Sunderland is raising the rainbow flag to celebrate diversity and equality and promote an international campaign against intolerance and discrimination on Monday.
The Rainbow flag is the globally accepted symbol of support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and will be raised at Sunderland Civic Centre on May 18, which is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).
The flag will be raised at 9.45am by the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland, Councillor Barry Curran and Mrs Carol Curran, who will be joined at the event by members of the city’s LGBT Equality Forum, the Sunderland Partnership and representatives from equality agencies and forums from across the city.
The Deputy Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Barry Curran said: “I am delighted to be raising the Rainbow flag on behalf of Sunderland City Council to mark IDAHOT.
“Raising the flag is a visible demonstration that shows respect for all our communities.
“Sunderland is known for the friendly people who make up our vibrant city. However, it is important that we continue to challenge prejudice where it happens and today is great opportunity to celebrate diversity.”
Annual IDAHOT Day is a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities which began in 1990, when the World Health Organisation announced that Homosexuality was no longer to be classified as mental disorder.
Kieron Brady, Chair of the City’s LGBT Equality Forum, said: “IDAHOT is now a permanent fixture in challenging the global prejudice that affects people who are LGBT.
“We hope that more people will show support for those who are victimised because of their sexuality or trans-identity.
“A number of partner organisations in the city have shown great commitment in this area – some have been recognised consistently by Stonewall.
“We will continue to work towards an equal society for the LGBT community and would call on other organisations, employers, etc. to embrace equality in a proactive and productive manner.”
The Forum is open to members of the LGBT community and those from the private, voluntary and statuary sectors who have an interest in the issues affecting the LGBT community.
John Rawling, Deputy Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development (HR and OD) and LGBT Champion at Sunderland City Council, said: “Sunderland City Council is delighted to join its partners to support IDAHOT.
“As an organisation we value diversity and equality and want to ensure that people are given equal access to the services and opportunities they need.
“Diversity brings a wide range of benefits for everyone – strengthening communities and providing Sunderland with a rich culture and identity. As an employer the council is proud to be a Diversity Stonewall Champion and key for us is the understanding that people perform better when they can be themselves at work.”
Anyone who feels they have been the victim of a hate incident, or have witnessed someone who has, can report confidentially by calling 0191 520 5550 or visit www.sunderland.gov.uk/hate-crime.