Purple Friday: Nicola Sturgeon and other scottish party leaders unite around LGBT community to tackle transphobia, homophobia and biphobia

Every party leader at Holyrood has spoken out in support of LGBT Youth Scotland’s annual Purple Friday campaign, asking people to show their support for LGBT equality.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the rest of the Scottish political leaders have united to celebrate LGBT Purple Friday (Photo: SNS Group Ross MacDonald).
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the rest of the Scottish political leaders have united to celebrate LGBT Purple Friday (Photo: SNS Group Ross MacDonald).

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been joined by cross-party leaders in calling attention to the importance of the Purple Friday campaign.

Purple Friday takes place on the last Friday of February each year, marking the end of LGBT History Month.

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The name comes from the purple ‘spirit’ stripe in the LGBT Pride flag, and celebrates the spirit of the LGBT community and their allies.

Nicola Sturgeon said: "As the First Minister, I am delighted to be supporting LGBT Youth Scotland's Purple Friday because I want all of Scotland’s young people to know that they live in a country where their government and their parliament support them, value them, and stand with them – for equality and against discrimination or bigotry of any kind.

“Purple Friday is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to celebrate the progress that has been made on LGBTI rights in Scotland, but it’s also a chance to remind ourselves of the work that we can all do to make sure that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia truly become remnants of the past.

“LGBT Youth Scotland’s vision is to make Scotland the best place in the world for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex young people to grow up. I share that vision and my government will continue to do everything we can to make that a reality.”

The day comes after a motion on Celebrating LGBT History Month (February), put forward by SNP MSP Karen Adam, was debated in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday evening.

During this debate, cross-party support was shown for reforming the 2004 Gender Recognition Act.

It comes as a bill to reform the act is to be brought forward to Parliament next week by Social Justice Cabinet Secretary Shona Robison.

The GRA governs how trans people can attain legal gender recognition.

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Despite the reforms seeing an intense debate arise in Scotland, SNP’s Christina Mckelvie said: “It’s vital work together to set a tone for respectful discussion.”

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GRA Scotland: MSPs show their support for reforming the Gender Recognition Act d...

Concerns have been raised by gender critical groups including whether gender self-identification could affect women-only spaces such as toilets, changing rooms and domestic violence refuges.

However, pro GRA groups claim such spaces would still be protected separately through the Equality Act 2010.

The proposed reforms to the Act – which were part of the Scottish Greens and SNP-power sharing agreement – would make it easier for a person to change their legally recognised sex.

The two leaders of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, both expressed their support for Purple Friday.

Slater commented: “I know the work LGBT Youth Scotland does every day is literally changing lives.

“From running youth groups, to one-to-one support, to projects which help young people have their voices heard by decision makers like me, they’re helping to make Scotland a better place for LGBTI people – today and in the future.

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“That’s something we all need to work together to achieve, and which feels as urgent today as it ever has.

“By taking part in Purple Friday, you can help send a clear message of support to LGBTI young people across Scotland.”

Harvie added: “It’s more important than ever before to send a strong message of solidarity for young lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people growing up in Scotland.

“Scotland can and should be the best possible place for everybody to grow up, and supporting LGBT Youth Scotland’s Purple Friday is a fantastic way to show your support for that.”

Purple Friday aims to raise £20,000 towards the LGBT Youth Scotland’s services, which include youth groups, one-to-one support, and national projects with LGBTI young people.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said he wanted to share a “message of solidarity” to mark Purple Friday.

He said: “We should resolve on this day to make sure we’re supporting LGBT communities across the country in the face of prejudice and hate.

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“The sad reality is, there are citizens across our country who face prejudice every day because of one part of their identity and that is simply not acceptable.

“There should be no hierarchy of prejudice, we shouldn’t pick and choose. We should stand shoulder to shoulder with LGBT communities in the face of the prejudice and hate they face.

“But also, we should recognise the importance of building solidarity and support amongst all our communities so we can root out and defeat prejudice in all its forms.”

Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party Douglas Ross said he was supporting Purple Friday because “LGBTI young people still face far too many barriers to reaching their own potential”.Ross said: “Experiences of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia all have a lasting impact on young people and leave them feeling isolated. It also has a massive impact can impact on their mental wellbeing.“We want all of Scotland’s young people to be able to participate fully in public life and to feel a sense of belonging. LGBT Youth Scotland is working every day to make sure that LGBTI young people have the support they need to develop the skills and confidence to do just that."

Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said: “Purple Friday reminds us that across the country young LGBTI people are facing homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.“It’s through the important work of LGBT Youth Scotland – through their youth groups, their support work and their national projects – that they actually make young people from all of these communities feel included."

You can visit LGBT Youth Scotland’s website to find out more about Purple Friday or make a donation.

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