It’s a new day for Scottish politics and Scotland’s queer community should talk about it

3 mins read

Today marks a historic day in Scottish politics, as Humza Yousaf is elected the leader of the SNP with 48.2 per cent of the vote, ahead of other candidates Kate Forbes (40.7 per cent) and Ash Regan (11.0 per cent). After nearly a decade of Nicola Sturgeon, this is the dawning of a new era.

I urge you to consider what this means.

The protections afforded by the SNP so far have been essential, not just for myself, but for an entire community of Scots. The change in leadership has highlighted just how tenuous that protection is. 

With Kate Forbes, an outspoken opponent of the Gender Recognition Act, as well as reproductive and trans rights, a frontrunner in the election, the future of the entire Scottish queer community hangs in the balance.

The fact that such beliefs exist so openly within the party that leads our government is concerning. The fact that those beliefs were lost by less than 10 per cent of the vote is terrifying. Today, with the election of Humza Yousaf, we have dodged a massive bullet. But we are not out of the woods yet. 

The Scottish government has a blank slate for the first time in years. The election of a new leader means a new direction for the government and a new state of existence for its people. Humza Yousaf, who has stated that it would not be “acceptable” for someone who opposed same-sex marriage to lead the country but was notably absent from the Scottish vote on gay marriage, is a blank slate. 

In a time of uncertainty, we cannot remain silent.

To Humza Yousaf, I urge you, protect the basic human rights of an entire community of Scots. The Gender Recognition Act, the legal recognition of an entire identity, is vital for human rights. The protections in law already in place in Scotland are essential for basic safety. Respect human rights, safety, and freedom.

To the community of Scots whose lives are about to be changed, I urge you, do not stay quiet. Talk, write, post online, and make your voice heard. This is how we ensure that what we need is communicated and that what we deserve is protected. We must campaign for ourselves. 

We know our rights. We will fight for them.

Featured Image Credit: Scottish National Party (SNP) on Facebook

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