THE number of LGBT young people who consider Scotland a good place to live has undergone a dramatic decrease over the past five years, according to a major new report.

Findings published this week in LGBT Youth Scotland’s "Life in Scotland" report follow the latest round of research into the experiences of LGBT people aged 13-25 across the country, which is undertaken every five years with Scottish Government funding.  

The new research found that only 64% of participants regard Scotland as a good place to live, compared to 81% five years ago.

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Asked if they would describe their local area as a good place for LGBT young people to live, only 39% said yes. However, the the findings also revealed a clear difference in the responses given by participants in rural, suburban and urban areas, with 62% of those from urban areas answering in the affirmative, but just 36% of suburban participants and 28% from rural areas.

While a majority of participants defined homophobia and biphobia as a “bit of a problem” in Scotland, 69% said they consider transphobia is a “big problem”, whether in their local area or across the whole country – the highest level yet recorded.

One participant said: “I see it everywhere, whether it be passing comments, social media, newspapers, it’s out there. It crushes your confidence and self-esteem, it manipulates you into hating your very essence and existence as you feel lesser and feel like you're a detriment to society.”

While the report acknowledges it was not possible to estimate the average waiting time faced by young people in Scotland for a gender identity clinic (GIC) appointment, it did note that participants “felt strongly that long waiting lists for this service cause considerable distress”.

Dr Mhairi Crawford, chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland commented: “Sadly, overall, things are getting worse for LGBT young people in Scotland across most areas. 

“It is important that young people feel valued and listened to and are supported to be the best and honest self. Doing so allows them to thrive and survive. However, for too many LGBT young people they experience high levels of bullying, poorer mental health and other inequalities.

"This research shows that we call can take action in our everyday lives to listen to and empower young people. This is particularly true for decision-makers in Holyrood and local authorities across the country who can have a big impact on the lives of young people.” 

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Responding to the report, equalities minister Christina McKelvie pledged that the Scottish Government would work to address the issues it raised, saying: “This report is a sobering reminder that although we have made significant steps towards achieving a more equal society in Scotland for LGBTI people, we cannot ever be complacent. We must continue to work hard to make sure that Scotland is a place where young people feel proud to be themselves and where no one is denied rights or opportunities because of their gender identity or sexual orientation."