Scottish Parliament cross-party group for LGBTI+ equality issues established for first time
The LGBT equalities group will be co-convened by MSPs from four parties
A cross-party group (CPG) for LGBTI+ equality issues has been established in the Scottish Parliament for first time.
Following its approval by the parliament’s Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee yesterday, the group will work together on LGBTI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) issues.
Four MSPs from different parties – Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, Green co-convener Patrick Harvie, Scottish Conservative Jamie Greene and Ben Macpherson from the SNP – will co-convene the CPG.
The Equality Network is to take on the role of group secretary to ensure neutrality and provide administrative support to group members.
The group was suggested by recently elected Conservative MSP Jamie Greene with a view to creating cross party input to address key issues of importance to the LGBTI+ community in Scotland.
Jamie Greene said: “When I was sworn into the Scottish Parliament I was surprised to learn that no such group that promoted the rights of LGBTI+ currently existed.
“In a parliament with such a strong track record of being open and tolerant towards the community it was unthinkable that it didn’t offer a formalised platform to promote and address the core issues that affect this community today.
“The formation of this cross-party group will help us address critical issues facing the LGBTI+ community that have often been largely absent from the mainstream agenda.
“In addition to issues such as Health, Education, Equality and Bullying, we also hope to look at issues such as geriatrics care, LGBTI life in rural Scotland and Transgender issues.
“By bringing decision-makers and third sector workers under a single umbrella we can create an effective forum both in discussing and tackling the many issues that still impact the LGBTI+ community today.
“I am very proud to see this group get off the ground and hope it will make a genuine difference in the lives of people across Scotland. That’s why we got into politics after all,”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, who was named Member of the Year at the PinkNews awards last week, commented: “I am very pleased to co-convene the LGBTI+ CPG. It’s very important to me that we use our voices and the power that we have to make a difference for LGBTI+ people across Scotland, particularly LBGTI+ young people.
“I am looking forward to the CPG discussing the way forward for teaching inclusive education in our schools, as it’s imperative that the classroom reflects our society.”
The MSPs proposing the group met with LGBTI organisations on 28 September to discuss the potential agenda and group aims.
Its first meeting will take place on 14 December to agree a work programme for the parliamentary term.
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