Happy trans day of visibility! Last month we wrote a post about the Scottish Government Hate Crime Bill and how some of its proposed amendments could have endangered/negatively impacted our trans students. Since then, more discussions have taken place, and the Bill was voted into law on the 11th of March without the questionable amendments we discussed! Several LGBT+ organisations have welcomed the bill’s passing, as it constitutes an important step forward in the protection of the LGBT+ community.
What does this Bill do?
The purpose of the Bill was to update and join up pieces of legislation relating to discrimination. Laws passed in 1986 already classified ‘stirring up’ of racial hatred as an offence. Under the new law, ‘stirring up’ of hatred linked to age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics is also punishable.
The Bill was also amended to provide more clarity around freedom of expression, as there were concerns that under the original Bill, the line between expression of opinion and ‘stirring up’ of hatred could be seen as blurry.
Why is this Bill so important?
Official statistics indicate that approximately 18 hate crimes occur in Scotland every day. This is a huge and heartbreaking number. Changing the law will not prevent these crimes from happening, but it is a step in the right direction: providing enhanced protection and assurances for civil liberties for all parties.
Support at Heriot-Watt
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Heriot-Watt LGBT+ Society: find us on Social Media or email email@example.com for access to our Discord server!