A LGBTI+ rights activist and driver from Cumbernauld has been announced as a candidate for the Scottish parliamentary elections, which are due to take place this May.
Liam Stevenson, 37, who co-founded Time for Inclusive Education (TIE), hopes to become the MSP for Central Scotland.
Stevenson was an avid campaigner for independence and, following the result, began independently organising political meetings in Cumbernauld. He went on to organise events in support of food banks in the area, where he met TIE co-founder Jordan Daly.
TIE campaigns for inclusive LGBTI+ education across all schools in Scotland in an attempt to end homophobic bullying.
In October, the group took their case to the Scottish Parliament, outlining proposals for both the contributions of the LGBTI+ community, and issues affecting LGBTI+ pupils being recognised and taught within school environments.
Stevenson, who works a driver, will be standing for the left-wing electoral movement RISE (Respect, Independence, Socialism, Environmentalism) which launched last year.
The party held their first conference last month where members voted on various LGBTI+ rights motions including a policy to revoke the ban on men who have sex with men donating blood, calling it “discriminatory and unnecessary.”
RISE also wishes to remove the psychiatric diagnosis requirement from legal gender recognition and the age restriction attached to the process, putting transgender and intersex rights at the heart of its policy. The removal of both was recommended by the Equality Network last year.
Stevenson said: “I am delighted to have been selected as a candidate for Central Scotland, and I look forward to working as part of what will be a diverse team that is very much focussed on equalities and representing minority groups.”
“Throughout the past year, I’ve spent a lot of my time campaigning for LGBTI+ inclusive education, and having been so heavily involved in the community during this time - I know the serious impact that LGBTI-phobia can have.”
Speaking on his SNP opponent Sophia Coyle, the potential MSP described her views as “particularly regressive” and said he believes it is particularly important that the LGBTI+ community who support independence have an alternative option on the ballot paper.
2015 was largely a good year for LGBTI in Scotland as Nicola Sturgeon was voted Politician of the Year at the first ever Scottish LGBTI awards.
Despite Scotland as a whole being rated the best country in Europe for LGBTI legal equality in May by ILGA-Europe a major report published in June revealed that nine out of ten people said that LGBT people continue to face inequality in Scotland, while almost all said more needs to be done to tackle prejudice and discrimination.