Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has praised the work being done locally to support the LGBT community.
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP used a speech in a Parliamentary debate during LGBT History month to highlight recent funding success for the LGBT Plus group in Dumfries and Galloway, as well as a recent pop-up Queer Library held in Dumfries High Street.
He believes the recent £120,000 funding award for the LGBT Plus group will go a long way to addressing the problem of isolation often felt by members of the LGBT community in rural areas.
In his speech, Finlay Carson MSP said: “In rural constituencies such as mine, Galloway and West Dumfries, ensuring equity and equality is more difficult, whatever the issue, whether we are talking about health, education or social inclusion—and that is to put aside the historical barriers and prejudices that face our LGBT communities. There are issues to do with delivering equity and equality, not just in relation to resources and support for organisations but in the context of reaching individuals who might live at the end of a farm road or in a rural village.
“That is why I was extremely pleased to see positive things happen this month in Dumfries and Galloway. Dumfries & Galloway LGBT Plus received £120,000 from the national lottery community fund. The group will use that six-figure sum over the next three years to offer support and ease isolation in rural communities, through a range of social activities.
“The importance of the funding to the group is tangible. Service manager Iain Campbell said that when the funding was announced, quite a few of the group’s members burst into tears. He said: “We don’t want people to travel to us, we want to travel to them”. The provision of resources to enable that to happen in a rural area such as Galloway and West Dumfries can only send a positive message to the LGBT community.”
He added: “In Dumfries, I was pleased that renowned group, Lavender Menace, and local artists group, We Agree on Eggs, ran a queer popup library in the heart of the High Street over the past weekend.
“A host of other free events were on offer this weekend, from tea and chats to workshops and a human library that gave LGBT people a chance to talk about their experiences of living in the area. I hope that more such events can take place, not just this month but all year round.”
Speaking afterwards Finlay Carson MSP said: “There is a great deal of good work going on among the LGBT community in Dumfries and Galloway, and the region has done itself proud during LGBT History Month.
“The boost in funding for LGBT Plus will only help to provide more support to their members, in terms of them feeling less isolated.
“On many issues our rural communities often speak of feeling more isolated, so I hope that this positive activity in Dumfries and Galloway can continue to benefit our LGBT community.”