Emma Roddick, the first openly LGBTQI+ MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has been appointed co-convener of the LGBTQI+ Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament alongside Conservative MSP Jamie Greene.
The group reconvened on Wednesday, with Roddick taking to Twitter to express her gratitude and drive to continue supporting the LGBTQI+ community.
Speaking about the opportunity, Roddick said:
“I am honoured to have been chosen to co-convene this group. As the first out MSP for my region, I understand the unique challenges facing LGBTQI+ people in the Highlands and Islands and recognise the importance of having that voice in Parliament.
“Having grown up in the area, I know that those in rural and island communities often experience greater loneliness due to fewer opportunities for socialising with others – it can feel like you’re the only LGBTQI+ person in your town.
“You often face closer scrutiny from peers, with everyone in a small community knowing everyone’s business.
“I was delighted to get to attend Orkney’s first Pride this year, and I’m looking forward to Shetland’s first – postponed due to COVID-19 – in June 2022.
“It can also be more difficult to access health services – for example, the only Gender Identity Clinic in the region is in Inverness. I’d like to assist in making these services more accessible to rural and island residents.
“It is incredibly important that rural and island voices are heard on LGBTQI+ issues and policy as there is a lot of work to be done in recognising and breaking down the extra barriers they face. I hope to get started on that through working with organisations on this CPG and listening to my constituents.”