Over the past quarter of a century, great progress has been made on LGBT rights worldwide. 40 countries have decriminalised homosexuality and over 30 have outlawed homophobic hate crimes. Over 60 countries now legally protect LGBT people at work and 15 recognise same-sex marriages. But huge challenges remain
I now feel uncomfortable walking home alone at night. I've had to begin asking my male housemate to come out and meet me to walk me home if I'm out late, because I am now afraid for my safety. Perhaps one day women will be able to walk down the street - more than that, live their lives - without feeling afraid of what the consequences will be for simply being who they are.
This International Women's Day I am whole-heartedly behind the idea of making a #pledgeforparity. We all have a responsibility for working towards gender equality. To do this we need to give everyone the chance to express their experience of gender inequality and to listen to these experiences and to not dismiss them. And we can't do that unless we understand that there's no us and them.
Let's start analysing the work of LGBT poets in English and study the lives of LGBT figures in History. Let's provide books in the school library with LGBT characters that tell their own stories in a way young people can identify with. Let's include our LGBT students in school life, setting up spaces where they can feel comfortable in our community.
Scrapping Section 28 was a progressive and bold move so early on in the life of the Scottish Parliament. It sent a strong message and I remember the real sense of hope many of us felt at the time, that perhaps, school would be different for a new generation. So why, in 2016, has so little changed for young people in our schools?
As you contemplate that St. Valentine's celebration this month, make sure you take it in a country where your rights are recognised and protected - including your family and spousal rights. Because what happens to other citizens in their countries will happen to you as soon as you land there. If you wouldn't want it to happen to you, don't let it happen to someone else.
It is my dearest hope that this disaster will be a springboard for change, and thanks to it, maybe one day the LGBTQ+ community will get our own Selma, or 12 Years A Slave, a story that doesn't flinch away from its subject matter, that takes a stand for itself - and that truly invites everyone to stand with it.
At the beginning of the election campaign we outlined four key things which we believe, if tackled, will have a positive impact on the LGBT community. The first of these was a tangible commitment to help combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime. With the exception of the SNP and Ukip, this featured in the manifestos of almost all the major political parties; a great first step, but we must see this translated into real action with the next government... We're at an extremely important point in the LGBT movement where, if we have any hope of achieving full equality, complacency is not an option. We've read the manifestos and we'll remember the commitments. We hope that whoever is elected on 7 May will do the same.
The last five years have included some real successes for the LGBT community and some progress for trans communities. The most memorable for many is finally being able to legally marry their husband or wife. However, while I welcome this with open arms, the achievements of this government also present a big risk for the LGBT community. That risk is complacency.
From Renaissance master Michelangelo to writer and historian Jan Morris to artist Frida Kahlo, the contribution of LGBT people not only to our society today, but to the strong history that shaped it, can't be understated. And yet so many of these remarkable men and women have seen their lives shaped, not just by their achievements but also by the need to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity.