As a 20-year-old, the memory of high school is still all too raw.
I know that, personally, having inclusive education in our curriculum and teachers specifically trained on LGBT issues would have helped me greatly.
Our councils run our local schools, but while most LGBT young people are bullied at school because of who they are, too many are let down by their schools.
On 4 May 2017, the people of Scotland will go to the polls to vote for the councillors who will represent them at a local level.
Council deals with many policy areas which affect the day-to-day lives of LGBT people in our local communities, whether that is regarding inclusive education for young people, ensuring that LGBT people are safe in their local area, improving health and social care services for trans people, improving local housing services, or making sport and leisure more inclusive.
The memory of high school is still all too raw. I know that, personally, having inclusive education in our curriculum and teachers specifically trained on LGBT issues would have helped me greatly.
“What can I do?” I hear you ask. Stonewall Scotland have produced ‘Your Voice Matters’, a guide designed for you to stand up for LGBT equality in your local area. In the build-up to the elections, ask your council candidates to support the issues that you care about, and those which would improve the lives of LGBT people in your area.
Hold hustings. Volunteer for a charity. Join a political party.
After the elections, hold your councillors accountable and ensure that the promises they made regarding LGBT equality are followed through on.
These upcoming elections are more important than many people may think. Only 39.1% of eligible voters voted in the Scottish Local Council Elections in 2012, a shocking decrease of 13.7% from the previous elections in 2007. Above all, the most important thing you can do is to use your vote on 4 May.
Too many LGBT voices are not being heard at a local level, and too many LGBT issues within communities are still left unresolved. For significant progress to be made over the next five years, it is important that councillors are committed to tackling these issues and improving the lives of LGBT people in their area.
In the council elections, your voice matters. Make it heard