To me, the LGBT Youth Scotland Trans Right Youth Commission was my first step into non-local activism.
I have spent much of my life wanting to help people out, be this through small acts of kindness day to day, or through using my high school Tuesday lunchtimes to help plan events in the school’s charity club.
As I grew through school, I found myself getting more involved with LGBT groups in the area and moved into somewhat of a leadership role in the school’s group. I enjoyed spending time looking after the younger students and working on making the school a safer and more inclusive space.
Despite this, I also wanted to get into wider reaching work and started looking into this after finishing school and moving out.
I got in contact quickly and soon was at my first online development day; a place to get updates, develop skills, and make future plans. I felt safe to speak up about how I felt and was immediately greeted with kindness and a strong sense of community. I got updates on what the commission had done before and what different members had been up to, and we got to discuss future goals we had for the group. One of the main discussions at this point was gender recognition (link to YP11?); what it meant, what was happening, and our goals with it.
Throughout my time in the commission, we have put out statements on the LGBT Youth Scotland website and social media to express our opinions and inform people.
We have given evidence to the equalities committee in support of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill (GRR), spoken to a cross-party group, helped members of the Scottish Youth Parliament with their campaigns and speeches, worked in tandem with the Equality Network, done events at pride, worked with the Gender Healthcare and Access team, as well as many other side projects.
In my opinion this has all been a strong success.
We managed to get the gender recognition reform bill passed in parliament (though it has been slowed down by Westminster), and the bill gained many positive changes that were influenced by our commission.
Being on the commission has been an amazing experience in which I feel I have both helped make a better place for trans people and have grown my own skills in things like public speaking, research, and influencing decision makers.
Furthermore, I have gained an amazing network full of other trans people that I can lean on for support or just to have some fun.
I definitely recommend to other young people to get involved in activism – either through LGBT Youth Scotland, or similar projects through other places. It is an amazing way to get your voice heard and see the things this can bring with it.