We want to make sure Scotland is a place where LGBTQ+ young people can flourish and thrive. But, young people are often left out when it comes to decisions that affect them.
We want your voice to be heard, and that’s why youth participation is so important to us.
Youth participation means supporting young people to be involved in decisions that affect them.
For us, this means supporting young people to take action on LGBTQ+ rights. Our projects provide young people with the opportunity, skills and support to have their voice heard by decision makers.
This explainer was created by participants in our Care Experienced Youth Commission
What is youth participation?
“Young people have the right to express their views freely and have their opinions listened to in all matters affecting them.”
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Our approach to youth participation
Our youth participation projects are co-produced, which means that decision making is shared between young people and staff.
This means that we:
- Make sure our projects are supported and accessible.
- Invite and listen to feedback from young people to make sure the projects are meeting their needs.
- Recognise the skills and lived experience young people bring to the project as well as delivering training and workshops to develop their knowledge and skills
We run a range of youth participation projects and provide opportunities to shape our policy and influencing work on LGBTQ+ rights.
Our youth participation projects are also a great place to meet other young people and make friends. Participation is voluntary and you can participate in a way that works for you.
Youth commissions are groups of young people, normally with lived experience of an issue, who come together to take action on LGBTQ+ rights.
Young people work with staff to plan their projects take part in a number of activities including:
- Meeting with decision makers such as Members of the Scottish Parliament
- Creating resources
Youth commissions meet every six to eight weeks for development days which include skills workshops and time to plan and complete youth commission work.
We currently have two youth commissions:
The Trans Rights Youth Commission
In 2021-2022 the Trans Rights Youth Commission were heavily involved in the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. This involved meeting with the Scottish Government, MSPs and giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament to help make sure young people aged 16 and 17 could access legal gender recognition. They played an important role in the Bill passing successfully. The Trans Rights youth commission are now focussing on trans healthcare 2024.
The Voices Unheard Youth Commission
This group of young people focuses on domestic abuse in the LGBT community. In 2023, the young people published a report which outlined LGBTQ+ young people’s experiences of abuse in their relationships, and within families, making recommendations to decision makers about what needs to change.
Scottish Youth Parliament
Every two years, two young people from LGBT Youth Scotland are elected by their peers to represent LGBT young people at the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP).
SYP’s mission is to provide a national platform for young people to discuss the issues that are important to them, and campaign for changes to the nation that they live in.
In the past MSYPs have taken action on LGBTQ+ mental health, gender recognition, safer spaces in schools and media representation of LGBTQ+ people. MSYPs also act as youth ambassadors, representing LGBT Youth Scotland at events, chairing major events and engaging with the media.
The next election will take place in November 2025, where young people involved in LGBT Youth Scotland will have the chance to vote for who they want to represent them at SYP.
Your current MSYPs
If you are a young LGBTQ+ person and there is an issue you think needs to be addressed to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ young people in Scotland, you can get in touch with our MSYPs and ask them to take action on this.
Amy Winter: Amy.firstname.lastname@example.org
Fin Buchan: email@example.com
Youth Reference Group
The Youth Reference Group (YRG) is a group of young people involved with LGBT Youth Scotland who work with our Board of Trustees to make sure that young people are included in decision making at the highest level in the organisation.
The role of YRG members is to represent the views of their peers to make sure we reflect the views and needs of LGBTQ+ young people.
We are a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organisation (IGLYO). This means there are opportunities for young people to attend IGLYO’s international events for young activists.
IGLYO events are a way for us to showcase work in Scotland and to allow young people to learn from other young LGBTQ+ activists from around the world.
Get in touch
If you want to find out more about youth participation at LGBT Youth Scotland, email Sarah Anderson, Policy and Participation Officer.
And make sure you keep an eye out on our social media and Discord server for opportunities!
You may be interested in...
Sexual health clinics
Trans and Non-Binary Coming Out Guide
Questioning your sexual orientation
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