In November, young LGBT people accessing LGBT Youth Scotland’s services will be able to vote for two LGBT young people to represent them at the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP).
Each of those elected will become a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP) for LGBT Youth Scotland and will serve a term of two years. During that time they will work with the Scottish Youth Parliament to improve the rights of LGBT young people in Scotland.
There are five candidates standing for election and each of them has written a blog to explain why LGBT young people should vote for them. This is candidate Cai Moran's blog.
Find out more about the Scottish Youth Parliament election and why it’s important here.
To start this off I am Cai, I am 22 years old and I use He/They pronouns. I am running to become a Member of the Scottish youth parliament on behalf of LGBT Youth Scotland.
Why I want to be an MSYP
I would like to be a MSYP not only because this offers a massive opportunity to engage in activism on a national level but also because as an LGBT young person I have noticed huge “gaps” in communication and would like to bring a voice to underrepresented voices within the community.
I have a particular passion in mental health both as a service user and a service provider and would like to aim to improve representation and LGBTQ+ specific information within those services. As a service user I have first-hand experience in LGBTQ+ awareness within healthcare and as a service provider I have noted a huge lack of LGBTQ+ specific training and representation.
How I will consult with other LGBT young people
I would most likely consult using ourDdiscord chat as this allows me to reach the widest range of young people within our service. Although I would most likely look into other ways to do online surveys and focus groups to allow LGBT young people outwith the service to have the same opportunity to engage. Platforms such as Facebook can be beneficial when gathering this information.
Although it is difficult now due to COVID limitations I would ideally like to hold focus groups to discuss the problems at hand as I feel these are a more engaging way to gather evidence. I think an important thing to remember when gathering information is that we try and make it as accessible as possible using a variety of different routes to allow the largest number of volunteers.
My priorities: Mental health
A topic I am particularly passionate about is mental health, more so mental health in young people.
Not only is this a topic close to my heart and one I dedicated the majority of my life so far to but LGBTQ+ issues are often linked with poor mental health and despite this a lack of general education within mental health professionals exist and the education that does exist is not mandatory.
• LGBT young people are more likely than their heterosexual/cisgender counterparts to struggle with their mental health whilst remaining less likely to seek or receive adequate mental health care.
• One in eight LGBTQI+ young people (18-24) have attempted to take their own life at some point with suicide remaining the leading cause of death amongst LGBTQ+ young people. Half of trans young people admit to having considered suicide.
• One in eight people have received unequal treatment from healthcare staff with one in seven avoiding treatment for fear of discrimination.
• Despite the high percentage of LGBTQI+ people struggling with their mental health the healthcare services responsible still remain under-educated about the experiences and needs of an LGBTQI+ young person accessing mental health services. This lack of knowledge and understanding is what leads to inappropriate questioning, misgendering and other negative experiences.
What we can (hopefully) do about it
So what should be done about it? Education. Education on mental health and LGBTQ+ people. Education surrounding the conditions we are more likely to struggle with either as a direct or indirect effect of our identities and the differing presentations to that of our cisgender/heterosexual counterparts.
And hopefully with education comes understanding.
Why you should vote for me
I am an LGBT young person who has engaged in activism for a number of years and have experience of speaking as a service user at multiple events held by LGBT youth Scotland including National Gathering and Pride House. Prior to this I was lacking in confidence but now feel able to speak out publicly against even small injustices. I am passionate about the things that affect this community and how we work to fix these gaps in services.
Outwith my activism experience I would like to think of myself as a fairly approachable person and would aim to take everyone’s ideas and thoughts on board with any project I took on. I am confident in myself and passionate about what we will be working with and aim to give what I can towards creating a voice for LGBTQ+ young people in an environment where we often aren’t heard and greatly misunderstood.