Taking ‘steps to progress’ for IDAHOTB
Today (17th May) Gloucestershire County Council is honouring International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) by painting the front steps of Shire Hall.
The steps leading up to the main entrance on Westgate Street have been painted with chalk paint in the colours of the Pride flag. The pride flag is also flying above Shire Hall today to raise awareness and commemorate an important day for the LGBT+ community.
IDAHOTB represents an annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, opinion leaders and local authorities to the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people and all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.
This year, the theme for the day is “Alliance in Solidarity”, encouraging the world to join together to make change happen. This theme encourages the LGBT+ community to become allies with other vulnerable groups, for example, migrants and people living in poverty. This is because the rights of one specific group cannot be solidly secured if the rights of other groups are left unchallenged.
Pete Bungard, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Council, said, “Focussing on the theme of solidarity gives us a valuable opportunity to reach out to our partners and our residents. As an organisation we are committed to the equality of opportunity. We are keen to understand how we can improve our policies and make progress towards an inclusive community.”
Prism is Gloucestershire County Council’s LGBT+ network and actively supports staff who identify as part of the LGBT+ community. Over 150 staff have also pledged to be Allies, who promote equal opportunity and help eliminate discrimination inside and outside of the work place.
Gareth Heward, Chair of Prism, said, “We try to support as many days in the LGBT+ calendar as possible with county council, Gloucester City Council and fire service employees. By taking our activities this year outside of our building we hope residents will enjoy seeing something a little different, and take the opportunity to find out more about the day.”
Information is available in main reception at Shire Hall for the whole day about LGBT+ issues, including how to get in touch with support networks.
IDAHOTB is being celebrated at Gloucester City Council too, with employees raising awareness of the day, and promoting inclusive communities in the city. The Pride and Transgender flags will both be flown outside Herbert Warehouse on Gloucester Docks.
Anne Brinkhoff, director at Gloucester City Council, said, “Today is a welcome reminder of how important solidarity is in our communities. The city council champions equality everyday, and we are proud to be an ally to the LGBT+ community.”
In the UK, Home Office statistics show there were 858 transgender hate crime offences recorded by the police in 2015/16, with an additional 7194 offences for hate crimes against sexual orientation.
For help, information and advice on hate crime please visit GlosHate
If you are a victim of hate crime you should report it by calling 101 or filling out this online form for Gloucestershire Constabulary.
You can find out more about IDAHOTB here. May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal.