Humza Yousaf says coming from minority gives ‘important perspective’
First Minister Humza Yousaf has told how coming from a minority background “gives you an important perspective”, as he accused the UK Government of looking to “roll back” on rights.
Mr Yousaf, who is Scotland’s first Muslim First Minister, spoke out about his experiences as he addressed an event staged by the LGBTQ+ wing of the SNP.
Speaking ahead of addressing the Out For Independence conference in Glasgow on Saturday, he said: “Whether we are independent or not, I will use every single day to try and make Scotland a better country, a more equal country.
“But in the face of a Westminster Government that seems determined not to advance rights, but to roll back on them, independence is now more important than ever.”
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The SNP leader last month confirmed his Government will go to court to challenge the UK Government after it used section 35 of the Scotland Act to block controversial gender recognition reforms passed by Holyrood.
This week the First Minister told MSPs how he was stopped and searched several times by police when he was younger.
His comments came in the wake of the “historic” and “monumental” admission by Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone that the force was “institutionally racist”.
Speaking about his experiences on Saturday, the First Minister stated: “Everybody’s different but I think being a minority gives you an important perspective.”
The SNP leader said that when he was growing up, he “didn’t always feel accepted”.
He added: “I certainly know how it feels to be judged by people around you simply for what you are – or what you look like, and not for what you do. I have faced that my whole life.
“And sometimes, I had people questioning my loyalty to the only country that I have ever called home.
“Even people who I considered to be decent people, who held no personal animosity towards me, sometimes unintentionally made comments which were ignorant or hurtful.”
Mr Yousaf insisted that experiences such as these had made him “the person I am today”.
But he also stressed the “positive difference we can make when we come together and demand real change for minority groups”.
He continued: “I firmly believe that minority rights don’t exist in a vacuum.
“The fight for equality affects all of us.
“You know, when you boil it down, whatever group we’re talking about, that fight for equality really has a simple aim at its heart.
“It’s about helping every single person appreciate that, in their lives, they’ll come across people who may be a bit different to them in some respects – but being a bit different is not only OK, it’s something to be celebrated.
“It’s about reminding us all that even if we’re a bit different from each other, those differences are tiny compared to the huge amount that we have in common.
“And just because someone is a bit different to you, or to me, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have the same hopes, dreams and ambitions for their lives, for their families, and for their country.”