Scotland is not immune to the type of terrorist attack that saw 49 people gunned down in a gay nightclub in Florida by an Islamic extremist, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned.
There has been a 20% rise in LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) hate crime, including transgender hate crime, which is at its highest level since 2009, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs.
She pledged to bring perpetrators to justice and provide support and funding to LGBTI organisations to encourage reporting of hate crime.
Ms Sturgeon also made a pledge to work with Scotland’s Muslim community to educate followers, particularly young people, of the dangers of extreme views.
Omar Mateen gunned down 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando on Sunday.
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: “These tragic events, and indeed the latest hate crime figures for Scotland published last week, do remind us that there is no room for complacency. We have already created strong laws that create new offences and aggravations.”
Patrick Harvie, a former youth worker for a gay men’s sexual health service, said: “I have only ever felt joy seeing the rainbow flag flying on occasions from the city chambers and I cannot express how it felt to see it at half-mast. There are, sadly, still people, including young people, who are subjected to the ideology that says certain sexual orientations or gender identity are inherent moral defects.”