LGBTI equality.
“A lot has been achieved during this Parliament; however the biggest risk now is that huge achievements in legal equality may result in complacency. Legal equality is not enough by itself; we need to encourage candidates to help change hearts and minds in their communities to achieve social equality. Political parties should be thinking long and hard about how they can help us fight for a Scotland and a world where every LGBT person can be accepted without exception.”
Tim Hopkins, Director of the Equality Network, said: “We are very pleased that the five parliamentary party leaders have all agreed to take part in these hustings. Scotland can be proud of making good progress on issues like equal marriage, but there is a lot more to be done to address the inequalities that LGBTI people still face, in the law for trans people and for intersex people, and more widely for all LGBTI people. This will be an opportunity for a wide range of LGBTI people to directly address these concerns with Scotland’s leaders.”
Fergus McMillan, Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland added: ‘LGBTI Question Time is an excellent opportunity for people to get a clear impression of how political parties will respond to the needs of LGBTI people in Scotland’s next Parliament. LGBT Youth Scotland is delighted to work with other national LGBTI organisations to ensure that the voice of young people is heard in that question time environment about issues that matter to them, like inclusive education and improved health services. It’s also an important opportunity for politicians to hear young people, and for us to work together to make Scotland the best place for LGBTI young people to grow up.
James Morton, Scottish Transgender Alliance Manager, said: ‘We are delighted to be part of organising Scotland’s first LGBTI hustings. Transgender people still face significant inequalities across many aspects of their daily lives, especially in healthcare and education, and the out-of-date Gender Recognition Act needs to be reformed. Therefore, we are very excited to provide an important platform for transgender people to ask the leaders of the main political parties how they will progress transgender equality.”
Demand for the Question Time event has been high and the event is sold out. However, it will be streamed on the live streaming portal Periscope – simply download the Periscope app and search for “Stonewall UK”.