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Campaign to tackle ‘ingrained’ homophobia

A NEW campaign backed by the local NHS board that aims to challenge the homophobia that is “ingrained in parts of Shetland culture” has been launched.

#blydepride will initially be promoted on social media to raise awareness of the challenges some Shetlanders face when it comes to their sexuality.

The campaign will be present at events like the Lerwick Summer Carnival and Cunningsburgh Show prior to staging educational workshops.

The #blydepride project is founded by Shetland’s LGBT working group, with the local health board and the isles’ Unison branch sponsoring the campaign.

NHS Shetland chairman Ian Kinniburgh said that LGBTQ+ people are often likely to suffer mental health struggles as a result of discrimination.

He said: “Research evidence clearly suggests that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experience significant health inequalities, in particular in relation to mental health, and I hope that this campaign will support service improvement and reduce discrimination across Shetland.”

The campaign says that homophobia and transphobia appear to be “ingrained in parts of Shetland’s culture”.

It will “aim to reach all people in Shetland, but in particular men, young people and those supporting the underlying homophobic culture of our home”.

Among the aims are to “facilitate learning about the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people in accessing public and voluntary services” and to deliver “more inclusive” public services.

The Shetland public can first join the #blydepride campaign by uploading a selfie with a rainbow to Twitter or Facebook, while people can have their photo taken with the organisers at the Lerwick Summer Carnival on June 18.

The campaign will also hold a colourful stall at the Cunningsburgh Show on 10 August to host a creative competition based on the rainbow.

“All types” of submissions will be welcome, from “pets, cakes and plants to art, photos and written works”.