It was great last month to join parliamentarians from across the spectrum in celebrating 20 years of Pride. The first Pride Scotland event was in Edinburgh in 1995 and I believe we’ve made huge steps forward over the years. I’m particularly proud of work of the Labour Party in supporting action on equality. Labour’s LGBT group deserve our thanks for their campaigning over the years.
One of the highlights of the year for me was seeing Pride released in cinemas and being a massive success. It was a fantastic reminder of the solidarity of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners group which was instrumental in building support in Trade Unions and the Labour Party for Equality, including banning discrimination in the workplace, and in goods and services.
As a member of Donald Dewar’s Cabinet I was proud of our early action to scrap the homophobic Section 2A. The Scottish Parliament has gone on to introduce civil partnerships and now equal marriage. We’ve also supported law on hate crimes to make sure LGBTI people receive the full protection of the law. I’m particularly proud that we were identified as the best country in EU for LGBTI for legal equality this year.
Last month we had Ireland’s vote for equality – with its Gay Marriage Referendum – followed by the US last week when the Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitution guarantees the right for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 US states.
But there is still more to do. The Scottish elections next year will be a chance for equalities campaigners to make representations about the issues they want to see in our Manifestos. There’s the Equality Network’s Equal Recognition Campaign focus on trans and intersex equality and the fact that young people still experience homophobic bullying in schools.