The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service paused in memory of those whose lives were lost due to acts of transphobia during Trans Day of Remembrance last Friday, standing together with trans and gender-diverse people who continue to be bullied, harassed and persecuted not only in their workplaces but in their daily lives.

COVID-19 and the measures being taken to tackle it has changed people’s day to day lives and routine and the SFRS recognised that this also increases the risk to those experiencing or feeling at risk of domestic abuse.

For trans people, the level of domestic abuse and isolation are high. A report published by The LGBT Foundation highlights that many trans people are unable to access support as there is little mainstream recognition of domestic abuse outside of opposite sex relationships.  Equally some trans people don’t feel safe as they are isolating at home with people who are homophobic, bi phobic or transphobic.

Assistant Chief Officer Paul Stewart and Deputy Assistant Chief Officer David Farries are the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s LGBT equality champions.

DACO Farries, Head of Response and Resilience,  said: “On Trans Day of Remembrance it is hugely important that we in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service commemorate those whose lives have been taken as a result of transphobia and that is why we will be proudly flying our rainbow flags across the country.

“As the annual Transgender Awareness week draws to its conclusion it should be remembered that trans people face enormous challenges every day in life and we must not only recognise this but be able to support them appropriately.

“It’s important to us that everyone can come to work and be their authentic selves and challenge discriminating behaviours. This will help us achieve our goal of real equality.”

Earlier this year, the SFRS senior leadership team volunteered to be equality champions for specific protected characteristics. Each person has their own reasons for why their characteristic is important to them and they are keen to show that you do not need to possess the characteristic to be an excellent ally or leader. 

The LGBT Domestic Abuse project works across Scotland to raise awareness of LGBT people’s experiences of domestic abuse and improve service responses to LGBT people who experience domestic abuse and other forms of gender based violence.