Victim Support Scotland’s #LGBTQatChristmas Campaign
The festive period is obviously a time for celebration, but it can also be a difficult time for many especially for some people within the LGBTQ+ community.
Over Christmas, people within the LGBTQ+ community may experience loneliness and a lack of support from family and friends in relation to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Estrangement from family and friends
Estrangement from family members and friends is an unfortunate reality for some people who are LGBTQ+. Being disconnected from family members who are unable to accept you for who you are, can be extremely difficult. One survey found that 39% of LGBTQ+ adults had at some point in their lives been rejected by a family member due to their sexual orientation.
According to Akt, an LGBT homelessness charity, almost a quarter of young people who are homeless identify as LGBTQ+, with 77% stating coming out to their parents was a main reason why they left home.
Experiencing estrangement and lack of support can be even more difficult if a person has been the victim of a crime, prejudice or is suffering domestic abuse.
Mike Findlay, Head of Communications & External Affairs at Victim Support Scotland, comments:
“We take our equalities work seriously at Victim Support Scotland, as we know that certain groups are unfortunately affected by crime disproportionality compared the rest of the population. Evidence tells us that LGBTQ+ people often experience crime more frequently, and that loneliness and estrangement from friends and family members is more prevalent at this time of year.
“It is important that people are aware that there is support available, even during the holiday season. Our campaign #LGBTQatChristmas is therefore about informing people what support is available, encouraging them to speak about their experiences and feel confident in reporting a crime. We are also keen that our partners in the third sector and support organisations have a heightened awareness about what the issues are for LGBTQ+ people at this time of year.
“Victim Support Scotland has gone through extensive training on LGBTQ+ and wider equalities awareness, allowing our services to be even better informed and giving reassurances to people coming into our services that we are here for them. Our Equalities Forum, which involves staff members and volunteers from across Scotland, has been a driving force for much of this work.
“We are encouraging people to get involved by using the #LGBTQatChristmas on social media, and posting pictures of themselves using the materials available on our website.”
We have launched this campaign as part of our LGBT Youth Scotland Chartership journey in order to raise awareness of the support services available to the community throughout the festive period.
Victim Support Scotland is here for everyone after crime. We are therefore launching a campaign this Christmas focused on the needs of LGBTQ+ people at this time of year who have experienced crime and/or prejudice.
You may have experienced a hate incident or crime, bullying online or be subjected to domestic abuse within a relationship at home. Or you could be subject to abuse within the LGBTQ+ community itself.
No matter what has happened, it’s important to remember you are not alone and there are support services available to you.
Through Victim Support Scotland’s campaign #LGBTQatChristmas our calls to action are:
- Encouraging and empowering more LGBTQ+ people in Scotland to come forward, speak about their experience of crime/prejudice and access support services.
- To make sure more LGBTQ+ people are better informed of what support and rights they have access to.
- Ensure that our partner support organisations are heightened to the needs of LGBTQ+ people at this time of year.
At Victim Support Scotland we offer free and confidential support that is free from judgement, and we can help you report a crime and navigate the criminal justice system. We can also provide you with emotional and practical support, especially if you feel isolated from friends and family.
You can call Victim Support Scotland on: 0800 160 1985. We also have a Webchat service available at the bottom of this page.
The LGBT Foundation has a great guide on how to survive Christmas alone this year.
These include making sure the day is what you want, rather than following Christmas traditions. The article also encourages those who may be spending Christmas feeling isolated to ensure they keep themselves busy and try to keep in touch with family and friends virtually.
Being alone at Christmas could be for several reasons, including estrangement, but may also be due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Get involved in our campaign
Download (110.6KB document)
We are encouraging everyone to get involved in our campaign by using #LGBTQatChristmas. Download your own VSS #LGBTQatChristmas poster by clicking here and share your own picture on social media channels. Make sure you link back to Victim Support Scotland on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. (Links below.)
It is important to remember that even if nobody else is around on Christmas Day, you are not alone. There are a number of support organsiations, including Victim Support Scotland, that are open throughout the festive period.
- Akt – a homelessness charity for the LGBT community
- Galop – an organisation that is trans inclusive and open to anyone from the LGBT+ community, including those who may be questioning their identity. You can contact Galop if you have been a victim of sexual violence, hate crime or domestic abuse. Their national helpline number is: 0800 999 5428 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- LGBT Foundation – provides a wide range of support services to lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. They also work with healthcare and other professionals to make public services more accessible and inclusive for LGBT communities. Call 0345 3 30 30 30 or email email@example.com
- LGBT Health and Wellbeing – help to promote the health and wellbeing of those who identify as LGBTQ+. Call 0300 123 2523.
LGBT Youth Scotland – Scotland’s national charity for LGBTI young people, working with 13–25 year olds across the country. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mermaids – Mermaids supports transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families. Call 0808 801 0400. They also have a WebChat available through their website.
- Respect Men’s Advice Line – A helpline for male domestic abuse victims. Call: 0808 8010327 or email email@example.com.
- Scottish Women’s Aid – provides practical support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse. Call 0800 027 1234 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stonewall Scotland – Information and support for LGBT+ people and allies. Call: 0800 0502020 or email: email@example.com
- Victim Support Scotland – supports everyone following a crime. Call 0800 160 1985.