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Improving Our Communities   

This section contains some examples of ways to get involved in your neighbourhood to build stronger, safer and healthier communities. There are many ways to become an active citizen in this area, each involving different levels of commitment, skills and responsibility.

In this section we focus on the roles of:

  • How to become an active tenant or resident
  • How to become a Community Council member
  • How to become a environmental or conservation volunteer
  • How to become a Neighbourhood Watch member

    Click on the headings above to visit these sections.

    Things to consider

    As an LGBT person interested in starting or increasing your involvement in this area, you might want to consider:

  • Like everyone else, LGBT people have the right to enjoy their home in peace and security. However, the reality is that many LGBT people are harassed in their own homes and neighbourhoods. Some LGBT people receive homophobic or transphobic hate mail and threatening phone calls at home, have their properties attacked, or are themselves verbally or physically attacked. Research conducted by Beyond Barriers (UK) found that 30% of LGBT people felt unsafe in their own home or neighbourhood.

  • Practical conservation work gives people the chance to do their bit for the environment, either where they live or elsewhere, and it can be extremely empowering. Many people across Scotland, in urban and rural areas have got together to improve their neighbourhoods. There are many positive examples of residents working together to transform a rubbish-strewn piece of spare ground into a beautiful community garden or taking steps to conserve their natural environment through cleaning up a river bank.

  • If you are an openly LGBT member of a group or organisation that aims to improve your local community, you may have been elected, or may be expected, to represent the LGBT community. It will be important to be clear about when you are sharing your knowledge and experience as an individual and when you need to consult with other LGBT people in order to include the different needs and opinions of our diverse community. Also, other people might assume that you will only have interests or expertise in relation to LGBT issues, such as anti-LGBT harassment or violence. They may need reminding that you can have just as much to offer on issues that are not specific to sexuality or gender identity, such as street lighting or the conservation of historical buildings, as anyone else.

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