The LGBT+ community is a massive part of Scotland's vibrant and inclusive culture, which is why we're proud to be a world-leading country in a number of LGBT+ areas

Today, across Scotland, members of the LGBT+ community lead everything from major political parties to large businesses, occupying high-profile positions throughout many aspects of public life. The LGBT+ community in Scotland is thriving – and this can only benefit the whole country. This vibrant and diverse community is hugely important to Scotland and is a valued part of our culture.

And while you’re guaranteed Scotland's world-famous warm and open welcome everywhere from our castles to our clubs, there are also a huge range of events and locations that cater specifically to the LGBT+ community - in fact, Scotland benefits from a wonderful LGBT+ scene right across the country.

Take our capital city, Edinburgh, which has previously been named as one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the entire world! A Nestpick survey rated cities across the globe on everything from the dating scene and night life right through to safety and LGBT+ rights. Tens of thousands of people took part in the survey and Edinburgh secured one of the top spots.

Edinburgh isn't alone in its inclusive and friendly LGBT+ scene - locations around the country all warmly embrace this amazing community. Each year, LGBT+ Pride events take place everywhere from Glasgow - Scotland's largest city - to far more remote locations like Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Bute.

Leading the way

For years now, Scotland has been helping lead the way in the fight for LGBT+ equality. In fact, in every single year since 2015, Scotland has ranked as one of the top four countries in all of Europe for LGBT+ equality and human rights on ILGA-Europe’s ‘Rainbow Index’ – topping the list on two of these years.

ILGA-Europe are one of the driving forces for political, legal and social change in Europe. Their vision is of a world aligns perfectly with Scotland’s, where dignity, freedoms and full enjoyment of human rights are protected and ensured to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.

Promoting LGBT+ culture

These impressive accolades wouldn’t be possible without our continued commitment to the LGBT+ community and we are doing a number of things to help support and promote LGBT+ culture. One of our main annual events is LGBT+ History Month which is celebrated every February.

LGBT+ History Month uses an eclectic range of arts, cultural and educational events, partnering with community groups, schools, universities and local authorities, to celebrate and promote the LGBT+ community. The event is funded by the Scottish Government and coordinated by LGBT Youth Scotland, a voluntary organisation dedicated to helping young LGBT+ people in Scotland.

Another amazing example came back in the summer of 2014, when Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games – welcoming athletes, coaches and spectators from more than 70 different nations and territories. To coincide with this we created Pride House – a hub dedicated to human rights and equality in sport.

Pride House created a safe space where anyone who visited would be supported, included and where they could view the sporting competitions. The creation of this hub was so popular that, when Glasgow once again welcomed some of the world’s top athletes at the 2018 European Championships, Pride House made a triumphant return to the city.

Evolving rights

LGBT+ rights in Scotland have evolved extensively and we’re incredibly proud to say that we’re now one of the most progressive countries in the world. When it comes to same sex marriage, Scotland led the way in the UK, being the first country to consult on a draft bill. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 4 March 2014, and on 31 December 2014, at 00:01, the first same sex marriage ceremonies took place across Scotland. These joyous occasions were cheered on in the media and in the communities across the country.

Same sex couples were actually able to enter into civil partnerships in Scotland as far back as 2005.  The 2014 legislation meant that these couples were able to change the partnerships into marriages if they wanted. Also, since 2009, same sex couples have been granted joint and step adoption status. This allows same sex couples the opportunity to provide a loving family environment for children who need it.

In 2018, The Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons & Disregards) (Scotland) was introduced in Scotland. This was a key piece of legislation that allowed a formal pardon to be granted to to people convicted of offences related to same-sex sexual activity between men that would now be legal.

Although we have made great strides in this area, we know that there is still a lot of work to be done. Scotland is committed to bringing our legislation on gender reassignment in line with international best practice and though this work has been temporarily halted by the coronavirus pandemic, we are ready to continue this work as soon as possible. 

In 2007, the Scottish Government began funding the Scottish Trans Alliance – the first time a transgender rights project had been funded by any national government in Europe. 2014 also saw Scotland become the first country to host a Transgender and Intersex Conference. The conference was designed to bring people together to work and improve transgender and intersex equality from across the UK.

The Scottish Government has recently consulted on reforming gender recognition and will shortly be consulting on equality for intersex people. Making progress for trans and intersex people will hopefully see Scotland remain one of the top countries for many years to come.

As for the future, Scotland is committed to finding ways to further support LGBT+ communities where possible, helping to lead the way in ensuring a diverse and accepting culture for everyone.

HotScots F.C.

We're very proud to be Scotland's first LGBT Football team; but, we're much more than that. We are a community club who welcome anyone with an interest in football - regardless of their gender, sexuality or nationality.  We pride ourselves on being able to achieve this aim whilst still remaining competitive on the football pitch.

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Scotland is inclusive. Scotland is now.

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