Tag Archives: LGBT

Auld Reekie Roller Girls face Scottish Derby Battle

by Stephanie Abbot

Photograph taken by Sara Marsden
Photograph taken by Sara Marsden

When you flick, click or switch to the sport section of a newspaper or website, you don’t often see Roller Derby in the headlines.

However, here in Edinburgh, the Auld Reekie Roller girls are preparing for an all Scottish tournament coming up on Saturday 26th November . The local team, put together in 2008, was the first Scottish members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and now has over 100 members.

Named after ‘Old Smoky’ , an affectionate Scottish term given to Edinburgh, The team prides itself on its inclusiveness, welcoming women of all backgrounds, this also means trans-women. The team require players be at least 18 or over. Continue reading Auld Reekie Roller Girls face Scottish Derby Battle

Colour purple worn for bullied suicides

By Claudie Qumsieh

Victims of homophobic bullying are being remembered today as hundreds of thousands of people wear purple in tribute. In the past month alone at least 10 teenagers have committed suicide in the U.S after bullying related to their sexual orientation.

These high-profile cases have led to a global movement started by gay journalist Dan Savage whose “It gets better” clip has been watched by almost a million people on You Tube.“When a gay teenager commits suicide, it’s because he can’t picture a life for himself that’s filled with joy and family and pleasure and is worth sticking around for[…] So I felt it was really important that, as gay adults, we show them that our lives are good and happy and healthy and that there’s a life worth sticking around for after high school” This project has resulted in hundreds of people (including celebrities) posting their own testimonies and stories of hope on the newly created online video channel “It Gets Better”.

Hillary Clinton joined the campaign today when she posted her video saying “These most recent deaths are a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred. I have a message out there for all the young people who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future.  First of all, hang in there. And ask for help. Your life is so important — to your family, your friends, and to your country.” Clinton goes on to  speak about civil servants who work at the state department “It wasn’t long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can. Because it has gotten better. And it will get better for you”.  Although civil servants can be openly gay and keep their job, America’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy is still causing controversy. DADT  means that gay military personnel must conceal their sexual orientation when serving otherwise they will be dismissed. A recent call to overrule this policy failed, however one judge has reopened the debate this week.

One supporter of the DADT policy, a Republican Tea Party candidate for US Senate Ken Buck compared homosexuality to alcoholism “I think that birth has an influence over [homosexuality] like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that, basically, you have a choice”.

The U.S case is not unusual. In Scotland young gay and bisexual men are 6.7 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. In an NHS Greater Glasgow survey “Something to tell you” 80% of gay young people said they have experienced discrimination. According to a Stonewall survey 68% of young Scottish lesbian, gay or bisexual people have been bullied at school, 21% of Scottish schools teach that homophobic bullying is wrong. In schools that say homophobic bullying is wrong, gay pupils are 60% less likely to be bullied.

Actor Sir Ian McKellan,Co-founder of Stonewall, is touring schools in the UK to promote tolerance. At a time when educating children about tolerance and difference is a priority, the Christian Institute unhelpfully published an article headlined McKellan “set to promote homosexuality in schools”. As Sir Ian says religionis the one area where people are not frightened to be openly homophobic”.

Lothian LGBT Helpline Launch

by Anna Fenton


After 35 years of running a helpline for gay and lesbian people in Edinburgh and the Lothians, Lothian Gay & Lesbian Switchboard (LGLS) took its last calls at the end of October. Taking over the running of  the helpline from November 4th is the LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing.

The helpline has the LGLS number (0131 556 4049) and will be available every Wednesday, 12.30-7pm.  It offers support and information on a range of important issues including sexuality, relationships, sexual health and coming out. The service is available to anyone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and those questioning their sexuality or gender identity. It is also there to help families, friends, supporters and any other agencies acting on behalf of another person. 

Stiofán McFadden, NUS Scotland LGBT Officer and University of Edinburgh LGBT President said: “The helpline is important, as it offers information and the LGBT societies do not have a very big presence on the web. It also offers support and advice for people who are confused about their sexuality, and as it is anonymous, people don’t feel as worried about it as they would coming to a meeting.”

LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing’s Manager, Maruska Greenwood said: “Switchboard volunteers have done a tremendous job providing this phone service for so long. Switchboard has over the years helped tens of thousands of callers and it is an honour for the LGBT Centre to take on their mantle. We already run a comprehensive programme of groups, events, courses and activities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Thanks to the funding NHS Lothian have made available we will now be able to also provide a dedicated telephone service that offers information and support to all LGBT people who need it.”

The LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing opened in 2003 as a unique initiative to address health inequalities by promoting the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people living in, working in and travelling to Edinburgh. There are a number of other helplines in Edinburgh , including Nightline, Depression Alliance Scotland and Samaritans, but the LGBT Helpline is the only one specifically for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Law tightens for transgender, gay and disabled people

MSP Patrick Harvie (Scottish Greens)
MSP Patrick Harvie (Scottish Greens)

By Ashley Toner

The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Bill is currently going through the Scottish Parliament. If successful, it will create provisions in the law which will formally recognise homophobia and transphobia as aggravations for hate crime.

The Justice Committee will meet next week to hear evidence including research prepared by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisations throughout the country.

The bill was introduced in parliament by Patrick Harvie MSP on the 19th May 2008. He gave an exclusive interview to Dunedin Napier News expressing his hopes for the bill.

Listen to interviews with MSP Patrick Harvie (Scottish Greens) and Tim Hopkins (Equality Network) by Ashley Toner