Scottish attitudes to LGBT changing but prejudice remains

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Results from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey which show the country is becoming more accepting of the LGBT community were announced this morning.

The survey, conducted for the Scottish Government, found that the number of people who think same-sex relationships are always or mostly wrong has dropped 11% since 2002 to 30%.

65% of people who took part think Scotland should do everything it can to tackle all kinds of prejudice.

There has been an 8% drop in the number of people who think people of the same sex should not have the right to marry, to 21%, and a 7% drop in the number who think gay and lesbian people are not suitable to be primary school teachers, to 21%.

However, considerable prejudice remains, especially against transsexual people.

50% of people questioned would be unhappy if a relative formed a long-term relationship with a transsexual person.

And a third (33%) would be unhappy if a relative formed a long-term relationship with someone of the same sex.

Calum Irving, director of Stonewall Scotland, said:

“Many of these figures show massive improvements in attitudes towards lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Scotland.

“However, scratch beneath the surface and you still see huge levels of discrimination, especially against transsexual people.

“Scotland is improving all the time in its attitudes towards lesbian and gay people.

“But the survey clearly shows a real need for political leadership to tackle the most hardened prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Scotland.”

Commenting on the findings Jamie Rennie, Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland said:

“Today’s report leaves no doubt that Scots’ attitudes towards lesbian and gay people are improving and that Scotland is gradually becoming more accepting of its diversity.

“However, it is clear that our hard work as a society must continue to crack those remaining pockets of unacceptable prejudice against LGBT people.

“We need strong leadership from central and local government to make Scotland a place where everyone can be who they are, without prejudice.”

Last month the Scottish Parliament discussed new laws making violence towards gay and disabled groups be treated as seriously as violence incited on religious or ethnic grounds.

The Sentencing of Offences Aggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Bill, proposed by Patrick Harvie, a Scottish Green MSP, would bring Scotland into line with England and Wales, where courts have been able to impose tougher sentences for offences committed due to the victims disability or sexual orientation since April 2003.