Cara English

Head of Policy, Participation and Research


Why do you want to make Scotland the best place for LGBTQ+ young people to flourish and thrive?

It’s not good enough for us to make do or put up with a world that puts up arbitrary and cruel barriers to LGBTQ+ people’s self-actualisation and flourishment, and it’s not something any of us should be prepared to sit with in silence.
Ultimately I do believe in the old maxim that young people are the future, and want to help make that future as barrier-free as possible so that there’s more thriving, not just more surviving. I have a strong belief in Scotland and the Scottish people too: as much as I don’t pretend we’re some utopia, I do think we’re well placed here to at least model more empathic futures, and bring others on that journey with us. Also, it’s often cold and wet here, so the young people deserve some respite from that at the very least.

What is your experience?

I’ve been in the equality and LGBT sphere for quite a few years now, having previously been an anti-poverty campaigner and, before that, doing all sorts of things including cheffing and writing. I’ve also been bulking up the portfolio with work around EDI development and change management, and also doing mentoring for early career trans people.

What do you do for fun?

I prioritise calm over fun nowadays, and solo travel revives me from what can be quite intense work. I’ve also taken to sewing in a big way, but I do not improve.

What mattered most to you when you were a young person?

Growing up in the ‘post conflict generation’ in Belfast, from a very young age I cared deeply about social justice (without knowing the term or the frameworks), earning me the unkind-if-accurate moniker of “weirdo do-gooder” in my family. I’ve tried to carry that sense forward in how I shape my life, although I still always feel a bit out of my depth. My sister and I wanted to shake up the fashion world too with our designs, but that never came to be.