International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
Today marks the annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. This is an important day which reminds us that we must keep fighting the discrimination which many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across the world continue to face. We must also encourage respectful debate as we strive to achieve equal rights for all.
Since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened twenty years ago, we have made significant progress in this area and we can be proud of what has been achieved.
Equal marriage is now the law of the land. The Scottish Government delivered an apology for historic convictions for same-sex sexual activity, and our Parliament legislated so that those with such convictions could have them expunged from their records. Most recently, the Scottish Government accepted world-leading recommendations on embedding LGBT inclusive education in schools – a development which demonstrates just how far we have come in a relatively short space of time.
This progress was made possible by the tireless work of the organisations and activists who have fought day and night to advance equality for LGBT people.
This day is an opportunity to look beyond Scotland – to countries where it continues to be a crime to love who you love, and where LGBT people still experience persecution. Scotland must play its part, and I am proud that our own LGBT organisations are supporting activists oversees to build their capacity to deliver the change we all want to see – just as activists in Scotland do; day in, day out.
I am looking forward to attending Baltic Pride in June to show my support for LGBT rights, and to participate in an international conference to explore how we can all work together to ensure that these rights are embedded across Europe. In a time where division appears to be on the rise, it has never been more important that we stand together on what matters. Therefore we must continue to work for a Scotland, a Europe and a world where every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person lives free from violence and discrimination.
I am proud that the Rainbow Flag will fly at Scottish Government buildings to mark the day and demonstrate our continuing commitment to champion and advance these rights.