THE Scottish Conservatives have been accused of rolling back on their commitment to LGBT+ equality after one of their MSPs repeatedly targeted the work of a charity for LGBT+ Scots. 

In 2016, when Ruth Davidson was party leader, the Scottish Conservatives published their 2016 election manifesto. 

It contained a promise to “make further progress on equalities and discrimination at school” and involve third sector organisations in drawing up a toolkit for teachers.

“We need to make further progress on equalities and discrimination at school,” it said.

“LGBT discrimination in particular has not received the attention it deserves.

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“We think school inspections should specifically ask about school action on LGBT issues as opposed to simply broad equality matters.

“We also know that teachers are often unsure about how to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying and we would therefore develop a toolkit in cooperation with the third sector that would give teachers the confidence to take a lead in this area”.

However, the party's 2021 election manifesto contained no mention of tackling transphobia in Scotland's schools. 

Instead, it said that "schools should emphasise the importance of respect, tolerance and equality in an age appropriate way to prevent bullying, racism, homophobia and misogyny." 

Now, Tory MSP Meghan Gallacher (below) has sparked concern that the party is rolling back on their commitments to LGBT+ young people after she repeatedly questioned whether the work of LGBT Youth Scotland in primary schools is “age appropriate”.

The National: Scottish Conservative deputy leader Meghan Gallacher (Andrew Milligan/PA)

In recent weeks various right-wing media outlets have reported that “children as young as four” are being asked if they are transgender.

This accusation refers to the appointing of pupils as “LGBT champions” in primary schools as part of the charity’s LGBT Charter for Education, which seeks to improve the inclusion of both LGBT+ staff and pupils at schools in Scotland.

As part of this scheme schools are asked to consider a survey of pupils asking if they are “part of the LGBT community in order to discern whether bullying affects those pupils proportionately within the school”.

However, despite there being no evidence that any children have been exposed to age-inappropriate LGBT+ education material from the charity, Gallacher has called on ministers to launch a review into the work of LGBT Youth Scotland.

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When accused of engaging in homophobic tropes on social media after sharing an article which accused LGBT Youth Scotland of "brainwashing" children, Gallacher said her daughter had “two gay godparents” and that she had spoken at their wedding.

She added: "Not sure how that fits in with your narrative?"

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie accused the Tories of “targeting” LGBT Youth Scotland.

"Until just a few years ago, the Scottish Parliament had a strong track record on the rights and equality of LGBTQ+ people with only a small minority opposing the progress that has been made since 1999,” he said.

“Now, our community is very much in the firing line and many people will be deeply worried about what’s coming next.

"With the Scottish Tories targeting a fantastic organisation like LGBT Youth Scotland just as others down south have done with Stonewall, the appointment of a Deputy First Minister with deeply conservative views, and a wave of hostility toward our community in much of the media, it’s essential that progressive voices are heard now, to prevent Scotland regressing to the toxic values of the past."

The National:

A spokesperson for LGBT Youth Scotland said: “We share the Scottish Government’s ambition to advance equality for LGBTQ+ people and promoting, protecting and realising the rights of every LGBTQ+ person in Scotland.

“With increasingly toxic and polarised public debate, it’s vital that all young people feel safe, supported and included.

“That is our mission – and it has never been more crucial or relevant for the young people who we can have a positive impact on.”

It comes after a recent survey found that young transgender people in Scotland were much less happy than they were 10 years ago. 

The Scottish Conservatives have been contacted for comment.