In July 2014, the Scottish government launched a blizzard of equality initiatives. Coinciding with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, they send a signal to the 80% of Commonwealth countries where discrimination is rife.
The leader of the Scottish government, First Minister Alex Salmond, has made further pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) statements during a visit to Pride House in Glasgow, where he also warmly embraced same-sex parents and their children.
A rebuke to 42 homophobic Commonwealth nations
His support for LGBTI equality comes in the midst of the Commonwealth Games, which his government is hosting. It is being seen as an implied rebuke to the homophobic policies of 42 of the 53 Commonwealth member states and tacit support for LGBTI communities in these countries.
Salmond’s government has also this week launched the One Scotland campaign, with its Equal Scotland theme and high-profile billboards across the country.
The campaign includes commitments to equality based on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief – and sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.
‘It is amazing and praiseworthy that the Scottish government has consciously launched its pro-equality One Scotland campaign in the middle of the Commonwealth Games, with billboards everywhere so that visitors from across the Commonwealth get the message,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“This sends an implicit rebuke to the 42 Commonwealth countries that do not treat their LGBTI citizens equally. It signals to LGBTI people throughout the Commonwealth that Glasgow 2014 and the Scottish government are on their side. I can think of no other Commonwealth or Olympic Games host government that has done anything comparable.
The Flag, The Kiss
“Alex Salmond is flying the rainbow flag from government headquarters. He’s funded and visited Pride House in Glasgow and embraced same-sex parents and their children. There was a same-sex kiss during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, which was televised to tens of millions of people across the member states. Salmond has committed the Scottish government to support LGBTI rights in Scotland and worldwide. His government has now launched the high profile, all-inclusive One Scotland campaign with its Equal Scotland theme. I wish the UK and other governments would do the same.
“Whatever people think about Alex Salmond and the push for Scottish independence, his statement and actions are the most forthright and supportive on LGBTI equality by any leader of any host nation during a major international sporting event.
“No other leader of a Commonwealth or Olympic Games host nation has ever said or done anything so positive. Neither David Cameron nor Boris Johnson did anything similar during the London 2012 Olympics. To fly the rainbow flag from government headquarters for the duration of the Games is unprecedented. It sends a message of solidarity to LGBTI people throughout the Commonwealth. This is a unique, unprecedented initiative for which Alex Salmond and the Scottish government deserve full credit and praise.
“It’s great that the Scottish government is flying the rainbow flag from it’s headquarters for the duration of the Games. This is a simple but important gesture and act of solidarity with the millions of LGBTI people who still suffer criminalisation, discrimination and mob violence in four out of five Commonwealth countries.
“Not even the London or UK governments managed to do this during the 2012 Olympics. Glasgow’s gone one better than London. I salute the Scottish government and Alex Salmond,” said Mr Tatchell.