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Organsiations within the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) have signed up to The Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark during LGBT History Month to support inclusive social spaces across the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire.  

The UHI partners who have signed up to the Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark are UHI Argyll; UHI Executive Office; UHI Inverness; UHI Moray; UHI North, West and Hebrides; UHI Orkney; UHI Perth; UHI Shetland; and the Scottish Association for Marine Science.  

The Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark (The Rainbow Mark) was developed with LGBTI+ people and aims to: 

  • Increase positive LGBTI+ visibility 
  • Provide information and tools to enable better LGBTI+ inclusion 
  • Reduce isolation and minority stress for LGBTI+ people 
  • Create more welcoming places in Scotland

The signing is a commitment to ensuring UHI campuses and learning centres are inclusive spaces for LGBTI+ students, staff and the wider community and shows a powerful signal of support for The Rainbow Mark’s principles.

Jessica Taylor, UHI’s Interim Head of Corporate Communications, and one of the founding members of The Rainbow Mark during her former role as Chair of Highland Pride said: “I am incredibly proud of UHI and our partners for their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and it feels particularly special to be part of the signing as one of the founding members of the initiative which launched in June 2022.” 

“There are still no dedicated LGBTI+ social spaces in the Highlands and Islands, Moray or Perthshire and this highlights the need to promote and support inclusive spaces. The Rainbow Mark lets our LGBTI+ students, staff and wider community to know they are welcome and included, and also shows others how to be better allies.” 

Vicki Nairn, UHI’s Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said: “I’m honoured to be part of the signing of The Rainbow Mark alongside our partners. We want to ensure that our LGBTI+ students, staff and wider community know that we are committed to offering places to study and work which fosters an environment of acceptance, understanding, and support. 

“To our LGBTI+ students and staff, know that you are valued. You belong here, just as you are.” 

Eleanor Sanders from Equality Network said: “We are very pleased to announce that today the University of the Highlands and Islands, along with their partner organisations, have signed up to the Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark. This means a great deal to us, and to our communities.” 

“When the Rainbow Mark was initially launched in 2022, it was created in collaboration with LGBTI+ communities across all of Scotland and its islands, and with our four partner organisations: Highland Pride, Four Pillars, Somewhere and Dumfries and Galloway LGBT Plus. The mark’s launch was the culmination of four years’ work by Equality Network, speaking to rural LGBTI+ communities, as well as decades’ long work by LGBTI+ organisations and community groups in Scotland, including our partners. We found that many LGBTI+ people living rurally in Scotland were unequally disadvantaged, faced a lack of positive representation and visibility, and were often excluded from public spaces, or did not know where was safe to go.” 

“The Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark is a positive step in helping LGBTI+ people feel more included and be able to access social and community spaces. Those who are part of the Rainbow Mark display their commitment to the principles of LGBTI+ inclusion. Displaying the mark says clearly to LGBTI+ people, you belong here, and you are welcome.” 

“The Rainbow Mark has been hugely successful so far and has expanded to include both rural and urban locations, with 185 places and spaces currently signed up. These range from cafes, bars, shops, sports centres, bookshops, hairdressers and tattoo parlours to centres for veterans, carers organisations, sexual health centres, mental health charities, rape crisis centres, libraries, and youth groups (and many more!)” 

“I feel proud and privileged to have been part of the creation of the Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark, and I’m happy to say that our new Community Development Worker Ruth has now taken the reins and, alongside our Rainbow Mark partners, is making sure its legacy keeps going and evolves. I look forward to seeing what comes next!” 

More information about the Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark: equality-network.org/rainbowmark  

Photograph: Students and staff from Highlands and Islands Students’ Association are seen at an LGBT History Month event event at UHI Inverness on Tuesday (27 February) Front row (left to right): Holly Pearce, Corvian Vidali and Patton Wilkinson. Back row (left to right) Méabh O'Connor, Kenneth Millen, Craig Mundie, Grace Post, Lua Candido and Emma Miller. Picture taken by Paul Campbell 

 

 

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