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Survey suggests ‘things are getting worse’ for Scotland’s LGBT youth

Respondents to this year's survey of LGBT youth in Scotland said that things have gotten worse for them in almost every category.
Respondents to this year's survey of LGBT youth in Scotland said that things have gotten worse for them in almost every category.

This year’s survey of LGBTI youth in Scotland had more participants than ever before, and respondents said that things have become worse for them in almost every category.

LGBT Youth Scotland, with funding from the Scottish Government, polled more than 1,200 LGBT young people in the country. Almost twice as many young people responded to the 2022 Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People as they have in previous years.

And alongside the bigger turnout, young people reported their experiences have got worse in almost every category.

Dr Mhairi Crawford, Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland said that many LGBT people are experiencing bullying, poorer mental health and other inequalities.

“This important research gives voice to their experiences across a number of areas such as education, work, health, hate crime and much more.

“But the research is more than just a snapshot of what it’s like now, we are able to compare back to our previous research and see how things are changing over time.

“Sadly, overall, things are getting worse for LGBT young people in Scotland across most areas”

What does the survey tell us?

The survey asked 1,279 young people about various aspects of life in Scotland. From  the workplace to home life and dealings with authorities, respondents shared their experiences.

But schools stood out as an area where many young people had concerns.

Here are some quick takeaways:

  • 10% of participants rated the experience of school for LGBTI people as “good”. 46% said it was “bad” and 44% listed it as “okay”.
  • 70% of gay/lesbian participants report experiencing bullying due to their sexual orientation at school.
  • A smaller percentage of young people think Scotland is a good place to live compared to five years ago. (Down to 64% from 81%)
  • 28% of rural-based participants rated their local area as a good place to be LGBTI. In comparison, 62% of urban-based participants rated their local area as a good place to be LGBTI.
  • The majority of participants believe that homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are a problem in Scotland and locally.
  • 17% of participants reported that they would feel confident reporting a hate crime to the police if they experienced one.

What can be done to help?

The survey also asked participants what they think would help them feel more helped or supported at school.

They suggested solutions such as lessons on specific LGBTI issues and installing LGBTI-inclusive facilities.

They also said that it would help for staff to be proactive about stopping abuse and bullying when they see it.

Just less than half of respondents (46%) said they felt supported at their school, college or university. Of the rest, 26% said they did not feel supported and another 26% were unsure.

Report serves as a ‘sobering’ reminder

Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Equalities, said that the survey raises serious concerns that the government will work to address.

“This report is a sobering reminder that although we have made significant steps towards achieving a more equal society in Scotland for LGBTI people, we cannot ever be complacent.

Christina McKelvie MSP.

“We must continue to work hard to make sure that Scotland is a place where young people feel proud to be themselves and where no one is denied rights or opportunities because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

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