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Highlands and Islands MSP to co-convene LGBTQI+ group

Highlands and Islands MSP, Emma Roddick.

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick, has been appointed co-convener of the LGBTQI+ Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament alongside Conservative MSP Jamie Greene.

Miss Roddick is understood to be the first openly LGBTQI+ MSP to represent the Highlands and Islands region.

The group reconvened on Wednesday, September 1, with Roddick taking to Twitter to express her gratitude and drive to continue supporting the LGBTQI+ community.

Miss 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.

“I was delighted to get to attend Orkney’s first Pride this year, where there was a real sense of changing times and acceptance from the community following a successful fight by the organisers to get the Pride flag flying over the Town House in Kirkwall. I’m now looking forward to Shetland’s first – postponed due to COVID-19 – in June 2022.

“Having grown up in the Highlands, 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, and it can be more difficult to access health services — for example, the only Gender Identity Clinic in the region is in Inverness.

“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.”