LGBT+ organisations in Scotland have called on the SNP leadership candidates to confirm their support for existing Scottish Government commitments to improve equality.

The groups collectively wrote to Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes, and Ash Regan on Monday to ask that they commit to honouring current pledges.

The letter was signed by Equality Network, Scottish Trans, LEAP Sports Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall Scotland and LGBT Health and Wellbeing.

The letter asks candidates to confirm their support for five existing commitments.

Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network said: “We appreciate that there will be many issues for the next First Minister to deal with.

“As LGBT+ organisations, our concern is that the existing commitments by the Scottish Government, which value and support Scotland’s LGBT+ people, will be continued by the new first minister.

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“Will the candidates confirm that, or is there a risk that those commitments will be dropped?”

The letter begins with the request to honour the Scottish Government’s commitment to ban conversion practices through a bill introduced this year and to keep the Gender Recognition Reform Bill “on the Parliament’s books, and commit to seeking the revocation of the Section 35 order whether via the courts or by agreement with the next UK Government”.

Candidates were then asked to confirm support for improving the health of LGBT+ people, “through refreshing and improving the mental health strategy and work to prevent self-harm, and by continuing to fund transformation of NHS gender identity services for trans people” as well as to show leadership on improving attitudes towards LGBT+ people.

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Finally the leadership candidates were asked to called on to continue work on implementing LGBT-inclusive education.

This practice is to ensure young people grow up knowing acceptance and support as well as reducing LGBT+ young people’s experiences of bullying due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The National: The three candidates (L-R) Ash Regan, Humza Yousaf, and Kate ForbesThe three candidates (L-R) Ash Regan, Humza Yousaf, and Kate Forbes (Image: PA)

Dr Rebecca Crowther, policy co-ordinator at the Equality Network said: “Scotland deserves a leader who will continue pushing for equality and human rights in all aspects of life.

“We must see our humanity and human rights reflected in legislation; they must challenge section 35, and deliver gender recognition reform, we must push for better accessible healthcare, tackle rising hate crime and, we must finally end harmful conversion practices that have devastating long-term effects.”

Vic Valentine, manager of Scottish Trans said: “While for now this might be a contest about who leads the SNP, ultimately whoever is successful will go on to lead the country.

“LGBT+ people are a part of Scotland’s communities, and trans people are your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. It is absolutely vital that the future first minister takes decisions in the interests of everyone, and rather than seeing protecting and improving trans people’s lives and rights as an optional add-on, understands that doing so is a small but important part of leading a Scotland in which everyone can thrive.”

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Debate over views on equal marriage and gender recognition reform have dominated the SNP leadership contest, with Yousaf speaking of his frustration at it over the weekend.

Forbes faced criticism over her views after she said she would not have voted for equal marriage had she been an MSP in 2016 when the vote took place.

Both Forbes and Regan have said they will not go ahead with Gender Recognition Reform Bill as it stands if they become SNP leader, but Yousaf has said he would go to court to challenge the UK Government’s block on the legislation.