D&G Council Leader Pledges to Support LGBT Awareness day

Dumfries and galloway Council Leader, Ronnie Nicholson, has signed a pledge of support for today’s (17.05.16) International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.  The focus this year is on Mental Health and Well-Being

The Leader backed the day of action that raises awareness of issues that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people may face.  The Council is committed to working with our local LGBT community to support any individuals so that they can overcome any barriers they may face.

The Council Leader said “It is a priority of this council to be an inclusive council and increase equality of opportunity.  This means we will work with all LGBT groups to help individuals to fulfil their potential.  I am pleased to support this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.  To help raise awareness of the issues that our LGBT community face, particularly our young people, our new Respect For All Anti Bullying Guidelines have been issued to all schools.  These guidelines highlight the specific issues of Homophobic, Transphobic and Biphobic bullying and its consequences.  I am confident that by raising awareness of these issues, we can help address them and support any individual to overcome any potential barriers they may face.”

The Scottish Association for Mental Health estimates that 1 in 4 people in Scotland will have mental health problems at some point in their lifetime. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems as a result of:

· Prejudice and discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity.

· Negative responses and rejection (feared or experienced) from colleagues, friends, family and services.

· Pressure to conform to gendered norms and expectations of heterosexuality.

· Not coming out as a result of these pressures and fears of experiencing homophobia, biphobia or transphobia.

While the percentage of LGBT young people identifying mental health problems is high, the number increases when focusing specifically on the young people who have experienced bullying in education. The Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People: Education Report produced by LGBT Youth Scotland found that 77% of transgender respondents had experienced bullying in school and that bullying incidents were also common in colleges and universities.

43.6% of LGBT young people who experienced homophobic or biphobic bullying in education considered themselves to have mental health issues. 69.2% of those who had experienced transphobic bullying consider themselves to have mental health issues

Although bullying is a contributory factor to poor mental health it is important to recognise that the fear of bullying or negative messages within education and wider society also affect LGBT young people’s mental health and wellbeing in negative ways. Ultimately, LGBT young people’s poor mental health is a result of on-going discrimination, not of their sexual orientations or gender identities.


For more information contact LGBT Youth Scotland https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk

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