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Highland charity Inspiring Young Voices secure funding for inclusion worker to develop collective voice for LGBTQ+ – particularly trans and non-binary – youth

By Andrew Henderson

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Inspiring Young Voices, a well-established local charity, has secured funding for 12 months to develop a unique collective voice for trans and non-binary young people up to the age of 25 years living in the Highlands.

The funding will go towards creating a part-time job for an inclusion worker, whose remit will be to work alongside the young people from Inspire Highland to expand the voice of LGBTQ+ young people in the Highlands – particularly those who identify as trans or non-binary.

Inspiring Young Voices charity logo.
Inspiring Young Voices charity logo.

Inspire Highland is the youth-led participation project from Inspiring Young Voices, bringing together young people with diverse experiences and disabilities to speak out, campaign and raise awareness of issues affecting their lives.

Similarly, this newly-created role will help give Highland LGBTQ+ young people a voice and enable them to be actively involved in decisions that affect their lives, to speak out about their rights and to campaign for change.

It is believed that the project may be the first of its kind in Scotland.

Emma Thomas, Inspiring Young Voices participation lead, explained: “Due to the specialist nature of this role, this exciting new post requires an individual who identifies as trans/non-binary and who understands the culture and complexities of being part of the gender non-conforming or diverse community.

"We are also very keen to encourage applications from young people.”

Hate crime against LGBTQ+ people, in particular those who identify as trans or non-binary, is on the rise.

Figures from leading charity Stonewall show that one in five LGBTQ+ people have experienced a hate crime or incident in the last 12 months, with that number rising to almost one in two (48 per cent) for trans and non-binary people.

Chase, a 21-year-old trans man, said: “Growing up identify as someone who is trans and non-binary in the Highlands you don’t know anyone else because of the stigma surrounding this specific group and our identity.

Inspire Highland's stall at Highland Pride 2023.
Inspire Highland's stall at Highland Pride 2023.

"It is very scary to coming out in the Highlands as trans and non-binary and growing up hearing all the slurs especially in the context of women’s safety; trans women are women.”

Erin, a non-binary 18-year-old, continued: “Our voices aren’t heard much, and we still face a lot of judgement for being gender diverse.

"There needs to be more awareness and education in Highland that we exist and that we are not dangerous.

"We should be allowed to be who we are and not fear comments from the public and even violence.”

Chase also explained why this specialist new job role was so important, adding: “The current stigmatisation in the media of the trans and non-binary community is almost demonising us and our identities, so to have a job role that is targeting at enabling us to speak out and have our voices heard is vital.

"The Inspire Highland inclusion worker will allow us to feel safe and accepted within a group setting, with the hope of being able to live our lives in the wider community safely and with choice.”

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