Rainbow Responders

Welcome to the Rainbow Responders hub!

Managed by Pink Saltire, the Rainbow Responders programme was funded by The National Lottery Community Fund with an aim to improve our collective understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on LGBT+ people in Scotland.

Launched in August with a fixed funding end date of 31st October 2020, the study had 2 main strands of work:

  • To invest in the mental health and wellbeing of community leaders, organisers and individuals to build their resilience.
  • To support the recovery by assessing the impact of COVID19 on LGBT+ people in Scotland and sharing what we’ve learned with stakeholders.


Scotland entered a period of prolonged COVID-19 lockdown on 23rd March 2020.

On 12th May 2020, Christina McKelvie MSP, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Older People and Equalities, announced £55,000 of funding as an immediate support for 3 LGBT charities and restated the Government’s intention to support LGBT+ people through the pandemic.

On 18th June 2020 the UN implemented the ASPIRE Guidelines on a COVID-19 response free from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. You can read the full guidance here.

Following a partially successful funding bid, the Rainbow Responders programme launched in August 2020.

On 29th October 2020, the UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, presented his report to the UN General Assembly on the impact of COVID-19 on LGBT+ people around the world. You can read the summary here or the full report here.

Our work has been guided by the ASPIRE principles and has helped shape our assessment of the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown restrictions on the lives of LGBT+ people in Scotland.

The Story from Scotland

Our assessment of the impact of lockdown on LGBT+ people takes the form of 2 detailed reports.

Firstly, we published an urgent review which detailed how the sector had responded so far, what services had been impacted, what funding had been secured to provide a response and how LGBT+ organisations were coping.

Click on the image to view the report.

In parallel, we asked for your input and over 1,000 individuals responded through our online survey.

Together with research gathered from LGBT+ groups around the country, we’ve built a comprehensive impact study on how the Scottish LGBT+ population has been affected and recommendations to help build the resilience of the sector. The full report is available below.

You can access an ‘easy-read’ shorter version of our report here.

We also created a short social media video which shared some of the findings from our research.

Annex 1A – Scottish Government’s official response to Rainbow Responders findings – 13th January 2020

Annex A – COVID funding for LGBT+ organisations in Scotland (March to September 2020)

Funding summary

Annex B – Case Studies

Case study – Urban LGBT life

Case study – Asylum seekers experience

Case study – Rural LGBT life

Case study – Rural LGBT life 2

Case study – Island LGBT life

Case study – Island LGBT life 2

Case study – Island LGBT life 3

Annex C – Focus groups

Trans Pride Scotland focus group

Focus group key findings

Annex D – Community Group responses:

(Click on the organisation name to view their response)


LGBT Unity

MATE (Mutual Aid Trans Edinburgh)

Small Trans Library Glasgow

THT Scotland

Four Pillars

LGBT Youth Scotland

LGBT Health & Wellbeing

Dumfries & Galloway LGBT Plus

Waverley Care / SX Project

Steve Retson Project / Sandyford Sexual Health Services

LEAP Sports

Equality Network

Oban Pride

Pink Saltire

HIV Scotland

Annex E – Asylum Seekers, Migrants and Refugees

Additional Information on Home Office support to asylum seekers, refugees or migrants

Annex F – Reflections on rural community challenges by Matt Wester

Our leadership and development programme has now closed and we’d like to acknowledge the support of internationally renowned leadership coach John Loughton of Dare2Lead.

With grateful thanks to our funder, The National Lottery Community Fund: