Five LGBTI+ orgs have come together to launch a new initiative to promote and support inclusive social spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI+) across the Scotland.
The Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark was developed with LGBTI+ people and aims to:
- Increase positive LGBTI+ visibility
- Provide information and tools to enable better LGBTI+ inclusion
- Reduce isolation and minority stress for LGBTI+ people
- Create more welcoming places in Scotland
The ‘mark’ is a visible symbol which can be displayed to show a social space is welcoming to LGBTI+ people.
Scott Cuthbertson, Development Manager, Equality Network said, “Social spaces are important for all communities, and with LGBTI+ specific spaces centered in our larger cities, its important too that LGBTI+ people across Scotland can have access to inclusive spaces. Knowing spaces are inclusive can make a real difference to people who may be isolated or who are just looking for somewhere they don’t have to pretend to be someone else.
We are delighted to have worked with partners to launch the Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark to support more LGBTI+ inclusive spaces across Scotland. We’ve already had a great deal of interest in the mark from business owners, cinemas, and leisure spaces across Scotland.”
The Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark has been developed in consultation with LGBTI+ communities and demonstrates a commitment to principles of LGBTI+ inclusion. The initiative was supported by funding from the Scottish Government.
Kathryn Pierce from Somewhere said, “LGBTI+ people have a right to an authentic life free from shame, harassment and discrimination. Social and business spaces are a huge part of everyday life and they have an important role to play in creating an inclusive society.
“We are delighted to have developed the Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark in partnership with our friends and colleagues across Scotland, which not only creates a new way for LGBTI+ people to feel welcomed and included, but also shows others how to be better allies.
“Alongside Somewhere’s Rainbow Enterprise Network connecting up queer businesses across Scotland, the Mark has the potential to make a much-needed difference to so many”
Equality Network research, and close work with LGBTI+ people, shows that a lack of visibility, positive role models, and representation of LGBTI+ people has a significant negative effect. On the other hand, greater LGBTI+ visibility can have a significant positive effect, both on social attitudes and for LGBTI+ people themselves.
Deejay Bullock, CEO at Four Pillars said “This project is vital for our LGBTI+ community members across Scotland, knowing and seeing a space is a safe space reduces fear & anxiety of just being out.
Being able to sit in a venue and be comfortable in their own skin, being who they truly are, will have a positive impact on their mental, emotional, physical & sexual health.”
Jessica Taylor, Chair, Highland Pride said, “Social and geographical isolation is a prevalent issue for our community in the Highlands– currently there are no dedicated LGBTI+ social spaces in a geographical area of nearly 10,000 square miles, and this highlights the need to promote and support inclusive spaces so that people living here, or visiting, know they are welcome in their local café, library, or shop.
Joining up with partner organisations to launch the initiative has brought together a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise and we’re very proud to be part of it.
We also know that many local organisations and businesses have been supportive of our work, and this gives us the opportunity to give something back to them whilst also benefiting LGBTI+ people across Scotland and beyond.”
Iain Campbell, Dumfries and Galloway LGBT Plus said “LGBTI+ Visibility is paramount, this important project goes some way to enable both social and business locations to visibly show their support for our community.
Having a safe space, that we can all go to and be ourselves. Helping to reduce isolation, anxiety, and fear, improving both the mental health and wellbeing of all is vitally important, not just for our own LGBTI+ community but all communities across Scotland”