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Blog: Celebrating Pride month

Discussing issues at the LGBTQ+ Older People's Network

25 June 2024

To mark Pride month this year, we were delighted to get involved in LGBT Youth Scotland's #ProudBecause series, asking those from all walks of life to share what Pride means to them.

What does Pride mean to your organisation, and why is it important to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community?

For Age Scotland, Pride is an important time of year to highlight the older LGBTQ+ people in society who are often overlooked. Being both older and part of the LGBTQ+ increases the likelihood of experiencing loneliness and isolation, so this is a great time to bring people together, create social opportunities and remind older LGBTQ+ people that they are not alone.

It’s also an important opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the significant impact and progress made by many members of the older LGBTQ+ community, who have been at the forefront of campaigns and the fight for equality for decades.

How are you celebrating Pride this year?

This year, the Age Scotland team is thrilled to be attending Edinburgh Pride, Portobello Pride, Fife Pride and Oban Pride. We’ll be proudly marching alongside some of our volunteers and members of the Scottish LGBTQ+ Older People’s Network. We will also have information stalls at Oban and Fife – please come and chat to us if you’re going along!

How does your organisation foster an inclusive and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ employees?

Age Scotland fosters a welcoming and supportive environment, where everyone is supported and encouraged to be themselves. With our strong commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, particularly in celebrating LGBTQ+ events regularly, we hope LGBTQ+ employees feel able to be their authentic selves at work.

Can you share any specific initiatives, policies, or programmes your organisation has implemented to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace?

All Age Scotland staff receive mandatory Diversity & Inclusion training, we have 4 specific staff members dedicated to D&I work and hold celebrations and information sessions in our office to support events like Pride and LGBT History Month, accessible for both staff and Age Scotland members. 

How does supporting the LGBTQ+ community align with your organisation’s values and mission?

We aim to make Scotland the best place to grow older, and advocate for the rights and experiences of all older people – including the older LGBTQ+ community and their unique experiences. We can’t make Scotland a great place to grow old without considering the diverse needs and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community, and ensuring that policymakers understand how decisions across all sectors, from healthcare to housing, can have an impact on the community.

How can individuals and organisations become better allies to the LGBTQ+ community?

Learn about the most current appropriate language - lots of people find they lack confidence in talking about LGBTQ+ issues because they’re not sure which language to use. Try your best and be ready to apologise and move on if you make a mistake! Stonewall Scotland have great language guides to help you get started. Introducing yourself using your own pronouns is a great thing for allies to do too, making it clear that it’s okay for other people to make their pronouns obvious if they choose to. Including your pronouns in your email signature, or on lanyards and name badges, can be an easy option at work to show your inclusivity and encourage others to feel comfortable sharing their pronouns.

Learning about LGBTQ+ history and current issues is also really important, and can help LGBTQ+ people feel welcomed, supported, and understood. Organisations should try and involve as many LGBTQ+ people as possible in their work, research, and advocacy – representation is so important in decision-making and making people feel supported, and by proactively reaching out to LGBTQ+ people and groups you can make sure those voices are heard in your sector.

Read more about the Scottish LGBTQ+ Older People’s Network.