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Charity announces LGBTQ+ social history project to capture young people’s stories

Posted 27.04.23 by Alice Hinds

A new community archive project has been announced to document the lives of LGBTQ+ young people living in Scotland.

Launched by charity LGBT Youth Scotland, the (Un)Seen, (Un)Heard project will see young Scots come together to “capture, collate and conserve” their personal stories, creating an archive of experiences for future generations to learn from, share and enjoy.

Over the next three years, experiences of work, family, health, education and community will be documented through film, photography, audio and text, then shared through a national digital exhibition. Working in partnership with national archivists, the project will then be professionally archived to create an “accessible, engaging and enduring” resource, which represents the voices of young people around the country.

While a number of LGBTQ+ social history collections are already held by a range of organisations and museums throughout Scotland, the charity says few resources feature young people’s voices. (Un)Seen, (Un)Heard will help to connect people of all ages and strengthen communities, while also informing current and future policymakers.

Announcing the project, the charity said: “We believe it is vital to capture the experiences of LGBTQ+ young people – an important part of recording the social history of the LGBTQ+ community in Scotland and considering where that experience is shared and where it is different from other young people.

“Additionally, the hard-won progress of LGBTQ+ rights over the past 20 years has been stalled by the current debate on the rights of trans individuals and this combined with the pandemic had led to a time-sensitive need. Young people tell us that being LGBTQ+ means they face barriers to achieving their full potential in education, work, relationships, and that Scotland does not feel like a safe and inclusive place to live, love or learn.

“We know that visibility gives a crucial sense of security and belonging to LGBTQ+ individuals and that it helps to destigmatise different identities in their wider community.”

Celebrating 20 years as Scotland’s national charity for LGBTQ+ young people, this month, LGBT Youth Scotland unveiled a new five-year strategy, co-designed with the Youth Reference Group (YRG). Informed by research and developed alongside young people aged 13–25, the strategic goals for the charity include changing lives through youth work, influencing change through young people’s voices, and improving lives through partnerships and inclusive environments.

The future vision, the charity says, will be achieved through working with partners to create a more inclusive Scotland, where LGBTQ+ young people have better opportunities to belong, flourish and thrive.

Click here for more information on LGBT Youth Scotland website:

Three young people with short dark hair sitting on a rocky beach facing away from the camera. One has their hood up and all are wearing checked shirts.

News: Young men's mental health and participation is the focus of new research

Posted 11 January, 2023 by Nina Joynson

A new two-year study led by Children and Young People’s Centre will focus on understanding the mental health challenges faced by three marginalised groups of young men aged 16-24.

The project, Men Minds, will see collaboration between academics from three universities with up to twelve young men aged 16-24 to explore masculinities, mental health, wellbeing and help-seeking.

Participants from three groups of marginalised communities will form a Young People's Forum: those who are migrants, those who are LGBTQ+ and those in conflict with the law. 

All three groups are more likely than other groups to face challenges to their mental health, as well as additional barriers to accessing support services and opportunities to participate in research. 

The study aims to understand how research engagement with marginalised young men can be improved, and to co-produce new knowledge on adolescent mental health and help-seeking.

After designing accessible research methods with the initial 12 participants, the Forum will then use these methods to conduct further research with a wider group of up to 80 young men.

More widely, Men Minds aims to engage with non-academic partners to ensure its output contributes to policy and practice change.

The study is funded by UKRI and will bring together academics in Scotland and Australia from the Universities of Strathclyde, Dundee and Monash. 

Dr. Nina Vaswani, research lead at CYCJ, is Men Minds' principal investigator. On the project, she said:

“It’s about creating an environment in which we can explore these ideas, to make information more inclusive and to support young men to lead on developing better research.

“The knowledge that we will gain from having more accessible research methods will also feed into service provision, practice and policy. Our non-academic partners will help with translating this new knowledge into tangible change for young men.”

The project will soon start seeking young men aged 16-24 to join its Young People's Forum.

Click here to visit the Men Minds website

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meets young people from at a special edition of Scotland tonight.
For details see press release
Pic Peter Devlin

News: Young people present key issues to Scottish Cabinet

Posted 1 March 2022, by Jennifer Drummond. Image from Children in Scotland event, September 2018.

Young people across Scotland met today with the First Minister and her Cabinet in the sixth annual Cabinet Meeting with Children and Young People (Cabinet Takeover).

The meeting, which took place online, represents a key opportunity for young people to communicate the views of their generations to some of the most senior politicians in Scotland.

At the Cabinet Takeover, key decision-makers from across areas of the Scottish Government listened to speeches delivered by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) and Members of the Children’s Parliament (MCP).

With a strong focus on children’s rights the meeting was particularly timely, taking place the day after it was revealed Deputy First Minister John Swinney has written to the Secretary of State for Scotland vowing to reintroduce a Bill to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots Law.

Issues of importance

Issues raised covered a range of topics including rights, education, climate emergency, health and wellbeing and more. Amongst the speeches made today:

  • Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) Chair, Josh Kennedy, spoke about the need to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots Law
  • MSYP Wiktoria Orlicka called for more protection of LGBT rights
  • SYP Trustee Sophie Reid spoke about female safety, calling for more action and improvements to physical spaces
  • Cameron Garret, Convenor of the SYP Education Committee, spoke about the need for a better education system for young people, including meaningful participation and involvement in decisions about their educational future and adopting a rights-based approach as standard
  • SYP Trustee Mollie McGoran focused on the climate emergency, highlighting the enthusiasm and passion of her generation.

Passionate presentations from representatives of the Children’s Parliament focused on gender equality in education, children’s mental health and wellbeing and adults realising children’s rights. 

Next steps

Both the children and young people present, and those they represent, will be looking for some activity from the First Minister and the Scottish Government in the coming months in direct response to the meeting and the issues raised today.

Cathy McCulloch, Co-Director of the Children’s Parliament said:

“[Our MCPs] are keen to see some real action taken in response to their Calls to Action.

“They feel very strongly about the issues they are raising and we fully support these as represent many issues children have raised through Children’s Parliament programmes across Scotland.”

Josh Kennedy, Scottish Youth Parliament Chair added:

“Today's meeting is an opportunity for Ministers to hear about these topics, and more, directly from children and young people. But it will only matter if we see action to address the issues raised and I'm looking forward to seeing what's done to ensure young people's views are taken into account in the year ahead."

For more information from today search click here to search #CabinetTakeover on Twitter.


Black and white headshot of person with short dark hair and beard looking directly at the camera, on a white background.

Comment: It's time to stop talking and start listening to LGBT young people

Posted 18 October, 2021 by Catherine Bromley

A new national survey is our chance to hear Scotland's LGBT young people tell it like it is, writes Paul Daly (pictured)

Much has changed in the nearly five years since LGBT Youth Scotland’s last survey on the experiences and lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people in Scotland, and not all for the better.

In recent years we’ve been through multiple elections, a global pandemic, and a period of intense public discussion around the rights and experiences of LGBT people on a scale never seen before. Our latest survey considers new facets of life that previously would not have been considered.

In the last Life in Scotland survey, we didn’t ask about the media or social media. This seems unthinkable now, given that these are two of the areas where the young people we work with – particularly trans young people – feel most unsafe and misrepresented.

In an increasingly digital world, we are able to hear from more voices than ever. Yet, often, the voices that are drowned out amid the din are those we should be listening to most carefully.

We are hoping to make this the biggest piece of research yet on LGBT young people in Scotland.

By asking young people about their experiences and views on issues like education, health services, safety, housing, representation, the media, and the impacts of Covid, we can help to paint a picture of the real and varied lives of LGBT young people in Scotland – without the spin.

The data and the stories we gather will allow us to tell decision-makers in the Scottish Government, NHS, local authorities, and beyond about what needs to happen to make life better for LGBT young people.

This will be the third time we have conducted this survey, meaning we can begin to identify trends and establish whether things are getting better, staying the same or getting worse for LGBT young people in Scotland, across a whole range of areas.

We hope that by putting the voices of LGBT young people front and centre, this research can start to shift the focus to the one question that really matters: what can each of us do to make Scotland the best place for LGBT young people to grow up?

The survey is open to anyone aged 13-25 who identifies as LGBTI in Scotland. We appreciate we are asking for young people to be honest about areas that they may find difficult and have ensured there is appropriate signposting within the survey to where they can find support if and when they need it.

It feels timely that our latest national survey launches at a point when hearing directly from LGBT young people is so urgently needed.

Ultimately, we need to stop talking about LGBT young people, and start listening.

Paul Daly is Policy and Research Manager with LGBT Youth Scotland

The Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People survey, which can be completed anonymously,  is seeking responses from young people aged 13-25 who identify as LGBTI. Click here for the link to the survey.


News: World's first LGBT-inclusive education resources

Posted 24 September, 2021 by Jennifer Drummond

Scotland has become the first country in the world to embed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusive education across the school curriculum.

The new resources, published by the Scottish Government and the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign, focus on promoting equality, reducing bullying and improving educational experiences of LGBT children and young people by including LGBT identities across a range of subjects and age groups.

Parents, teachers, young people and LGBT organisations worked together to create the suite of resources which include a new website with information for school staff, parents, carers and young people, an e-learning course for education staff on LGBT inclusive education and a teaching toolkit of LGBT inclusive resources.

The TIE campaign, which launched in 2014, has been consistently calling for greater awareness and an inclusion of LGBT identities in the school curriculum.

Jordan Daly, Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) co-founder, said:

“This new website, and the supporting resources, which have been co-developed with teachers across Scotland, will support teachers to take a proactive, educational approach to tackling prejudice. Most importantly, it will empower young people and provide them with an opportunity I didn’t have at school – to feel valued, confident and proud of who they are.”

Scottish Government Children’s Minister, Claire Haughey, added:

“The launch of this ground-breaking suite of resources for schools takes us another step forward in ensuring that our curriculum is as diverse as the young people who learn in our schools.”

The new materials, published on 23 September,  has been welcomed with vocal support from teaching union NASWUT, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, COSLA and the National Parent Forum of Scotland, amongst others.

Click here to access the new LGBT education website

GRA reform is a fundamental equality issue for trans young people. So why delay it?

Children in Scotland has responded to today’s announcement by the Scottish Government that, instead of going ahead with reform of the Gender Recognition Act, there will be a further consultation and the establishment of a working group on data, sex and gender.

The Scottish Government also announced that there will be no legal GRA process for under-16s, and that LGBT Youth Scotland guidance on supporting trans young people in schools will now be replaced by Scottish Government guidance.

Our Head of Policy, Projects and Participation Amy Woodhouse said:

“While we acknowledge the challenging nature of this debate, at its heart this is a human rights issue.

“In that light we are disappointed in this delay, and sceptical about what the value of further consultation would be.

“The Scottish Government has already conducted a full consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act.

“It ran from 9th November 2017 to 1st March 2018 and received more than 15,000 responses, with a clear majority of Scottish respondents in favour of reform.

“In the wake of this, last autumn the government pledged to bring forward legislation on gender recognition in its next legislative programme.

“Since then many organisations advocating for trans rights have done their best to share the lived experiences of trans young people, highlighting the injustices they face and articulating this as an equality and rights issue that must be resolved.

“We have fully supported them in doing this and will continue to do so.

“Transgender people in the UK are at a higher risk of homelessness, violence, self-harm and suicide – as made clear by LGBT Youth Scotland’s 2018 report Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People.

“Given this, we would question what message delaying GRA reform sends about the Scottish Government’s commitment to equality for trans young people and the trans community.

“We would also question this delay in the context of what should be an increasingly rights-based approach to policymaking and legislation for children and young people.

“For our 25 Calls campaign, activist Jade Reynolds said that comprehensive reform of the GRA could have the potential to give trans young people the chance to live full, happy lives – but that the challenge would be turning changes in legislation into changes in practice and at societal levels.

Jade said: ‘We need to make sure that all trans people have the legal protections they deserve; processes are affordable and accessible; trans people are not forced to prove their existence by arbitrary means; and society starts accepting them and their gender identity.’

“Today, we’ve taken a step back from achieving those goals at a time when we should be showing solidarity with trans young people and giving them hope for a better future.”

Click here to read Jade’s call, part of our 25 Calls campaign


LGBT Youth Scotland

Making Scotland the best place to grow up for LGBTI young people

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Call 8 of 25 Calls: Reform the GRA

Give trans young people the chance to live full, happy lives, argues Jade Reynolds

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Wanted: strengthened rights and equality

Find out more about our 25 Calls campaign

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Children in Scotland welcomes "historic" LGBTI inclusive education announcement

National charity Children in Scotland has welcomed the announcement made by Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney in the Scottish Parliament today (8 November) that the Scottish Government is to accept the recommendations of the LGBTI inclusive working group.

Chief Executive of Children in Scotland Jackie Brock said:

“Children in Scotland is delighted by the news that the Scottish Government has accepted the recommendations of the TIE campaign and their colleagues in the LGBTI inclusive education working group.

“We wholeheartedly support the decision to include the identities, history and prejudice faced by LGBTI people within the Scottish curriculum, and for initial training and continuing professional development for teachers to cover these issues.

“We have come to this view based on the evidence that LGBTI young people continue to face bullying and poor mental health at rates which are simply unacceptable in a society which values equality and wellbeing among children, and in the knowledge that education has a vital role to play in moving forward social attitudes for our future generations.

“18 years on from the repeal of section 28 – long enough for thousands of children in Scotland to have began and ended their journey through the education system – this represents another historic moment in the struggle for children and young people’s rights and LGBTI rights more broadly.

“Call Number 16 in our ongoing '25 Calls' campaign, written by respectme, states that we must ‘Work together to build cultures where every voice is valued, and create a society free from bullying’. Call Number 8, written by young activist Jade, asks that we ‘Reform the Gender Recognition Act and give trans young people the chance to live full, happy lives’.

“We believe that this marks a vital step towards achieving these goals, and we will continue to work with our partners across the children’s sector to make this vision a reality.”


Notes for editors

Media contact: Caitlin Logan, email

Children in Scotland is a national charity working to improve children’s lives. For more information visit


TIE campaign

Find out more about TIE's work to ensure LGBTI inclusive education in schools

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Why focus on LGBT issues?

Read a blog about why LGBT rights and equality are so important to our work

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Why the Gender Recognition Act must be reformed

Activist Jade Reynolds contributed a call on trans rights to our 25 Calls campaign

Read Jade's call

Why focus on LGBT issues?

Raising awareness of discrimination and how to stop it helps us support children and reflects our fundamental values, writes Simon Massey

Children in Scotland started the LGBT Charter of Rights accreditation this year. It’s something that is really important to us as an organisation and to me personally. But why?

In 2015, Children in Scotland made the decision to commit some of our time to our own continual improvement, whether linked to the services we provide, our staff or how we work. We decided to do this in a number of ways, including making use of outside expertise and support.

Our first formal step was to undertake the EFQM Committed to Excellence (C2E) accreditation. In case you’re wondering EFQM = European framework for quality management! We had support from Quality Scotland and were delighted to receive our award in June.

Not to let the grass grow under our feet, we’d already decided to undertake the LGBT Charter and had been in discussions with Cara Spence from LGBT Youth Scotland. We met earlier in the year and formally started the accreditation in July, which will run through to the end of next June.

Why LGBT issues and not another group in society or way of working? Why did I encourage Children in Scotland to do this?

It’s what I know. As a gay man, I’ve lived and worked in places where homophobia is rife, and where it’s not. I’ve seen the difference it can make to people – to their enjoyment of life, their ability to do their job, or their longer-term mental health. Having the option to be out is essential. Knowing that the organisation you are engaging with (professionally or through using a service) has an awareness of the issues is vital. And visibility of these things is key.

As a children’s sector organisation, we are now absolutely clear about the impact of homophobia on children, young people and families and the need to be LGBT inclusive in what we do. The great work that LGBT Youth Scotland, the TIE campaign, Stonewall Scotland, Equality Network and others do provides the evidence (if you need convincing) but also the support and guidance to help. There’s more information on each of these organisations on this page.

It’s also fundamentally about values – something Children in Scotland is strong on, having our own clear set of values. This is one of the things that attracted me to working here in the first place.

I also believe that focussing on one area of discrimination or group in society does not only benefit that group. What we, as an organisation, learn about the discrimination of LGBT people and how to work in a more inclusive way can be used in many other areas. It can only help us do our job better and achieve our vision that all children in Scotland have an equal chance to flourish.

We now have a great Children in Scotland LGBT Champions Group made up from across the organisation. Alongside me, we have Annie Watson from Enquire, Elaine Kerridge from Policy, Projects & Participation and Lynn Gilmour from the Communications team. Other colleagues feed into the activities as needed.

We completed our first day of LGBT awareness training earlier in October, delivered by Cara from LGBT Youth Scotland. Sixteen members of our staff took part, as well as Enquire and NPFS, plus Patricia Jackson from our Board. It really was an excellent day with amazing feedback from participants. Our second training day is already booked in for April 2018.

We’ll now continue working through our action plan (developed with help from Cara and input from staff), which directly links to the standards. It isn’t as daunting as it may sound! Take a look at LGBT Charter box elsewhere on this page.

One of our priorities in our 2017-2021 strategic plan is to ‘lead and develop the workforce’. We aim to do this in a number of different ways, including the sharing of our own experience and learning. We plan to do this by tracking our LGBT Charter accreditation journey by:

Please do join us on the journey – like, comment and share any of our tweets, blogs or articles; become part of our network and #FindYourVoice; or join us in membership to receive all the benefits it brings.

You’ll also have the chance to learn more at the joint Children in Scotland / LGBT Youth Scotland conference which kicks off LGBT History Month on 1st February 2018 – An equal future? Scotland’s next steps for including children & young people. More details on this page.

What’s the next area to focus on after the LGBT Charter? Well, we don’t know right now! A decision will be made when we hear what our staff have to say in our annual survey and what our children and young people’s advisory group, Change our world, feel we should be looking at.

What I am confident of is that, as evidenced in our approach to the EFQM C2E accreditation and LGBT Charter, we will continue to develop as an organisation with enthusiasm and commitment. All with the aim of improving the lives of children in Scotland.

Simon Massey, Head of Engagement & Learning

An equal future?

A unique event exploring next steps for including children and young people

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LGBT Charter of Rights

Your journey to LGBT equality and inclusion

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Time for Inclusive Education (TIE)

Combatting homophobia, bi-phobia and transphobia with inclusive education

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Equality Network

Working for LGBTI equality and human rights in Scotland

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LGBT Youth Scotland

Helping make Scotland the best place to grow up

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Stonewall Scotland

Acceptance without exception

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Scottish Government

LGBT policy and actions

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