The impact of Lockdown on Scottish LGBT+ Communities – Study

Rainbow Responders, an initiative developed in Scotland by Pink Saltire, have just emailed me the results of their recent study into the effects of lockdown on the Scottish LGBT+ community, and I’m relaying the email to you in full in this post. It makes interesting, and concerning, reading.

Study uncovers an ‘epidemic of loneliness’

2 out of 3 LGBT+ people have faced isolation or loneliness during the COVID pandemic and it has been the single biggest challenge for the community, as outlined in a new report published today.

‘Community Matters – The Impact of Lockdown on Scottish LGBT+ Communities’, released as part of the Rainbow Responders programme managed by Pink Saltire, details a worrying number of LGBT+ people are dealing with mental health challenges, with many turning to drink and drugs to help them cope.

The research has also evidenced very low levels of trust in public services amongst the LGBT+ community and disproportionately low levels of funding for vital services.

The key findings were:

  • 66% of LGBT+ people said they had faced isolation or loneliness since lockdown began in March 2020, the single biggest challenge facing the community.
  • 49% want support for their mental health, rising to over 60% amongst the bi/pan, queer and trans community
  • Just 0.34% of an £80million support package for Scottish charities has reached LGBT groups
  • More than 1 in 3 young people (35%) had to hide their true identity in the home during lockdown
  • Less than 1 in 5 LGBT+ people (19%) said they trust public services to meet their specific needs, dropping to just 6% for young people and just 4% for the trans community
  • 38% of ethnic minority LGBT+ people faced financial difficulties
  • 36% of all LGBT+ people didn’t have enough food at points during the crisis
  • 1 in 5 people (22%) said they are drinking more and 1 in 3 people (35%) have turned to other substances to help get them through these difficult times
  • Shockingly, more than 1 in 3 people (35%) didn’t know where to turn for help

With more than 1,000 survey participants and scores of LGBT+ organisations taking part, this study is the most comprehensive review of the impact of COVID and the lockdown measures on LGBT+ people in Scotland.

Read on for our key recommendations.

Click image for the easy-read Summary Report


During our research, people have shared their own ideas and suggestions on how to #BuildBackBetter and improve life for LGBT+ people in Scotland.
Our detailed recommendations are outlined in the main report, but are summarised here:
  • Urgent investment in services to support the mental health and wellbeing of LGBT+ people, run by LGBT+ people
  • Practical aid and capacity building for projects working with LGBT+ asylum seekers and refugees
  • Clearer, co-ordinated messaging on what services are available to LGBT+ people in Scotland
  • Local and regional action plans feeding into a national consortium of agencies spearheading the ongoing COVID response, with funding and resources to tackle the challenges identified
  • Work to improve the physical assets and resources of communities around the country, including spaces to organise relief efforts and mobile community hubs
  • Improved engagement with ethnic minorities, disabled people and those in island and rural communities, ensuring their specific needs are being addressed


Help us by sharing this email with colleagues, maybe share the report with your manager, email your MP and MSP, volunteer to help your local LGBT organisation, maybe donate to one of the awesome LGBT groups doing local relief work or just show some kindness by calling a friend to check-in on them.

Whatever you do, we appreciate your support and solidarity.

Watch our social media summary video with all the highlights from the study findings. 

Our work has been guided by the UN’s new ASPIRE guidelines, which help create a COVID-19 response free from violence and discrimination.

You can find out more about the work of the UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity here or read the summary on the impacts of COVID for LGBT+ people around the world here.

Rainbow Responders was run by LGBT+ people in Scotland, managed by Pink Saltire and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

2 thoughts on “The impact of Lockdown on Scottish LGBT+ Communities – Study

  1. Tish, if I could double like this post, I would.

    It is very sad that the LGBT+ community has to face these tough times, many without help. I find it admirable and praise worthy that you wrote this post. I hope it reaches others and touches there hearts to reach out and help. I myself have very little to offer in support. Too poor to contribute monetarily, and am not connected with this community in Scotland like you are to spread the word.

    I look up to you as someone who tries to make a difference.

    Take care of yourself too, Stephie


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